5 Reasons Why Leather Jackets Crack (Plus Ways To Prevent)

Leather jackets will last years if well cared for. There are some things that you need to do to protect your leather from cracking or drying out.

Here Are Five Reasons Why Leather Jackets Crack:

There are fives reasons why leather jackets crack this includes leather being in contact with heat, contact with dirt, cold weather and humidity. The other main factor is not having leather conditioner applied to the jacket.

Please read the rest of the article to find out all the reasons why leather jackets crack and how to prevent this from happening to you in the future.

Reasons Why Leather Jackets Crack


Heat is not good for leather because it is quick to dry the moisture out of the material, leaving it less supple and more susceptible to damage.

The drier your leather jacket becomes, the more likely it is to start cracking. Once your jacket has started to crack, the damage will only get worse as the loose edges fray and peel, completely ruining the look of your leather jacket.

You should try to keep your jacket away from sources of heat if you can, especially when you aren’t wearing it. You’ll be able to feel the difference of leather that has started to dry out because it will feel rougher and harder than your leather jacket did when you first bought it.

Here is a good article we did on how the heat of the dryer can affect your leather jacket.

If you have accidentally left your jacket exposed to heat for a long time, you should move it somewhere cooler and start to treat the leather with an appropriate product, like a leather moisturiser, to soften the material up again before it starts to crack.


You might think that dirt is more of a nuisance to clean off as opposed to a threat to the actual material of your leather jacket, but dirt can actually lead to the fabric cracking very quickly.

As dirt accumulates on the surface of the leather, it will start to soak into the material and then become abrasive as you move around. Every movement will cause the dirt to work away at the oils in the surface layer of the leather, eventually causing the surface dye to completely break down and show visible cracks on the outside of the material.

Any dirt that you notice should be immediately cleaned off with a soft and damp (not wet) cloth to stop it from soaking into the leather. If you do suspect that some dirt has already penetrated the surface layer of the material, don’t wear the jacket because your movements will cause it to crease and turn the dirt abrasive.

You could use a deep cleaner to treat the absorbed dirt, though you shouldn’t be too rough when applying it because you don’t want to cause any extra damage to your delicate jacket.

Lack of Conditioner

Though almost everybody knows about the existence of leather conditioners, not as many people think to use them on leather jackets.

However, a gentle leather conditioner will work wonders to keep your leather soft and malleable so that any creases or bends in the material don’t cause cracks to develop. If leather does become too hard and stiff, it is surprisingly easy to crack and peel.

Leather conditioners work to fight this by soaking into the fabric and softening it from the inside out. All you need to do is massage a small amount of the product into your leather jacket and then leave it to absorb.

The lubricated fibres inside the leather won’t rub abrasively against each other, and this reduction in harmful friction will keep the material flexible enough to wear without the fear of damaging it.

If you want to be sure that the leather conditioner you are using is completely natural and non-harmful, choose one that is either beeswax-based or just beeswax itself.

If you are regularly wearing your leather jacket, you should apply some conditioner approximately every few months, though you can just apply it yearly if you don’t wear it often. You should roughly be able to tell when your jacket needs conditioning because the material will feel very stiff and dry.

Cold Weather

Leather doesn’t do well in the cold, so wearing a leather jacket outdoors in the winter can be detrimental to the material.

This is because leather functions in the cold very similarly to skin, and you’ll notice that your skin is much quicker to dry out in winter than in summer. The drier your leather jacket becomes due to the cold, the more likely it is to crack.

The process is similar to what happens when you expose leather to too much heat: both dry it out, stiffen it, and make it more vulnerable to cracking due to friction when you wear it.

There is a very small amount of moisture inside leather and cold weather can dry this out quickly, making the fibres brittle and more likely to rub against each other. Try to return your jacket to an appropriate temperature as soon as you can to relax the material after exposing it to cold weather.


With the damage that cold weather can do to leather, humidity might seem like a better alternative, but too much moisture in the air can also be a cause of cracking.

The ideal level of humidity for most leather products is 40-50% because anything more humid than that will cause moisture to quickly soak into the material. As this moisture dries, it will meld with the oils in the leather and evaporate them too with the water molecules, drawing out the leather’s natural oils that help to prevent cracking.

Too much moisture can also cause rot to form on your leather jacket, so you really do want to avoid it!

Try to keep your leather jacket as dry as possible, and shield it from excessive heat during the summer that might cause humidity. You’ll need to keep a leather conditioner close by if moisture does soak into your leather jacket because it will help to re-lubricate the fibres after the natural oils have been evaporated away.

The Best Ways to Prevent a Leather Jacket From Cracking

Hang It Up

One of the easiest ways to prevent cracking is to hang your leather jacket up on a clothes hanger in your closet.

This may seem like common sense, but lots of people fold up their jackets and store them on a shelf, causing deep creases to form. These creases, coupled with the prolonged dry air of an unopened closet, can stiffen up and then burst open into huge cracks.

If your jacket is neatly hung up on a clothes hanger, it shouldn’t crease at all, though you should avoid cramming lots of other clothes close to it because the contact may also cause creases to form.

Take your jacket out of the closet regularly too so that the material gets the chance to breathe. This simple act of care when storing your jacket can make all the difference when it comes to preventing cracking.

Provide Ventilation and Shade

Humid air is bad for leather and so is stale air, so you need to provide a well-ventilated space for your leather jacket. This will also help to prevent any musty smells or sweaty marks from appearing on the fabric too, preserving its soft, smooth condition and keeping damage that might cause cracks at bay.

Adequate shade is also perfect for a leather jacket because the heat and light from the sun will quickly work to dry out the material, just as too much heat and sunlight can irritate your skin.

Apply Leather Conditioner

A good leather conditioner is a must-have for anybody who owns a leather jacket, especially as general wear and tear is bound to happen the more that you wear it.

If you save your leather jacket for special occasions, you can probably get away with only conditioning the material once or twice a year, but the more you wear it, the more regularly it will need to be conditioned.

It’s a quick process though, so once you’ve gently massaged some product into the fabric, it will do all of the hard work itself once it has fully absorbed.

Leather conditioners aren’t very expensive and will last you a long time because you don’t need to slather a lot on at all. You’ll immediately notice the difference too because the surface of the leather will feel a lot softer and more flexible as you put the jacket on.

Stiff, brittle, dry leather is an indicator that cracks may start to form very soon, but you can reverse this damage by applying a leather conditioner as soon as possible.

Clean It Gently and Sparingly

Keeping dirt, humidity and other marks off your leather jacket will be one of your top priorities, especially since it will retain both the physical look of your jacket and the condition of the material below the surface layer.

But you shouldn’t clean your jacket unless you need to and you absolutely shouldn’t ever use any force! If you notice any visible dirt, wipe it off immediately with a damp cloth and then use another cloth to dry the liquid and stop it from soaking in.

Any deep cleaning efforts, which include conditioning the leather, should be done whenever you can see or feel that they are needed.

If your jacket needs a lot of cleaning, it might be worth taking it to a professional, otherwise you risk potentially damaging your jacket. Any excessive pressures on the leather could cause creases or dents to form, and these lead to cracks that will ruin the look of your jacket.

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