How to Clean a Leather Jacket

Now we all know that people choose leather apparel because it is protective and tough. Think of the stereotypical leather wearers. Cowboys, bikers, and rock stars. These are people who are going to be going through the wringer and they know it. So how can you keep your leather nice when it is going through the wringer? It is one thing to keep a couch clean, but a couch isn’t flying down the freeway at 80 mph. It is actually pretty easy. First, just to be clear, do no EVER put your leather jacket or other apparel in a washing machine and dryer. Instead, follow these simple steps.

  1. Just like with a couch, for regular maintenance, and to get the dirt off it, just wipe it down with a damp rag. That should take care of most your day to day stuff. Depending on how dirty you tend to get, I would do that on a weekly or monthly basis. You’ll have to gauge that for yourself.
  2. Toothbrush scrubbing

    Get creative to clean those corners

    If you get something ingrained really deep in there, and the rag won’t take it off, use some form of softer brush and a gentle leather soap. Make sure it is soap that is specifically designed for leather, like this. Don’t go running in there with steel wool, but use something that will put some friction on the stubborn spot. This can also be really helpful for getting tight spots that the rag won’t reach.

  3. Air dry. Remember, never put your leather in a dryer. Also, do not put it out in very bright sun, or near high heat places like a stove or fire. Excessive heat can damage wet leather.
  4. Apply a leather conditioner. Since you are going to be out in the elements, make sure you get one that is also a waterproofer, such as this one.
  5. If your leather sees a lot of sun, you can apply oil to it, which replenishes the natural oils in the leather, and prevents it form cracking or rotting.
    Cracked Leather

    This is not what we want your leather to look like.

    You can get leather oil cheap either here or here. What oil and other care products you use is a matter of personal preference, and which is “best” is highly disputed. Most people find their ideal through a process of guess and check.

  6. If your leather has lost color, you can use a polish to strengthen the leather and restore the color.

This process can be adjusted to meet your specific needs, but these steps will help your leather be shiny and clean for a lifetime!