How to Wash Leather Pants

Leather pants exude class and are enjoyable to wear. Still, you cannot wear them indefinitely without cleaning them. Somewhere along the line, you would have to wash your leather pants to remove stains and odors. But how do you do that without ruining the material? 

The best way to restore your leather pants is by taking them to the dry cleaner. However, it’s not every time you want to do that. The good news is that you can wash your leather pants safely at home as long as you follow all the instructions in this post. Keep reading to find out. 

How To Wash Leather Pants Without Ruining Them

The trick is that you need to clean both interior and exterior parts of the leather pants to bring them back to pristine condition. To eliminate body oils from the inner of the pants, wash leather pants on a mild cycle in the washing machine (more on that soon).

For exterior stains, however, hand cleaning and spot treatments are the most successful. Also, look for directions on how to wash specific types of leather on the pant’s care tag. 

If you believe that getting the leather wet is going to destroy them, you may only be partially right, because you can wash many leather types. Don’t have to be afraid of getting your leather wet because – as it turns out – washing your leather pants is good practice for helping them retain their shape after multiple wears and even improves their overall gloss. 

With that said, we present to you 3 methods to clean your leather pants without ruining them:

Method 1 – Machine Wash Leather Pants

Not many people know that they can safely wash their leather pants in the washing machine and get away with it. By just following a few simple rules, you can also start washing your leather pants without qualms. Here you go: 

  • First things first, turn the leather pant inside out before loading them into the washing for washing.  
  • Next, add a tiny amount of color-safe detergent to the load, then set the machine to a delicate cycle. If you can, set the washing to the slowest speed possible.

Note: Make sure not to add any other laundry liquids asides from detergent. 

  • Place your pants in a garment bag and throw them in the washing machine for added protection. The bag will help to reduce the friction on your garment caused by the turbulence of the washing machine.
  • After washing, take out the leather pant and air dry them.

Warning: DO NOT place your leather pant in the dryer on high or medium, because the heat could damage the material permanently. 

Method 2 – Wipe Down Using A Damp Microfiber Towel

If you have reservations about using a washing machine for washing your leather pants, that’s fine – there’s another way. You can clean your leather pants by wiping them down using a damp cloth. Wipe the surface of your leather pants gently with a damp microfiber cloth towel. It’s ideal if you use warm water instead of hot. Keep your movements gentle and resist the impulse to scrub.

You can also employ this method to clean your leather jackets.

Note: In both cases (methods 1 & 2), always perform a spot test on the leather material before you expose the entire garment to water. To do this, dampen a small, inconspicuous part of the leather pant, then wait to see how it reacts to moisture. The outcome will tell you whether to proceed to wash your leather pant with water or not. 

Method 3 – Steam Clean Leather Pants

Another handy alternative to cleaning leather pants with a washing machine is by using a steam cleaner. Handheld steam cleaners like Conair CompleteSteam handheld fabric cleaner claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria. If you need to get your leather pants looking new and smelling fresh without dunking them in water, then you need to use a good steam cleaner; they work well and are gentle on the leather material.

To use a steamer, do the following: 

  • Fill the steam cleaner with water, turn it on, and wait for it to heat up.
  • Clean, rust-resistant hangers should be used to hang clothes. Clothespins should be used to hang the leather pants by their cuffs.
  • Hold the steamer head and press the power button, then wait until a steady stream of steam emerges.
  • Allow the steamer head to touch the leather pant lightly as you apply steam in upright, vertical motions until wrinkles are gone. This should also kill odor-causing bacteria on your leather pants, leaving them smelling fresh.
  • Allow clothing that has been steam washed to air dry.

How To Removing Spills And Stains From Leather Pants

Spills may occur, but you don’t necessarily have to wash your leather pants – take care of the stain with a quick spot treatment and you should be fine. Below, we have outlined three methods for doing just that. Here they are: 

1. Use A Microfiber Cloth To Clean Spills

When a spill occurs, use a microfiber cloth to absorb the spill. Place a clean microfiber cloth right on the surface of the liquid to absorb it. Apply pressure (gently) until most of the liquid is absorbed. Try not to rub or wipe the discolored area. If you don’t have a cloth handy, you can use a damp washcloth or a paper towel.

2. Use Cornstarch On Oily Stains

Cornstarch has excellent oil-absorbing properties, so in case of oily spills, you need to have some cornstarch ready. 

Place your leather pants on a towel. Next, take a spoonful of cornstarch then lightly sprinkle it over the stain. Make sure the entire stained surface is covered. Allow the cornstarch to sit on the spill for about a minute. Then, using a moist towel, carefully wipe the starch away. Make a second pass with a moist, clean cloth. To decrease the impact of an oily stain, repeat as needed.

You might also like to find out how to dry clean at home.

How Do You Care For Leather Pants? 

Leather garments are an entirely different class of wearables – they demand special care and attention. Luckily, caring for your leather pants is not rocket science. Here’s how you can take care of your leather pants: 

  1. Always follow the instructions on the pant’s care tag. If your leather pants are designed ‘not washable’, then absolutely do not want to wash them. Rather take it to a dry cleaner.
  2. If you’re attempting to wash leather pants for the first time, do a spot test by wetting a small hidden area. If there are no discolorations, then you can wash them. 
  3. Waterproofing your leather pants – using a leather protectant – right after you purchase it is a good idea. Doing this will make it easier to clean the leather in case of spills.
  4. Try not to fold your leather garments for storage. Instead, let them hang using a cloth hanger in a dry and cool environment. 
  5. Apply a leather conditioner every month to prevent the leather pants from drying out and cracking. 
  6. Never clean spills on your leather pants with a colored cloth. Some of the dye in the cloth might transfer to the leather material.
  7. Do not put your leather pant in the dryer after washing. The dryer heat might right havoc on the leather material.
  8.  Lastly, do not try to repair rips in your leather pant by yourself; always seek professional help in such a scenario. 

Can Leather Pants Go in The Dryer?

Whether leather pants can go in the dryer is debatable. For one, it can be useful for drying slightly wet leather pants. But it can also permanently warp the leather material if the conditions are right – heavily wet leather pants in the high heat of a dryer, for example. To be safe, we advise that you DO NOT put your leather pants in the dryer. 

If you must, only put slightly wet leather pants in the dryer. Actually, this is the only instance where putting your leather pants in the dryer is beneficial. It will help to reduce wrinkles in the leather and make it regain shape a little. But make sure not to leave your leather pants in the dryer for more than 30 minutes.

Do not use medium or high heat to dry your leather pants. Use low heat instead, although they may not dry out completely, the likelihood of them being damaged is lessened. Your leather pants may still shrink and stiffen a bit even on low heat. Nothing that a few wearings won’t fix though.

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