How to Wash a Leather Jacket

Wearing a Leather Jacket can make you look cool and tough, but washing them requires a gentle touch. Whether you are wearing natural or synthetic leather, you want to be careful how you wash them.

Leather Jackets are highly delicate materials that can quickly get cracked or wrinkled. Bad laundry practices can cause some of them to shrink and lose color.

This article will show you what to avoid when washing your leather jacket and some cheap hacks you can use to maintain your jacket for many years.

Things to Avoid When Washing Your Leather Jacket

Washing Leather Jacket

Some laundry practices work well for other fabrics but would damage your leather jacket if implemented while washing leather. Here are a few of them you should avoid:

Avoid Soaking Your Leather Jacket Completely in Water

Soaking your leather jacket will wash out its natural oils and cause it to either crack, wrinkle, or shrink. This would cause irreparable damage to your jacket.

Avoid Using Ammonia or Bleach-Based Cleaners 

Bleach-based cleaners are perfect for most fabrics but awful for leather jackets. 

Using such cleaners will make your leather jacket excessively dry or even crack, which is not a good look for your jacket.

Avoid Using a Washing Machine

Using a washing machine to wash leather is strongly discouraged. Leather is a very delicate fabric that absorbs water quickly. 

Putting a leather jacket in a washing machine can lead to leather cracking, fading, and drying out.

Some leather Jackets shrink a full size because you put them in a washing machine.

Avoid Using a Dryer to Dry Leather Jacket

Leather contains natural oils that can easily dry up when put in dryers, making the leather fade or lose shape.

In addition, some cleaners used in maintaining leather can release hazardous fumes when placed in a dryer, which can be poisonous to your health. It is always best practice to air dry your leather jacket.

How to Wash Your Leather Jacket

You can wash your leather Jacket without soaking them in water or placing them in a washing machine.

All you need is a small bowl of water, a soft sponge or piece of clothing, and a mild detergent. When you have these, you can follow the steps below:

  • Add one or two teaspoons of mild detergent into the bowl of water.
  • Dip the soft sponge or fabric into the water, and squeeze out excess water until it is sufficiently damp.
  • Start wiping the fabric with your damp sponge or cloth. 

Do not scrub vigorously! Use only long gentle strokes to avoid scratching the leather.

  • Continue until you have covered every area of the jacket.
  • Next, fill another bowl of water without any detergent. Use another soft sponge or fabric. 
  • Dip the fresh sponge in the clean water. Wring out all excess water until it is damp. 
  • Stroke the jacket gently again to wipe out all the detergent from the first stroke.
  • Finally, pat the jacket with a dry towel and air dry. Be careful not to put the jacket in direct sunlight.
  • Ensure the jacket is completely dry before putting it back into your closet.

Common Household Items Used to Remove Tough Stains From Leather Jackets

Some stains on your leather jacket might cause discoloration and ruin its beauty. Some of these stains may not go out if you merely give them the soap and sponge treatment.

Leather stains are expensive to remove professionally, and some dry cleaners may charge you nearly $100 to remove any form of discoloration from your jacket.

Here are some household items you can use to remove tough stains from your leather jackets without ruining them:

Non-Gel Toothpaste

Non-Gel Colgate Toothpaste

You can use non-gel toothpaste to clean prominent stains on your jackets. The process is quite simple – squeeze a little toothpaste on the stain and rub it in a circular motion with your fingers.

Leave the paste on the stain for ten seconds, then use a soft cloth to rub the paste off the jacket gently. The stain will lift off your jacket quite easily. Be careful not to scrub aggressively so you don’t damage the jacket’s color.

Cornstarch and Baking Soda

Cornstarch and baking soda are good for removing grease stains from various fabrics. You can also use them to remove stains from leather jackets. 

Sprinkle either cornstarch or baking soda on the grease stain. Allow to sit overnight; this is ample time for the cornstarch or baking soda to absorb the oily stain.

Use a soft, damp cloth to rub them off, and do this as gently as possible. Next, use a dry towel to brush off the jacket; the stain will have disappeared by this time.

Rubbing Alcohol 

Rubbing Alcohol 

Alcohol is popular for disinfecting wounds and surfaces in the house, but you can also use it to remove mold from your leather jacket.

Do not apply pure alcohol to your jacket. Instead, mix a half-cup of alcohol with a half-cup of water and dip a soft cloth into the solution. Gently wipe the damp cloth on the affected areas of your leather jacket.

Once the jacket is clean, soak another soft cloth in water, and wring out excess water until it is damp. Use it to wipe off the alcohol from your jacket in soft, gentle motions.

Nail Polish Remover

If you have a nail polish remover around the house, you can use them to remove stubborn scuff and ink stains.

Blot a little nail polish remover on the stain; keep doing this until the stain is no longer visible. Then use a damp cloth to wipe off the nail polish remover. Finally, use a dry towel to wipe off any stray wetness.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Your Leather Jacket

Leather Jackets are expensive, so it is only natural that you want to do all you can to maintain their quality for as long as possible. 

Here are a few tips you can use to maintain the brilliant exterior of your leather jacket.

Use Leather Cleaners and Conditioners

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaners

Special leather cleaners and conditioners contain oils that keep your leather jacket looking healthy and shiny. 

They also keep your jacket flexible and soft while defending them against moisture which causes cracking of the leather.

Additionally, because they are specially designed to remove stains from leather, there is no risk of damaging your jacket when you use them.

Applying leather cleaners and conditioners only once or twice a year can keep your jacket in top condition for many years.

Read Manufacturers Label Inside the Jacket

Manufacturer labels can tell you the type of leather on your jacket, and this information will help you manage your jacket better.

Use a Garment Bag During Storage

Garment Bag

Leather Jackets do not do well when stored for an extended period in a closet. They can develop mold stains.

There are two ways to counter this effect. The first way is to bring out your jacket to air them from time to time. The second is to store them in a garment bag if you don’t use them too often.

This practice would keep your leather jacket in top condition for a very long time.


Leather Jackets are cool and expensive, but they do not have to be expensive to wash or maintain.

Using the simple techniques and the everyday household items mentioned in this article can help you maintain your leather jacket’s smooth, shiny quality for many years to come.

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