Ways & How

How to Clean Leather Jackets

How to Clean Leather Jackets

Leather jackets are a mainstay in fashion and have kept people warm and fashionable for years. They may appear high-maintenance, but know that you can easily learn how to clean leather jackets without going to a professional to have it cleaned. Some people just toss their leather jackets in the wash and are fine with the loss of shine. However, this method can remove dye from the leather and shrink the jacket one size smaller, so it is not recommended.

  1. Clean the outside of a leather jacket

    If the leather jacket is used normally without being exposed to high levels of soil, grease, and other sources of stains, you may only need to clean it once a year. If your jacket is not suede or nubuck, you can get it wet. Fill a bucket with warm water and dilute a small amount of mild detergent or soap, and then stir thoroughly. Dip a clean sponge or soft cloth into it, and gently wipe down the surface of the jacket in one direction. Do not scrub or rub harshly. Rinse the sponge in regular water, squeeze, and wipe the coat with it to remove traces of the soap.

    Take a clean, dry cloth or sponge and wipe or pat the coat dry. Hang the coat to dry in the shade. When the coat is dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep it soft, supple, and flexible. Follow the instructions on the package. The conditioner will also add a fine protective layer on the coat. You can also spray leather protectors, which are products meant to prevent stains and water from damaging the coat.

    Nubuck and suede jackets are delicate and can stain easily. They need to be treated with leather protector before using them for the first time. For slight stains and maintenance, use a terry cloth or a suede cleaning brush to clean.

  2. Clean the inside of a leather jacket

    While the inside of a leather jacket is less susceptible to stain, it will need to be cleaned as well to remove body odor, cigarette odor, sweat, and ink stains. Empty the pockets of the jacket and lay it down on a clean surface. Vacuum the fabric lining and pockets to remove any dirt and odors. If this is enough, spray it with a freshening spray and hang to dry. If the odors are strong and there are stains, you may need to wash it gently. Fill a bucket with warm water and add laundry detergent to it. You can mix in the deodorizer of your choice: baking soda or vinegar. They will not be effective if you add both items. Moisten a sponge or cloth in the pail and wring it dry. Make sure that the sponge does not make the lining too wet that it dampens the leather on the other side. Similar to step 1, follow with a cloth or sponge dipped in plain water to rinse and blot with a dry cloth or sponge. Hang the coat to let it dry thoroughly.

Now that you have learned how to clean leather jackets, maintenance comes easy. Hang your leather jacket because folding it will cause unwanted creases to form. If the jacket has creases already, you can try to straighten it out by laying a thick piece of ink-free paper on the crease and ironing over it. Alternatively, you can hang the jacket in the bathroom during a hot shower. The steam from the shower will remove creases. Make sure that the jacket is air dried properly before storing to prevent mildew from forming.


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