Having the right clothing while riding your motorcycle is as essential as ensuring you're wearing a decent, well fitting helmet, and your bike is in prime condition. Just as you wouldn't allow your gears to rust or your tyres to wear down, you must also ensure your clothing is well cared for. You want to look stylish, but you must also consider safety. Keeping your motorcycle clothing clean is vital, but often easier said than done.

Leather is the classic look for motorcycle clothing. Cleaning it, however, is tricky. It's important to avoid rubbing the leather with anything abrasive, including brushes and creams, as this can scuff or bruise the it, leaving lasting marks you will never get out. Instead, wipe down your leather garments regularly with a soft sponge that has been soaked in soapy water (be sure to use a neutral soap). 

Alternatively you can use a specialist motorcycle leather cleaner. This will remove any dust or gnats. If you notice any organic spots left by insects, be sure to remove them immediately, as the liquid residue left by mosquitoes and other bugs is quite harsh and will cause permanent damage if you're not careful. The last thing you want is a nasty mottled effect on your lovely leather! Try to establish a set motorcycle leathers cleaning routine to ensure these essential steps become an easily-maintained habit. 

Another important routine element of motorcycle clothing cleaning is the removal of any oil or grease. This should be washed away as swiftly as possible using a soft, damp cloth. Try to avoid rubbing at stains too hard, as this will only ingrain the stain. Instead use small, circular strokes to gently remove any residue a little at a time. After completing your cleaning, ensure you dry your clothes in a well-ventilated area, away from any sources of direct heat, such as radiators or fires. Pop each item on a suitable clothes hanger to ensure everything keeps its shape, prevent creasing (which is difficult to get out), and allow it to dry as naturally as possible. 

Provided you are careful to remove dirt and residue regularly, your motorcycle clothing cleaning regime should be fairly minimal.
Despite the need for care when cleaning, leather clothes are still a good choice, both in terms of style and safety. If, however, you want something a little different, with a slightly less arduous care routine, fabric clothing such as GORE TEX® is a great alternative to leather. A lot of fabric motorbike clothing now comes with breathable membranes and waterproofing, which makes it extremely practical. The most important aspect of keeping fabric motorcycle clothing clean is to avoid any build-up of dirt on the fabric. It may seem easier to only wash your clothes when they're very dirty, but over time even small amounts of dirt will seep into the weave of the fabric, becoming ingrained and difficult to remove. 

Fortunately, GORE TEX® clothing is extremely easy to keep clean, so regular washing is not an issue. As a result, there are many benefits to using GORE TEX® over leather - it's certainly easier to keep clean! Always check the label of your clothes and follow the specific instructions given, but generally speaking, your GORE TEX® cleaning routine should entail using lukewarm water with a neutral soap. Alternatively you can get a specialist GORE TEX® cleaner. Although it is easier to keep clean than leather in many respects, you should still be gentle with your GORE TEX®, and be sure to remove any padding, and zip and Velcro everything up prior to washing. 

As with leather clothes, be sure to keep fabric motorcycle clothing away from direct heat sources when drying after cleaning, and ensure they are hung up properly so they can dry in a natural manner - this is especially important in clothes with a mixture of materials. Although care is still needed, GORE TEX® motorcycle clothing is a great alternative to leather: it's long-lasting and easy to care for as long as long as you treat it properly. 

No matter what kind of motorcycle clothing you have, ensuring you clean each item carefully and regularly will maximise the longevity of your gear, and ensure it's always in tip top condition. Remember, cleanliness is not simply about ensuring your kit looks good, it's about ensuring the materials remain in the best condition possible. Compromising the integrity of the materials in your motorcycle gear can be costly, both in terms of the need for new, often expensive items, and safety. These clothes are made to look good but they're also there to protect you; by looking after them, you are actually looking after yourself!