Nicky Hayden might wear a fancy custom made suit when he races, but he has his cleaned in exactly the same way you should do yours. Katia Polini from Alpinestars is tasked with keeping Nicky’s kit clean: “I remove the lining and wash it at a low temperature in a normal washing machine. It’s not uncommon to see his lining hanging from a washing line drying in the breeze. When it comes to the exterior, we brush off any dirt and sponge wash the suit with a mild detergent. Again we don’t force the suit dry in any way.”
If you’ve had a soaking, brush off any road dirt, rinse your kit in warm water and allow to dry at room temperature. Don’t be tempted to dry your kit quickly since this will draw all the moisture from the leather, potentially shrinking it and shortening its lifespan.
If you’re unsure of a cleaning product’s suitability, don’t use it. We don’t know of a single biker who rides wearing a kitchen worktop but we know of loads who’ve tried to clean their leathers with kitchen cleaner. Go for pH-neutral cleaning products that require you to scrub hard rather than a product that will strip the leather from the zips of your favourite one-piece suit after one application.
Invest in a quality leather food or textile spray and, once your kit is clean and dry, apply these products to restore waterproof qualities or to feed tired leather. Most high street dry cleaning companies offer a leather cleaning service.