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How can I make my new leather jacket stop making a squeaking sound?
October 8, 2007 5:20 PM   Subscribe

How can I make my new leather jacket stop making a squeaking sound?

Last year for christmas, I received a nice leather jacket. I didn't really wear it very much, and subsequently forgot about it in my closet. I recently rediscovered it, and want to start wearing it more often. The problem is that it makes this weird squeaking sound whenever I move in it. I realize that this is probably a sign that the leather needs to be broken in, but I don't know how to do this.

Is there an easy way to break the leather in so that it stops making this sound? Or is this noise a normal part of owning/wearing a leather jacket?

Thanks!
posted by stilly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Breaking in leather is as easy as wearing it.
posted by parmanparman at 5:24 PM on October 8, 2007


If your dryer has a non-heated tumble function, you can toss it in with a few tennis balls for awhile. The non-heat is important here, as a friend of mine learned the hard way.

If you have no dryer, but do have a car, you can tie some rope to the jacket and just drag it along on a few trips around the block. Of course, this is only if you're going for the "beaten to hell" look.

Otherwise, wear your jacket in by wearing it a lot. Around the house, outside the house, while doing jumping jacks, etc.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:37 PM on October 8, 2007


Saddle soap followed by neats foot oil followed by bending and rubbing the leather, repeat several times. Depending on the thickness of the leather, this can be a very, very long process. Wearing it is good, too.
posted by anaelith at 5:51 PM on October 8, 2007


The sound's the result of friction. When leather is processed, it undergoes a series of steps which stiffen the material; afterward, it's chemically softened. When it's ready to be sewn, it's no different than upholstery - a layered, polished segment of embalmed skin.

When it comes in contact with itself or similar material, or merely folds in on itself with pressure, voilĂ ! You get a sound reminiscent of squeaking or an air bladder.

Mink oil, leather balm, talcum, and even hand lotion may soften the leather up a bit, but routine wear's your best bet. If you break it in while it's actually on your body, it'll conform to you with the comfort of an old shirt. Artificially breaking it adds a nice look, but could throw off the creasing of the fabric.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:05 PM on October 8, 2007


my friend took a hammer to her leather jacket, but i think the dryer suggestion above might work better. assuming you want it to weather a little. if you want to keep it shiny and just soften it. go for the balm.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:51 PM on October 8, 2007


Be careful with saddle soap and oiling/conditioning the leather, especially using substances not intended for leather like hand lotion - they may darken or otherwise discolor the leather if you're not careful. Mink oil and neatsfoot oil are especially prone to darkening light-colored leather. If it's black, you probably don't need to worry, but if it's caramel-colored or mahogany/red/dyed, always test first and wait 24 hours, like the labels on cleaners always say. It can take a while for the true effect to show.

That said: you probably don't need to bother with treatments. The sound comes from the friction of leather on leather, and treatments used on the outer surfaces won't get to those spots where the squeaks are coming from. Talcum powder, liberally dusted into the seams, is probably your best bet. This is a tried and true method used by horsemen for new squeaky saddles.

My suggestion would be to
a.) dust talcum powder into the seams. Liberally!
b.) try the non-heated dryer with tennis balls. This will have the added benefit of removing the excess talcum powder from the outside of the garment.
c.) if that doesn't work, buy a bar of glycerine soap, non-scented, non-adulterated, and use a soft cloth or sponge with minimal water and soap to apply in small circular motions. Again, test inside first if this is a light-colored leather. If it doesn't discolor (or if it does and you like the results), apply to the entire garment.
d.) If you still want more, select a leather conditioner (Skidmore's Leather Cream is my favorite non-darkening sort) and use a cloth or fingertips to apply a -light- layer evenly over the jacket.

I think A and B should do you just fine, though. Good luck!
posted by po at 8:07 PM on October 8, 2007


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