How to Take Care of Your Motorcycle Apparel?


Motorcycle clothing is not like other clothing. Hence it has different requirements for washing & caring. To keep them in top condition and to keep benefiting from it the key is proper care and cleaning from time to time. This way cleaning them is easy and makes them last longer with proper looks. Pro-tip, keep some wipes with you while riding and remove bugs and dirt as soon as you get off the bike. This will make cleaning your apparel especially leather jackets, chaps, etc. easy. Today we are going to learn taking care of jeans, leather and textile as these are types of motorcycle riding apparel. 

Denim clothing

Motorcycle textile apparel like jeans and denim vests milled with Kevlar and other fabric. They also come with armors placed strategically to protect the joints. Denim clothing does not offer much protection but still sustains some damage. 

General care instructions

Read and follow the labels for washing and drying. Read it whenever in doubt. Bleach or other chemicals containing cleaning products are prohibited. Don’t wash it often because every time some the dye gets washed out. Always wash it inside-out. 

Washing instructions

Remove any armor, empty the pockets, and turn it inside out. Use cold or lukewarm water the temperature should be between 30 to 40 Celsius. Wash on a gentle cycle with a mild soft detergent. Dip it in the water a few times to get rid of the detergent completely, if your machine does not do that. If handwashing is gentle but doesn’t rub a spot too much. Use soft nylon brush and clean up the spots with gentle strokes. Do not use harsh detergents and forget the fabric softeners.

Drying instructions

Some brands recommend hanging drying the jeans under a shade while others allow gentle tumble dry. However, I don’t recommend hang drying as it could damage the fabric fibers due to elongated hanging while they are damp. What I do is, put the apparel on a plain surface but not under direct sunlight. You can hang dry if you like.

Textile apparel

Textile is a better alternative to denim but not as good as leather when it comes to abrasion resistance and impact protection. But it offers better heat, cold, and water protection with more pockets and vents. Ballistic nylon (600–1000 Denier), Kevlar, Lycra, and Cordura, blend of two or more of these are used with liners like Gore-Tex for waterproofing. These also have CE approved armor and airbag protection system. 

General care instructions

Bleach or other chemicals containing cleaning products, washing powders, and fabric softeners are prohibited. They can damage the waterproofing and clog the breathable membranes. Waterproof or breathable membranes should not be scrubbed, exposed to heat or direct sunlight in any case. Care label is always there for consultation when in doubt, read it.

Washing instructions

If your textile apparel has suede or leather, it is not machine washable. In such a case hand wash is a doable option. Remove fasteners, armors and liners, empty the pockets thoroughly, and close the zippers before washing. Waterproof textile garments need special detergent so that it does not damage the waterproofing, breathability and ventilation. Use cold or lukewarm water and wash on a gentle cycle separately. Wash and care for liners are different than textile read the label for proper liner care. Remove the liners before washing the textile apparel. 

Machine wash

Some textile products recommend using specified special detergent. Otherwise, add soft detergent into lukewarm or cold water and run a gentle wash cycle. Once done with that run another cycle with just water to make sure complete removal of soap and detergent. 

Hand wash

Use a soft bristle nylon brush, don’t scrub, be gentle while cleaning the spots that need additional cleaning and do gentle strokes with the brush. Rubbing hard lets dirt get deep into the fabric. Water-citrus solution for removal of grease and oils, water and salt solution for bloodstains removal and other such hacks are useful instead of scrubbing like a maniac. Rinse off any left-over detergent. 

Drying instructions

Short low heat tumble dry, cool-air tumble dry, air dry, and hang drying methods are safe to use. However, for some textile garments only hang drying at room temperature is allowed. Hang dry the apparel indoors or under some shade, is safe but takes time. Read the care label and follow that. 

Leather apparel

Leather motorcycle apparel offers protection from abrasions and impacts better than any other. The leather used if for protection and not fashion purposes. Explaining its thickness, tough feel and moderately flexibility. Kangaroo-hide leather is more lightweight, flexible, and durable but is much expensive compared to cowhide. Full-grain, top grain, corrected grain, and suede leather differs on performance, abrasion resistance, and functionality.

General care instructions

Taking care of the fabric or material inside

The interior of leather apparel contains other materials like mesh etc. these have separate caring and cleaning rules. The anti-microbial liner keeps the odor low but only for some time. Turn the jacket inside out and hang dry at room temperature. You can spray it with de-salter spray, deodorant, or air fresheners afterwards if you like. Spray light gentle strokes while spraying. Let it dry completely before turning it back. 

Taking care of the leather

Leather is not easy to clean. You never wash or dry clean it. Read and follow the care label for cleaning. Bleach or other chemicals containing cleaning products are prohibited. Try the product at the collar or inside/underneath the zipper to see the leather’s reaction to it. If happy with the results then proceed cleaning the apparel. 

Care instructions

Different leather has different caring needs thus the caring label contains priority instructions. With a soft brush or microfiber cloth remove the surface dirt using gentle strokes. Now using a clean damp cloth clean the surface again without rubbing or being harsh. Let dry in a ventilated room for at least a day before using it again. Use trusted leather cleaner and conditioner. Never apply these products directly to the jacket, and drying under sunlight, moist or humid conditions. You can use this process for other leather products like motorcycle leather bags, riding chaps, vests, and boots. 

Clean your gear at least once a year, don’t clean or wash these products too often as repeated cleaning can also cause damage. Store your gear in a dry and safe place where it cannot be damaged. Replace it in case of damage so as to keep yourself safe and protected.