Home » How to Clean a Leather Jacket [DIY Guide]

How to Clean a Leather Jacket [DIY Guide]

How to Clean a Leather Jacket [DIY Guide]

Leather jackets have been around for a long time. They were “invented” for practical purposes at the beginning of the 20th century and refined into the army during World War II, but in the 1950s it was popularized by Hollywood stars trying to imitate the military look.

Since then, whether it is a classic bomber jacket or a modern coat, it has become a fashion staple, and leather jackets don’t seem to be going out of fashion anytime soon.

Leather jackets are highly durable. For a leather jacket to withstand this kind of durability in your own wardrobe, you need to properly clean and care for it.

In this article, you will find how to clean a leather jacket, how to take care of a leather jacket, how to store, condition, and dry a leather jacket.

Precautions Before First Use

If the jacket is still new or you haven’t worn it much, then you need to protect it before wearing it out. So, pre-care is also equally important in case of leather jackets.

Don’t rush to clean a leather jacket after it is ruined. You also need to consider cleaning and caring about a leather jacket before it is used.

Taking a little care before putting on a leather jacket for the first time will help protect it from dirt, dust and stains.

Spraying a leather protector on it beforehand will help keep the water out while also protecting it from stains. If you repeat this every year, there are miniscule chances of damaging and ruining your leather jacket from stains and water.

You can take simple precautions to protect your jacket like,

  • Avoid beer or any beverage spills
  • Don’t let it come in contact with cologne, perfumes or hair sprays and gels.
  • Don’t stick anything to it.
  • Keep the pockets clean to minimize wear and tear and leather stretching.

How to Clean a Leather Jacket [DIY Guide]

How to clean Leather Jacket

We have lined up 5 methods to clean a leather jacket worth checking out,

1. Using Mild detergent and water

You will need

  • Liquid Detergent
  • Warm water
  • Soft Sponge/ Clean Cloth


This is probably the easiest way. Pour warm water into the opened container. Add a little liquid detergent to the container and stir to dissolve. Two teaspoons of detergent are ideal for a few ounces of water. Make sure that you don’t add too much liquid detergent and the solution remains mild to avoid damaging the jacket.

Put a soft sponge or cloth in soapy water and squeeze it out to remove excess liquid. It must be damp and drenching wet. Because leather will absorb the excess liquid and get saturated.

First, gently wipe the dirtiest parts of the leather jacket with the damp cloth. Instead of scrubbing, use a gentle motion. This way, you will get rid of any water spots that your leather jacket has. Dampen the cloth a few times more and repeat the wiping a couple of times.

After that, take another clean cloth, dip it in clean water, wring it and wipe off the liquid detergent on the jacket. Then take a dry cloth and pat dry the jacket.

Note: Don’t blow-dry the jacket, put it under the sun or put it in the dryer as it can damage the leather. Hang it inside the house in a well-ventilated area and let it air dry naturally.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is really amazing. You should always keep some amount of rubbing alcohol at your home.

If you want to remove mold from your leather jacket, make a solution by mixing one part rubbing alcohol with one part water.

Wipe the affected area with a cloth dampened in the solution.

Now to dry it, use a clean cloth, dip it in clean water, wring it to remove excess water and make it damp.

Wipe the leather gently with it. This process will also remove any mildew.

Once the jacket looks clean, use a good quality leather conditioner to protect the leather and keep it from cracking and drying out.

A good leather conditioner will also help it stay away from stains in the future. Using leather conditioners enables your favourite jackets to last longer and always look as if new. 

If you don’t wanna buy a commercial leather conditioner or you don’t have it currently. Here’s how to make a DIY leather conditioner in case of emergencies.

3. leather cleaner

Another interesting investment for leather is a leather cleaner. It is specially designed to remove stains and dirt from leather. These cleaners usually contain oils to keep your leather jacket healthy, shiny, and long-lasting.

Apply a small amount of leather cleaner on a clean cloth and gently rub the affected area. Don’t hesitate to use this cleaner on the entire jacket also as it will do no harm but make it durable.

4. Nail Polish Remover 

Nail Polish Remover is a great option for removing ink stains from leather fabrics. If there are ink accidents on your leather jacket, don’t worry! 

  • Take nail polish remover. 
  • Blot the inked area with a soft sponge or cotton cloth and nail polish remover. 
  • Don’t rush and rub the solution because it can make it worse and spread the ink instead of removing it. 
  • After blotting, wipe it with a clean damp cloth
  • If the stain still persists, repeat the process again until the stain is completely gone.

5. Baking Soda

Cornstarch and baking soda both are great for removing grease or oil stains from anywhere in general. It works the same for leather as well.

If you have accidentally stained your leather jacket with grease or oil, sprinkle either of these two items on the affected area.

Rub gently on the stain so as to fix them over the stain. Let it sit there for a couple of hours or overnight.

The baking soda or starch will work their magic and absorb the oil from the leather. Take a clean damp cloth and wipe it off and the stain will be gone!

Also Read:

How to remove oil stains from clothes

How to Clean Suede Shoes: Complete Guide [2021]

How to Clean a Leather Jacket Lining

You’ll Need:

  1. Warm Water
  2. Mild Liquid Detergent/ Dish Soap
  3. Clean Microfiber Cloth


  1. Start by mixing 1 teaspoon mild liquid detergent/ dish soap with 3 cups of warm water in a container.
  2. Turn the jacket inside out, pull out the sleeves. As you need to clean the entire leather jacket lining.
  3. Take clean microfiber cloth, dip it in the liquid solution you just made. Wring to remove excess water. The idea is to have a damp cloth.
  4. Wipe the lining of the jacket with the damp cloth. Wipe every part thoroughly and gently.
  5. Repeat two cycles of dipping, dampening and wiping. 
  6. After that dip another cloth in clean warm water, wring to make it damp again and wipe down the areas again to remove the soapy solution from the lining.
  7. Keep it inside out and hang it to let the jacket air dry.

How to Condition Your Leather Jacket

Using water or any other cleaning solutions on leather jackets will remove any dirt, debris, oils and stains from it. But it will also remove leather’s natural oils which are necessary for its durability.

Hence, leather conditioning is very important to maintain and sustain your leather jacket for a long time.

Once you are done cleaning and drying the leather jacket, apply a small amount of good quality leather conditioner on the entire surface. Keep it gentle to avoid damage.

Wipe off excess leather conditioner using a clean cloth. Let it air dry overnight. Do not rush the drying process by blow-drying or keeping it directly under the sun.

Conditioning & maintaining the jacket frequently will help it remain durable. Not only conditioning makes the leather soft and shiny but it will also make it resistant to stains and dust. 

How to make Homemade DIY leather conditioner

Things You’ll Need

  • Beeswax
  • Castor Oil
  • Almond Oil


  1. Take a saucepan, add 3 teaspoons of beeswax, 6-7 teaspoons of castor oil, and 5-6 teaspoons of almond oil.
  2. Stir it rigorously on a low flame to avoid it from boiling. Keep stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Blend everything together.
  4. Pour it into a different container and let it cool down.
  5. Store in a glass container.
  6. It needs to be kept in a dry or cold place and away from sunlight.

How To Store Your Leather Jacket

If you don’t wear leather jackets frequently, it’s important to store it well to avoid damaging it. If you store it properly, the question of removing dust, dirt, stains, mold, and mildew won’t arise soon. 

To keep it safe from discoloration, keep it away from heat and direct sunlight. You need to hang the jacket on a wide hanger so that the jacket does not deform. Also, try putting it in a breathable garment bag which you might have received while purchasing. Store it away from humid spots.

Also Read:

7 Best Homemade DIY Gym Bag Deodorizers

Tips on How to Clean Manual and Electric Toothbrush


Can I machine wash my leather jacket?

Leather is a natural material and its elasticity and suppleness are due to its natural oils. Washing the leather jacket in the washing machine will wipe off its natural oils which will eventually lead to cracks in the leather.
Do not wash leather jackets in washing machines. Put it in the washing machine once, do whatever amounts of cleaning and conditioning later. It will never be the same again. 

Can I iron my leather jacket?

By doing some research on the internet, we have concluded that even ironing leather jackets with the lowest heat setting, you can still ruin it.
So, it is better to take precautions and store it properly. Clean and condition as required.

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