How to Wash My Leather Jacket: A Comprehensive Guide

Worried about how to wash my leather jacket? You’re not alone. Many people are unsure about the correct way to maintain the integrity of their leather garments. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to help you clean your leather jacket without causing any damage.

How to Wash My Leather Jacket
From by Andrea Piacquadio

How to Wash My Leather Jacket: Materials Needed

Before you start, gather the following materials:

Preparation Steps

Before you start cleaning, here’s what you’ll need to do…

Check for Care Instructions

Look for any care tags or labels on your leather jacket that may provide specific cleaning guidelines. This information will guide you throughout the process.

Remove Loose Items and Accessories

Empty all pockets to ensure that nothing interferes with the cleaning process. If your jacket has any removable accessories like a detachable fur collar, take them off to clean separately.

Unzip All Zippers and Loosen Belts

Unzip all zippers and loosen any belts or fasteners. This will make it easier for you to clean every nook and cranny.

Spot Cleaning

Identify the Stains

Thoroughly inspect your jacket for any visible stains, spills, or discolorations. This will help you focus your spot-cleaning efforts.

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Choose the Right Cleaner

Choose a mild soap or a cleaner specifically designed for leather. Be sure to do a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t discolor or damage the leather.

Perform the Spot Cleaning

Dampen a soft cloth with water and apply a small amount of your chosen cleaner. Gently rub the stained area in a circular motion, applying minimal pressure, until the stain lifts.

Wiping Down

Prepare the Cloth and Water

First, dampen another clean, soft cloth with water—avoid saturating the cloth to prevent water damage to the leather.

Wipe the Jacket

Gently wipe down the entire surface of the jacket using broad, sweeping motions. Be careful not to wet the leather excessively as this can result in water stains.


Choose an Ideal Drying Location

First, find a well-ventilated area that’s also free from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the leather, and poor ventilation can lead to mildew.

Hang to Dry

Secondly, hang the jacket on a padded hanger to maintain its shape. Allow it to air-dry naturally. Avoid using external heat sources like hair dryers, as these can cause the leather to crack.

For more articles on how to wash, click here: How to Wash: Your Comprehensive Guide to Clothing and Fashion Care


Once the jacket is dry, apply a leather conditioner. This will keep the leather supple and extend its lifespan.

Steps for Conditioning

Step 1: Test the Conditioner: Always start by testing the conditioner on a small, hidden area of the jacket to ensure it won’t alter the color or texture.

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Step 2: Prepare the Jacket: Lay the dry, clean jacket on a flat surface or hang it up for easier access to all areas.

Step 3: Apply the Conditioner: Dab a small amount of conditioner onto your soft cloth and gently rub it into the leather in a circular motion. Less is more; you can always add more conditioner if needed.

Step 4: Pay Attention to High-Use Areas: Focus on areas that are more prone to dryness or cracking, like elbows and seams. These areas may require a bit more conditioner.

Step 5: Wipe Away Excess: After applying, use a clean side of the cloth to gently wipe away any excess conditioner. This ensures an even coat.

Step 6: Let it Absorb: Allow the conditioner to fully absorb into the leather; this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours depending on the product and the leather’s absorbency.

Step 7: Buff to Shine: Once the conditioner has fully absorbed, take another clean cloth and buff the leather to your desired level of shine.

Post-Conditioning Tips

Frequency: The need for conditioning varies depending on the climate and how often the jacket is worn. As a general guideline, conditioning every 6–12 months is a good rule of thumb.

Storage: Store your leather jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its newly conditioned look and feel.

Tips and Warnings

Always test a small, inconspicuous area before applying any cleaner or conditioner. Never immerse your leather jacket in water, as this can cause irreversible damage.