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How to clean your leather jacket at home

Hey fashionistas and fashionistos! Leather jackets are iconic pieces that transcend trends. They add a touch of cool to any outfit, but like your favorite pair of boots, they need some love to maintain their timeless look. One should know how to clean leather jacket, Regular cleaning and care can keeping your leather jacket supple, preventing cracks, and ensuring it becomes a cherished companion for years to come.

So, grab your favorite leather bomber, biker jacket, or whatever style you rock, and let’s delve into the world of leather jacket cleaning!

Getting Started: Must-Haves and Prep for Leather Jacket Care

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of scrubbing, let’s gather our superhero leather jacket cleaning arsenal that you’ll need:

A person preparing to clean a leather jacket.
  • A gentle warrior: A soft, lint-free cloth is your best friend. Microfiber cloths are excellent because they trap dirt and dust effectively without scratching the leather.
  • The cleaning solution: Forget harsh chemicals! A gentle cleaning solution is key. Mix a few drops of mild dish soap (like castile soap) in warm water. Test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the jacket first, like an inside seam, to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration.
  • Leather conditioner: We’ll get to this in more detail later, but consider it a spa treatment for your jacket. Choose a leather conditioner formulated specifically for your leather type (more on that soon too!).

Now, let’s prep your jacket for cleaning. Empty all the pockets and turn it inside out. This exposes any hidden dirt or debris that might be lurking inside the lining.

Conquering Those Stains: A Leather Superhero’s Guide

Leather jackets are tough, but even superheroes face occasional battles with stains. Fear not! Here’s a breakdown of how to clean leather jacket:

A person trying to remove the stains form the leather jacket
  • Oil and Grease Stains: Oil and grease can leave unsightly marks on your leather jacket. But don’t despair! Baking soda is your secret weapon. Here’s how to use it:
    1. Apply a light dusting of baking soda directly onto the stain.
    2. Let it sit for a few hours, allowing the baking soda to absorb the oil and grease.
    3. Once the baking soda has done its magic, brush it off gently with a soft cloth.
  • Ink Stains: Act fast for ink stains! The longer they sit, the harder they are to remove. Here’s the approach:
    1. Blot the stain gently with a damp cloth. Don’t rub, as this can spread the ink further and make it worse.
    2. For fresh ink stains, rubbing alcohol might be helpful. But be very cautious! Test it on a hidden area first, and only use a small amount on the stain itself, dabbing rather than rubbing. Important note: Not all leathers react well to alcohol, so proceed with caution and if in doubt, consult a professional cleaner for ink stains.
  • Water Stains: Water stains can leave unsightly marks on your leather jacket. But don’t panic! Here’s how to clean leather jacket:
    1. The key is to let the jacket air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources like radiators or sunlight. Direct heat can cause the leather to shrink or warp.
    2. Once the jacket is completely dry, buff the affected area with a soft cloth to restore its shine.

Leather Jackets Types: Understanding Different Types to Clean Leather Jackets

Just like snowflakes (or maybe superheroes!), no two leather jackets are exactly alike. Different leather types require slightly different cleaning techniques. Here’s a quick guide to ensure you give your jacket the TLC it deserves:

Variety of leather jackets with close texture look
  • Suede: This delicate leather requires a special suede brush. Gently brush the suede in the direction of the nap (the fuzzy texture) to remove dirt and revive the nap. Avoid using water or cleaning solutions on suede, as this can damage the leather. For tougher stains, consult a professional cleaner experienced with suede.
  • Nubuck: Similar to suede, nubuck has a soft, fuzzy texture. It requires a light touch when cleaning. Use a suede eraser for light scuffs and marks. For deeper dirt, a gentle leather cleaner specifically formulated for nubuck is recommended.
  • Full-Grain Leather: This is the toughest and most durable type of leather. You can use a slightly damp cloth with your cleaning solution for a more thorough clean. However, avoid saturating the leather, as this can cause water damage.

Common Cleaning Blunders to Avoid with Your Leather Jacket

Leather jackets are tough, but they’re not invincible. Here are some cleaning mistakes to steer clear of to avoid damaging your beloved jacket:

A person carefully wiping down a black leather jacket with a damp clot
  • Harsh chemicals: These harsh chemicals can dry out the leather, causing cracks and fading. Stick to gentle cleaning solutions like the dish soap and water mix we mentioned earlier.
  • Soaking the leather: Leather is naturally water-resistant, but it’s not waterproof. Submerging your jacket in water or using excessive amounts of cleaning solution can damage the leather. Remember, a damp cloth is your friend, not a soaking wet one.
  • Skipping conditioner: Think of conditioner as a moisturizer for your leather jacket. Just like your skin needs hydration, leather does too. Conditioner keeps the leather supple and prevents cracks, which is especially important as leather ages.

Conditioning and Maintaining Your Jacket in Top Shape

Now that your jacket is clean and free of stains, let’s give it some extra love with conditioner. Conditioning nourishes the leather, keeping it soft and supple. Here’s why conditioning is important and how to do it properly:

  • Benefits of Regular Conditioning: Regular conditioning provides several benefits for your leather jacket:
    • Prevents dryness and cracking: Over time, leather can dry out and become stiff, leading to cracks. Conditioning helps prevent this by keeping the leather hydrated.
    • Maintains suppleness: Conditioned leather stays soft and pliable, making it more comfortable to wear.
    • Enhances durability: Proper leather jacket care can last longer. Conditioning helps protect the leather from wear and tear.
    • Protects against fading: Conditioning can help protect the leather from fading caused by sunlight and UV rays.
  • Products: When choosing a Leather conditioner, opt for one specifically formulated for your leather type. Here’s a quick guide:
    • Suede and nubuck: These delicate leathers require special conditioners that won’t damage the nap. Look for sprays or aerosols designed for suede and nubuck.
    • Full-grain leather: A wider variety of conditioners are available for full-grain leather. Choose a cream or lotion conditioner based on your preference.
  • Frequency: The frequency of conditioning depends on how often you wear your jacket and the climate you live in. As a general rule, condition your jacket a few times a year. If you live in a dry climate, you might need to condition it more often. Here are some signs your jacket needs conditioning:
    • The leather feels dry and stiff.
    • The leather looks dull and has lost its shine.
    • The leather appears cracked.

Here’s how to apply conditioner:

  1. Clean first: Make sure your jacket is clean and free of dirt or debris before applying conditioner.
  2. Less is more: Start with a small amount of conditioner and apply it in a thin, even coat using a clean cloth.
  3. Buff it in: Once applied, buff the conditioner gently into the leather with a soft cloth. This helps ensure the conditioner penetrates the leather.
  4. Let it dry: Allow the conditioner to dry completely before wearing your jacket. This usually takes a few hours.

Storing Your Leather Jacket: Essential Practices for Keeping It Safe

When your favorite leather jacket isn’t battling the elements or adding a touch of cool to your outfit, proper storage is key to maintaining its quality. Here are some tips for storing your leather jacket:

Brown leather jacket hangs in a wardrobe,
  • Hang it up!: Don’t fold your leather jacket! Folding can cause wrinkles and creases. Instead, use a wide hanger with rounded edges to prevent shoulder dips.
  • Location, location, location: Store your jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources like radiators or vents. Sunlight can cause fading, and heat can dry out the leather.
  • Breathable companions: Avoid storing your jacket in plastic dry cleaning bags. These can trap moisture and lead to mold growth. Opt for breathable garment bags made from cotton or muslin.

if you want to get rid of wrinkles from your leather jacket the READ ( Ultimate Guide how to get rid of Leather Jacket Wrinkles at home )

Regular Maintenance: Keeping Your Leather Looking Sharp

A little goes a long way when it comes to maintaining the look of your leather jacket. Here are some simple maintenance tips to keep your jacket looking its best between cleanings:

A brown leather jacket with visible dust particles clinging to the surface
  • Brush it regularly: Use a soft brush to remove dust and surface dirt from your jacket on a regular basis. This helps prevent dirt from building up and clogging the pores of the leather.
  • Fight mold and mildew: Leather is susceptible to mold and mildew growth, especially in damp environments. Store your jacket in a well-ventilated area and avoid storing it in damp places like basements. If you notice mold or mildew on your jacket, consult a professional cleaner for proper treatment.
  • Spot clean between washes: For small spills or stains, tackle them right away with a damp cloth and your cleaning solution. Blot the stain gently to absorb the excess liquid. Avoid scrubbing, as this can spread the stain. Once the stain is addressed, let the jacket air dry completely.

Beyond the Basics: Alternative Cleaning Options for Your Leather Jacket

There are a few other approaches to consider when caring for your leather jacket:

  • DIY cleaning solutions: If you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore natural cleaning options, there are a few DIY solutions you can try. Important note: Always test any DIY cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of your jacket first to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage. Here are a couple of options:
    • Vinegar and water solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz the cleaning solution onto a soft cloth and wipe down the jacket. This solution can be effective for mild dirt and grime.
    • Baking soda paste: For stubborn grease stains, create a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few hours. Brush off the dried paste and wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.
  • Professional cleaning: For stubborn stains, deep cleaning, or if you’re not comfortable cleaning your jacket yourself, consider a professional leather cleaning service. Look for a reputable cleaner with experience working with leather jackets.
  • Eco-friendly options: If you’re environmentally conscious, there are ways to incorporate sustainable practices into your leather jacket care routine:
    • Look for natural leather cleaners: Many natural leather cleaning products are available that are effective and gentle on your jacket.
    • Opt for sustainable practices: Air-drying your jacket whenever possible is an eco-friendly alternative to using a clothes dryer.
    • Consider the lifespan: By properly caring for your leather jacket, you can extend its lifespan and reduce waste.

If you want to get rid of bad smell from your leatheer jacket the READ ( The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Bad Smells from Your Leather Jacket )

Regular Maintenance: Tips for Keeping Your Leather Looking Sharp

By following these above tips, you can keep your leather jacket looking amazing for years to come. Remember, regular cleaning, conditioning, and proper storage are essential for maintaining the quality and beauty of your leather jacket. With a little TLC, your leather jacket can become a timeless wardrobe staple that you’ll cherish for seasons to come.


Blot up excess moisture with a clean, absorbent cloth. Don’t rub! Stuff the jacket with clean towels to absorb moisture from the inside. Let it air dry out of direct sunlight and heat. Consider conditioning the leather once it’s completely dry.

Generally, no. Ironing can damage leather. If you must remove wrinkles, turn the jacket inside out and place a damp cloth between the iron and the leather. Use a low heat setting and iron gently. A better option might be to steam the jacket carefully.

No, washing a leather jacket in the machine is a bad idea. It will likely shrink, crack, and lose its shape.

For a light cleaning, focus on the leather exterior as described above. Check the care label for the lining fabric. You might be able to spot clean it or hand-wash it separately. For a deeper clean, take it to a professional cleaner.

For a basic cleaning, you can follow the tips above. If your jacket is heavily soiled or you’re unsure about anything, it’s best to take it to a professional leather cleaner. They have the expertise and tools to clean your jacket safely and effectively.