How to waterproof a leather motorcycle jacket

I am an absolute wanderer, and motorcycles have been my obsession as I grew up. Recently, I had a road trip with my gang and co-worker, who joined us for the first time. She enjoyed riding so much that in just a few days she got included into all our trips. I am as proud of her as in a very short time she has caught hold of all the basic guidelines. However, since she was relatively new with the dos and don’ts or protection measures, she sought help from me now and then. I adore her and help her out.

Leather motorcycle jacket

During one of our conversation at our workplace, she asked me how to waterproof a leather motorcycle jacket? It came up as we were discussing about our next trip where we might encounter rain. As a motorcyclist, it is important to stay prepared for sudden rain showers or damp riding conditions. And waterproofing your leather jacket is a must. I guided her through the process and thanked me by saying she would be clueless without me. The sentence made me realise that many people are out there wishing to have a guide to the waterproofing of their jacket. I took the incident as an inspiration and decided to share the waterproofing journey of my co-worker to guide more people just like my co-worker, to find the answer to this question. 

Types of Waterproofing Methods

Before heading to the steps, I introduced my co-worker to the different waterproofing methods used on leather motorcycle jackets.

Chemical Waterproofing: 

Chemical Waterproofing on a jacket

The first one was chemical waterproofing How To Waterproof Leather Jacket? ( Just like the name, it involves using a chemically infused formula. Such products are available in the form of sprays or solutions. They are specifically formulated to provide a protective barrier on the leather surface of your jacket. I know these products usually contain water-repellent chemicals that help prevent moisture absorption.

I suggest selecting waterproofing products that are formulated keeping the requirements of leather garments in mind. 

Wax Waterproofing: 

Wax Waterproofing on a jacket

This method was introduced to me a few years back as I read an article by ‘waterproved’ How to Waterproof Leather: Step-by-Step – Waterproved. I tried it out myself, and the results are pretty impressive. In the wax waterproofing method, one applies a layer of wax to the leather surface, eventually forming a protective coating that blocks water or any moisture. 

From my experience, this method provides water resistance and can enhance the leather’s durability. But you must remember that it may sometimes change the appearance and feel of the jacket. You can expect a slightly darker or glossier finish after using this method.

Membrane Inserts:

 The next is the membrane inserts, which are nothing but thin, waterproof layers that are inserted into the leather jacket. From my experience, most of them are made of materials like Gore-Tex® or similar breathable alternatives. The best part is that they offer excellent water resistance and allow moisture to escape, keeping your body at the right temperature.

Many brands offer pre-inserted waterproof membranes nowadays. So, if your leather motorcycle jackets have a waterproof membrane inserted already, consider yourself lucky. But, if your jacket lacks membrane, you can easily approach a tailor and get them inserted. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Waterproofing a Leather Motorcycle Jacket:

Step 1: Preparing the jacket for waterproofing

Checking for any damages: The first step is to examine and ensure your jacket has no signs of damage. Your jacket might have tiny tears, loose stitches, or worn-out areas. Waterproofing a jacket under such circumstances is definitely not a good idea, as you might end up causing more damage. I suggest repairing the issues (if any) before heading into the waterproofing process. 

Preparing jacket for Waterproofing

Cleaning and drying the jacket: After examining the jacket, thoroughly clean it with a mild leather cleaner or saddle soap. Use a soft cloth or sponge to remove dirt, grime, or residues. Let the jacket naturally dry without direct contact with sunlight or other heat source. 

Step 2: Applying chemical waterproofing

Using waterproofing sprays or solutions: If you are using chemical waterproofing, you might need some assistance from an experienced person. You can also do it yourself. All you need to do is select a waterproofing spray, shake it well and read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions word by word. Remember, a little mistake can affect the integrity of your jacket. 

Chemical waterproofing tips

Applying multiple layers: The best way to ensure that the jacket is evenly covered with the solution is to hold the spray bottle from a distance of 5-6 inches. Apply it evenly across the jacket’s entire surface. I suggest applying the waterproofing spray multiple times to ensure the best outcomes.

(ii) Waxing the jacket

Waxing Jacket
  • Selecting the appropriate wax product: Selecting a high-quality wax for leather jackets plays an important role in the outcome. Don’t let cheap products lure you, and also, don’t burn your money unnecessarily on products that doesn’t ensure the desired outcome. I suggest doing some research by reading the reviews of the products before making a purchase. My co-worker used beeswax, which is specialised leather wax with good reviews.
  • Techniques for waxing the jacket effectively: Start by using a sponge or soft cloth. But, if you use a cloth, make sure it is lint-free. Proceed by applying a thin and even layer of wax to the entire leather surface of the jacket. Pay special attention to areas that are more exposed to moisture. Let the wax dry and absorb into the leather as the product instructions recommend. Once done, clean the jacket with a cloth and achieve that lovely smooth finish. My co-worker tried it and said it was therapeutic to work with wax.

Step 3: Maintenance

The process of waterproofing ends after the solution dries or the professional inserts the membranes. But the maintenance is an important step which you must pay attention to.

Maintenance tips of a leather jacket
  • Store your jacket correctly, and avoid getting them in direct contact with sunlight or other heat source.
  • Condition of your jacket and address any signs of damage to ensure its long-lasting performance.
  • Repeat waterproofing every 3 to 4 months if you frequently participate in rustic activities like hiking, running, road trips, etc. However, if you are a less frequent user, you can do the waterproofing every 6 months.

So, this was the waterproofing journey I have been taking ever since I realised the importance of it. However, this time, I was a part of my co-worker’s journey through the waterproofing process.

Waterproofing treatments can enhance the jacket’s water resistance and longevity. But it all depends on how well you do it.

With the insights I have shared above, I hope I can also be part of many other people’s journey to better and safer rides.

Also read,

How to soften new leather motorcycle jacket

Lilyana Bennett

Lilyana Bennett

Lilyana Bennett seamlessly blends her fashion industry experience with her writing passion. She is an industry expert after spending 15 years as a fashion designer. Lilyana Bennett's creativity and attention enhance her celebrity-inspired designs to detail. Her writing blends firsthand experience with straightforward storytelling. Bennett engaging writing teaches and entertains fashion beginners and experts. Her words show her commitment to helping people find their style and understand fashion trends.

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