How To Clean Your Leather Jacket? The Complete Guide

How To Clean Your Leather Jacket? The Complete Guide

Leather jackets are an abiding wardrobe staple that always stays in style. The proper care and cleaning of these items are necessary to maintain their quality and life span.

So many different methods and products are available that it can be difficult to determine the best way to clean your leather jacket. Learn how to keep your leather jacket looking new for years with these top 3 grooming methods. Whether you have spilled something on your jacket or need a general refresh, we have covered you. People and leather enthusiasts often ask how to clean a leather jacket.

Just grab your leather jacket, and let's dip into the world of leather cleaning.


Types Of Leather

Before you start cleaning, you need to know what you are cleaning. If you use the wrong cleaner, you can do more harm than to do good. Knowing about the leather you are cleaning will help you to take the best care of your leather jacket.

There are many types of leather, but we discuss only four here:


  • It is obtained from full-grain leather and is very easy to cleanse.
  • It is feted with chemical aniline.
  • It is the most common leather used in making jackets.


  • It is full-grain leather.
  • It is not treated with chemicals.
  • It is the best of all four and is exceptionally soft.


  • It is similar to suede but obtained from the top of the hide, making it hard in form.
  • Its care is similar to suede.
  • It does not stain easily.


  • It is obtained from animal hide.
  • It stained very quickly.
  • It is very tricky to care of.


Methods For Cleaning A Leather Jacket

Dirt and litter are picked up, and spills are caught in the leather jacket as time passes. It can cause stains, cracks, odors, and even mold. If you haven't washed your leather jacket in a while or there have been spills, it's a good idea to do so. Now, when grooming your leather, you may be considering aftercare. What are the benefits of cleaning your leather jacket before it gets messy?

The most effective way to prevent dirt, filth, and stains from your leather jacket is to care for it before wearing it for the first time.

By treating your leather jacket with a leather protector, you will be able to repel water and prevent stains from occurring. The first time you wear it, spray it or massage it onto the leather and repeat every year after that.

In addition to protecting your leather jacket from harm, there are also steps you can take to keep it looking good.

  1. Don't use too much water on your jacket. Avoid rubbing and soaking.
  2. Leather can be spoilt by alcohol because it dries out its natural oils. You should also avoid using perfumes and hairspray on leather jackets.
  3. Don’t put any sharp objects in the jacket's pocket.
  4. Make sure a professional attaches any emblems or needlework or correct stitching.

If your jacket has gathered a lot of dirt and stains, we recommend hiring a reputable professional cleaner.


Method 1. Using Dish Soap And Mildly Warm Water

Dish Soap And Sponge

Cleaning leather jackets with dish soap and water is a very effective method to wipe out the stains and filth from leather jackets without damaging them.

Here are the following steps involved in cleaning a leather jacket with soap and water:

  1. Before cleaning a leather jacket, it is advisable to check the label on your leather jacket to know the cleaning instructions.
  2. If there are any dirt or stains on the leather jacket, wipe them gently with a soft cloth or sponge.
  3. Add a dish soap and water solution to your jacket to remove the stains and debris with a sponge or soft fabric.
  4. Avoid rubbing and soaking the dirty area, as it can damage the jacket. Use a light circular motion to clean the stain.
  5. Once the dirt is removed, dry the jacket with a new cloth and wipe the remaining water. Please do not put your jacket in a dryer; it can crack the leather jacket.

Leather material is hydrophilic, and this should be taken into consideration. Therefore, the use of too much water may damage the jacket. Therefore, it is advisable to use water with care.


Method 2. Use A Solution Of One Part Water And Vinegar


Vinegar And Baking Soda Jars

Cleaning a leather jacket with vinegar and one part of water can effectively remove dirt and grime from the leather without damaging it. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Mix one part vinegar and one part water in a bowl or a bottle.
  2. Use a clean sponge or soft cloth to wipe down the area of the jacket where the stain is present. Before moving to the next, remove all dirt and debris.
  3. Apply the vinegar and water mixture to the sponge and gently wipe the area of the jacket where the stain is present. Use circular motion rather than rubbing and soaking.
  4. Allow the jacket to dry completely in the air. Do not put the jacket in an artificial dryer. Avoid direct contact with sunlight on the jacket.
  5. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to get the best result.

It is important to note that the solution should be tested on a small, obscure jacket area first to ensure it does not cause damage or discoloration. Vinegar can be acidic, so you should always test it on a small area first. If you are doubtful whether this procedure suits your leather jacket, it's always best to consult a professional cleaner.


Method 3. Using A Leather Cleaner

Leather Cleaning Equipment

Leather jackets can be tricky to wash because you want to protect them. The following is a step-by-step guide for washing a leather jacket with a leather cleaner:

  1. Purchase a reputable leather cleaner containing ingredients that remove dirt and stains. You can find these cleaners in almost every superstore and other shops where leather-related material is sold. These products are not costly and available at low prices.
  2. Now apply a small amount of leather jacket cleaner on the dirty area of the jacket. There are different types of leather jacket cleaners, some are gel based, and some are sprays or bars. Applying a small amount of cleaner and using more if required is advisable.
  3. Use a soft sponge or cloth to apply leather jacket cleaner to the stained area of the jacket. Use slow circular actions in a circle outwards and inwards until the stain is wiped out. The leather will be damaged if it is rubbed or washed harshly.
  4. Take a dry cloth and wipe out the remaining leather jacket cleaner. After applying the leather cleaner, you don't need to rinse it off since it's devised to soak into dry, chapped leather.
  5. Cleaning leather jackets with leather cleaners is painless, but if the jacket is messy, you may have to use the cleaner several times.

Note that first read the instructions that are written on the label of the jacket. The manufacturer may have provided the instruction correlated to grain and type of leather. In some cases, the manufacturer will propose the best cleaning method. It would be best if you stuck to that proposed method to avoid damage to the jacket.


Method 4. Taking Care Of Your Jacket

A leather jacket will always be in fashion, no matter what trends this season. The moisture level of leather is naturally affected by humidity, warmth, and moisture in everyday life. Now that you've learned how to wash leather jackets, let's talk about how to take care of your jacket.

Here are some tips for caring for your leather jacket:

  1. Read the label inside the jacket. The manufacturer will have provided specifications according to the type and grain of the leather and any important warnings. In most cases, the manufacturer provided the necessary cleaning method instructions.
  2. There are many waterproofing sprays and agents available in markets at low cost. It is necessary to use these waterproofing agents periodically on your leather jacket to keep it healthy. These agents should apply to the outer jacket, not the inner lining.
  3. Use specialist sprays or waxes to buff the leather, but read the appropriate guidelines to avoid damaging it. If in doubt, ask a professional.
  4. Apply leather conditioner to your jacket periodically as it protects the jacket from moisture, prevents cracking, and makes it soft and shiny. Alternatively, you can use saddle soap to clean it gently. It may be too harsh for soft or thin leather, but it will work wonders on sturdy, rugged garments.
  5. Ensure jackets made of lamb or suede leather aren't cleaned at home to avoid damaging them. For this, hire a professional and reputable cleaner. Even stubborn stains can be removed by a leather expert with the proper knowledge and equipment.


How to Clean the Lining Of Leather Jacket

Cleaning the lining of a leather jacket is a completely different thing. Because of different materials, you have to choose an entirely different method for its cleaning. But it can be very easy and inexpensive. You can do it by yourself. It will take up a little of your time.

Following our step-by-step guide, you can keep your jacket lining as clean as the day you bought it.

  1. Make a mixture of warm water with a small amount of dish detergent, Do not use strong detergents as they can damage the jacket.
  2. Ensure that the cloth is soft.
  3. Make sure the cloth is slightly damp after being dipped in the detergent water.
  4. Swab the jacket with the cloth, focusing on areas where dirt will likely gather.
  5. After cleaning the jacket, soak the cloth in water and wring it out well.
  6. Wipe the jacket with a damp cloth to remove the dirt.
  7. Hang the jacket in a dry place to dry it.
  8. After drying, wear the jacket as usual.


How To Clean It From Inside

You may not be able to see the inside of your leather jacket, but it can smell offensive. When sweat gets in the armpits and other sites, scents can build up, and if you are not careful, you can develop nose blindness.

When you become used to a smell, you no longer recognize it. Aside from offensive odors, sweat inside your jacket can break down the lining and the leather.

Cleaning the jacket from the inside is as easy as cleaning it from the outside. Follow these steps for the best results.

  1. Firstly, remove the dust and debris with a dry cloth or a soft sponge.
  2. Use the soapy water and soft sponge which you would use for the outside, and clean the inside of the jacket.
  3. The cuffs and underarms should be more focused.
  4. Let the jacket air dry in a cool, dry place.
  5. Use some leather conditioner to make it shiny and soft from the inside.

Like cleaning a jacket from the outside, cleaning it from the inside would take a few minutes, and this method can be easily done at home.


How To Remove Mold and Mildew From A Leather Jacket

Mold and mildew can become a problem if you last wore your leather jacket long ago and stored it in moist, dark areas such as the basement or closet. These conditions can cause mold, which can ruin expensive leather. Sometimes they can also appear when you wear your jacket regularly. Cleaning your jacket will keep them away regularly, but what do you do if molds and mildew appear?

You can take some steps to keep molds and mildew away from your jacket.

  1. Firstly hang your jacket outside.
  2. Mold and mildew spores should not be allowed inside your home. Ensure the jacket is cleaned outside so that spores are not released into your home.
  3. Mix rubbing alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio. The affected area should be wiped with a damp cloth dipped in an alcohol solution. A damp cloth should be used to clean the surface.
  4. Now clean the area with a soft dry cloth or sponge.

To remove any remaining stains, use soapy water and a clean sponge, then let the jacket fully dry.


Don't When It Comes To How To Clean a Leather Jacket

When cleaning your leather jacket, you shall not use a washing machine. The motive is that you will shatter the leather jacket, and it will never look the same again.

Leather is a natural organic material. It contains natural oils within it. The leather’s suppleness comes from the natural oils that are still inside the leather even after the tanning process. Therefore, If you determine to wash a leather jacket in a washing machine, it will remove these natural oils, and when the leather dries out, it will not have the same flexibility and smoothness. The leather might crack and deteriorate after a round in the washing machine.


Products That Replenish The Natural oils Of Leather

Some products in the market say they will replenish the natural oil lost during the washing process of leather jackets, but there is high uncertainty in this case, and if you are willing to take a risk, you can go with these products.

There are many methods other than washing to clean your leather jacket. It would be best never to wash your leather jacket in the washing machine. That process will completely ruin your jacket. Secondly, if you have already washed your leather jacket, make sure to put the jacket in the dryer. This process will shrink your jacket and dry the remaining oils after ashing in the washing machine.


How To Store A Leather Jacket

How To Store A Leather Jacket


If you do not wear your jacket for some time, we recommend storing it in a garment bag so it does not get damaged. A breathable bag will protect the jacket and limit the appearance of scents. Precisely storing the jacket keeps it out of direct heat, prevents it from attaining dirt, and stops mold and mildew from arising.

The jacket should be hung on a broad hanger so that the jacket does not become misshapen. It would be best to store it in a cool, dry place so mold and mildew do not have a chance to grow. Keeping the jacket out of direct sunlight will save the leather from bruising.

Always ensure your jacket is thoroughly dry before storing it, and your jacket will live a long and healthy life.


Dry Cleaning Leather Jacket

Dry Cleaning


When dry cleaning a leather jacket, you should take extra precautions to avoid damaging the material. According to our cleaning advice, limiting moisture on your jacket can be beneficial, so it makes sense that dry cleaning would benefit your leather jacket. Well, in all of our examples, water is always used. With dry cleaning, you are cleaning without water. It can be detrimental to the condition of your leather. Here are some tips you should keep in mind:

  1. Firstly read the tag on your jacket to see if it can be dry-cleaned as some leather jackets require special care, so it is a right idea to check before proceeding.
  2. Look for a reputable dry cleaner with vast experience, having the proper equipment and expertise to clean your jacket.
  3. Before taking it to the dry cleaner, It is advisable to test a small area for color fastness. Soak a soft cloth with water and rub it gently on a small area of the jacket. If the color transfers to the cloth, the dye is not colorfast, and you should not proceed with dry cleaning.
  4. Also, clean those spots with a wet cloth if your jacket has any stains.
  5. Once your jacket is cleaned, store it in a cool and dry place away from direct contact with sunlight.

Leather requires hydration during cleaning, or the leather can dry out and lose its suppleness, and crack over time. Dry cleaners also often use certain chemicals in the dry-cleaning process, which can damage leather. If you need professional help, we suggest you avoid dry cleaners completely and look for someone who specializes in cleaning leather.


Related Insights

Can you put a leather jacket in the washing machine?

We do not recommend putting your leather jacket into a washing machine as it can remove the natural oils which make it soft, and it will also lead to the cracking of leather.

Can a leather jacket be dry-cleaned?

A leather jacket should not be dry cleaned through standard methods but by specialized leather treatment.

Can you use vinegar to clean a leather jacket naturally?

Yes, you can use a mixture of water and vinegar, as it can remove stubborn stains from leather.

What cleaners can be used on leather?

You can use soap and a warm water solution. You can also use dishwasher soap and leather cleaning agents.

Is it OK to soak leather?

Leather should not be soaked in water. Soaking ruins leather when nothing is done about it.

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