One question I have gotten many times since the start of track days is how to take care of your track gear, specifically your suit. Best answer is always follow your care label attached to the garment! This will always be the best practice in order to make sure that you do not ruin the item by using incorrect methods. Sometimes the labels are filled with a lot of symbols some of which you may not be familiar with, if you type “Care Label Symbols” into your preferred search engine’s ‘image’ page you should be able to find the correct symbol with an explanation of it’s meaning.
Aside from the care label instructions here are some general instructions to help you out;
1. Remove liner if possible- If there are no instructions for cleaning the liner itself, a good rule of thumb is to use warm water with a light/mild liquid laundry detergent. Make sure to rinse the liner as thoroughly as possible to remove any excess detergent. Any removable armor should be wiped down with a lightly damp wipe or cloth.
2. Use a leather cleaner and conditioner for the outside of the jacket/suit, avoid using the cleaner in any spots that are not made from leather.You can buy any brand of cleaner, make sure you look to see that the product is meant for leather and follow any directions provided on label. If you need to remove any debris or bugs from your garment you may use a soft bristle brush. As a reminder, a good time to think about your leather gear is winter, putting conditioner on your leather will help from it drying out and getting too stiff.
3. If your suit is already completely wet do not apply heat or fans to the leather. Best practice is to allow the leather to dry naturally on something that can help pull the water out such as a towel. Then once dry, apply a conditioner to the coat to help keep it’s original flexibility.
You can apply these tips to most leather products. Keep in mind leather, being skin, needs to cleaned and conditioned every now and again to help prolong it’s use. A good leather that is treated with care will outlast most things in your closet so making the investment and preforming the maintenance will pay off in the long run. If you have any other tricks of the trade or brands of cleaners that work well for you and want to contribute to our post comment below!