How to Clean a Leather Jacket Easily

Cleaning your leather jacket doesn’t have to break the bank with expensive dry cleaning services. Follow these simple DIY steps to refresh your stylish accessory without the hefty price tag.

Leather jackets add a touch of cool to your wardrobe, but cleaning them can be tricky and pricey. Unlike your jeans, you can’t toss them in the washing machine. Fortunately, you can keep your jacket looking sharp without shelling out for dry cleaning. Here’s a straightforward guide on how to clean your leather jacket.

Avoid using cleaners with ammonia or bleach on leather, as they can harm the finish and make the leather excessively dry or prone to cracking. Also, be cautious with water; using too much can cause stains on the leather.

If spills happen, tackle them immediately with a soft cloth. Leather is porous and can absorb liquids, resulting in unsightly stains. Additionally, leather is prone to scratches, so keep sharp objects away from it to maintain its pristine appearance.

Can I Wash My Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine?

We strongly advise against it. Immersing your leather jacket in water, especially in a washing machine, can strip away its natural oils and damage the fabric. The spinning and tumbling action of the machine can also harm the jacket’s structure. If the inside lining needs cleaning, it’s best to seek professional assistance to ensure the leather’s quality and health are not compromised.

Instead, you can refresh your jacket at home to eliminate surface dirt and discoloration, particularly noticeable on light-colored leathers. Follow these leather cleaning tips, but proceed with caution and check the care label for any specific recommendations.

Always test any at-home cleaning method on a hidden spot, like inside a pocket or cuff, to ensure it won’t harm the leather. Some leather is prone to color loss, especially when wet. If you notice bleeding or fading, stop immediately and consult a professional.

How to Hand Clean the Outside of a Leather Jacket

Leather can easily dry out and develop irreparable cracks if fully submerged in water, so avoid doing so. Instead, use these simple steps for surface and spot cleaning at home:

  1. Apply leather cleaner to a sponge or cloth, creating a foam. (Consider using a Leather Care Kit like the one from Furniture Clinic, including a protection cream to prevent future stains.) If unavailable, mix a drop or two of mild dish liquid into warm water in a small bowl.
  2. Gently rub the foamy sponge or soapy cloth in a circular motion on the leather to lift surface dirt.
  3. Wipe away excess cleaner with a damp, well-wrung cloth, repeating as needed. Be careful not to rub too vigorously. Rinse the sponge or cloth to prevent re-depositing soil onto the leather.
  4. Blot the leather dry using a small clean towel, then let it air dry completely. Hang the jacket on a padded or wooden hanger to avoid shoulder dimples, keeping it away from sunlight and heat that can cause drying and cracking.
  5. Once dry, you ca then apply a leather conditioner in order to restore moisture and softness.

Removing Stains from a Leather Jacket

Here’s how to tackle stains on your leather jacket using common household items:

  • Toothpaste: Apply non-gel toothpaste to the stain using your finger. Gently rub it with a soft cloth until the stain lifts without scrubbing to avoid scratching or discoloring the leather. Wipe off the toothpaste with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Nail Polish Remover: For ink stains or scuffs, blot the area with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover. Avoid rubbing to prevent spreading the ink. Blot gently until the stain disappears. Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth and dry it with a towel.
  • Baking Soda or Cornstarch: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on oil or grease stains. Gently rub with a damp cloth and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. These powders will absorb the oil. Wipe off the powder with a soft cloth and dry with a towel.
  • Rubbing Alcohol: Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water to clean mold off leather. Dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe the affected area. Use another damp cloth to wipe it clean. This also works for mildew.

Conditioning a Leather Jacket

Once your jacket is clean, apply a leather conditioner to prevent it from drying out, cracking, and becoming susceptible to future stains.

You can purchase a commercial leather conditioner or create your own by mixing one part vinegar with two parts linseed oil. Apply it to the leather, let it sit for around 15 minutes, and then buff with a soft cloth until the leather shines. Knowing these leather cleaning techniques will help your jacket look fantastic and last longer.

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