How To Clean A Leather Jacket Without Damaging It: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Clean A Leather Jacket Without Damaging It: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fabricare Center Blog

How To Clean A Leather Jacket Without Damaging It: A Step-by-Step Guide

Caring for and knowing how to clean a leather jacket can be tricky, especially when you’re afraid of causing damage. Leather is a durable material, but it requires the right touch to keep it looking its best.

Our step-by-step guide will show you how to clean your cherished leather jacket safely and effectively. Ready? Let’s make that jacket shine!

Key Takeaways

  • Dust your leather jacket with a soft cloth before applying any liquid cleaners to avoid scratching the material.
  • Use a mild soap solution and a damp sponge for gentle cleaning, working in smooth circular motions and avoiding soaking the leather.
  • Condition your jacket after it’s clean and dry to keep the leather supple and prevent cracks. Apply conditioner evenly using circular motions on all surfaces.
  • Remove tough stains with specific leather cleaners, always testing first on an inconspicuous area to ensure no discoloration occurs.
  • Store your leather jacket properly on a padded hanger in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its shape and quality.

The Basics of Cleaning a Leather Jacket

Embark on your leather jacket’s preservation journey with some fundamental cleaning techniques that keep it looking sharp without inflicting any harm. Delicate care tailored to the material is key, ensuring its longevity and pristine appearance for years to come.

The Basics of Cleaning a Leather Jacket

Dusting the Jacket

Before tackling stains or deeper cleaning, dust your leather jacket to remove surface dirt. This simple step is crucial to prevent scratching or embedding particles into the leather during the cleaning process.

  • Lay your leather jacket on a flat, clean surface.
  • Take a soft microfiber cloth to gently brush off any loose dirt and dust from the surface.
  • Start from the top of the jacket and work your way down, ensuring you cover all areas, including creases and seams.
  • Pay special attention to the collar and cuffs where dust and dirt often accumulate.
  • If you encounter stubborn particles, lightly dampen part of your cloth with water and carefully wipe them away.
  • Avoid using colored cloths that might bleed dye onto your leather jacket; always opt for a white or light-colored cloth.
  • After dusting, examine your jacket for any remaining spots that may need targeted cleaning.

Preparing a Mild Soap Solution

After removing the surface dust, it’s time to mix a gentle soap solution for a deeper clean. This is crucial to avoid damaging your leather jacket during the washing process.

  • Select a mild, moisturizing soap like baby shampoo or a detergent specially designed for leather. Harsh soaps can strip oils from the leather, leading to dryness and cracks.
  • Fill a basin with lukewarm water, which should be enough to cover the area you intend to clean without soaking the entire jacket.
  • Add just a few drops of your chosen soap into the water. A little goes a long way and helps ensure that you’re not over-saturating your jacket with cleansers.
  • Stir the mixture gently with your hands until you see bubbles forming. Creating too many suds can make it hard to remove the soap later on.
  • Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water. Squeeze out most of the moisture until it’s damp, not wet, to prevent water damage to your jacket.

Gently Cleaning With a Soft Sponge

Having prepared your mild soap solution, you’re now ready to move on to the next crucial step: gently cleaning your leather jacket with a soft sponge. This process will help lift dirt and grime without harming the leather’s surface.

  • Begin by dampening the sponge in the soap solution so it’s moist, not soaking wet.
  • Test a small, inconspicuous area of the jacket first to ensure the solution doesn’t cause any discoloration.
  • Wipe the leather in smooth, circular motions focusing on one section at a time for an even clean.
  • Apply light pressure while cleaning to avoid saturating or overworking the leather which can cause damage.
  • Regularly rinse out the sponge to keep it clean and free from accumulating dirt that could scratch the jacket.
  • Pay special attention to any crevices or folds where dirt tends to accumulate more heavily.
  • Proceed with caution around zippers, buttons, and other hardware; these areas are prone to scratches.
  • Continue this method across all leather surfaces of your jacket until you’ve fully covered it.

Wiping Down the Jacket

After gently cleaning the leather jacket with a soft sponge, it’s time to focus on wiping it down. This step removes any remaining soap and dirt from the surface. Here’s how you can do this effectively:

  • Begin by thoroughly rinsing out the soft sponge or finding a fresh, clean cloth.
  • Dampen the sponge or cloth with clean water, ensuring it’s not soaking wet to avoid water spots.
  • Carefully wipe over the entire leather surface, re – rinsing your cloth as needed to keep it clean.
  • Go over the jacket in smooth, even strokes to prevent concentrating moisture in one area.
  • Pay special attention to seams and crevices where soap can collect.
  • For areas with hardware like buckles or zippers, use a dry cloth to prevent rusting.
  • Immediately after wiping, use another dry towel to gently blot excess moisture off the leather.

Cleaning the Inside

Cleaning the inside of your leather jacket is just as important as the exterior. Sweat, oils, and dirt can accumulate over time and cause unpleasant odors.

  • Start by turning your jacket inside out to expose the lining.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to gently remove dust and loose particles from inside.
  • Mix a solution of warm water and mild soap recommended for leather care.
  • Dip a soft cloth into the soapy water, wring it out well, so it’s damp but not wet.
  • Carefully wipe down the lining of the jacket, avoiding any direct contact with the leather part.
  • For tougher stains on the lining, use a specialized leather jacket cleaner according to its instructions.
  • Rinse the cloth free of soap and go over the lining once more to remove any soap residue.
  • Pat down the lining with a dry towel to absorb excess moisture quickly.
  • Hang your jacket in a well – ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources to air dry naturally.
  • Consider using a fabric freshener designed for use with leather items if there are still lingering odors after cleaning.

Using a Leather Cleaner for Tough Stains

Using a Leather Cleaner for Tough Stains

When your leather jacket encounters a stubborn stain, it’s time to enlist the help of a quality leather cleaner. Gently work the solution into the fabric’s grain with care to dissolve the grime without compromising your jacket’s integrity.

Applying the Cleaner

Applying a leather cleaner is essential for tackling tough stains on your leather jacket. Make sure to choose a cleaner specifically designed for leather to prevent damage.

  • Start by testing the leather cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the jacket to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the material.
  • If the test spot shows no adverse reaction, dab a small amount of cleaner onto a clean, soft cloth. It’s best to use microfiber or another non-abrasive fabric that won’t scratch the leather.
  • Gently rub the cloth with cleaner onto the stained area in a circular motion. This technique helps to lift the stain without rubbing it deeper into the leather.
  • Avoid applying too much pressure as you clean; doing so could potentially harm the jacket’s surface.
  • Allow the cleaner to penetrate the stain for a few minutes; giving it time to break down the dirt makes removal easier.
  • Carefully wipe away any excess cleaner from the leather using another dry section of your soft cloth.
  • Repeat this process if necessary, but always avoid oversaturating your jacket with product – too much moisture can be detrimental to leather.
  • Once you’ve removed the stain, give your jacket time to air dry fully before wearing it again. Never use heat or direct sunlight for this, as they can cause fading and weakening of the material.

Massaging it Into the Leather

Leather jackets require special care, and properly massaging in a cleaner is crucial for removing tough stains. This process ensures the leather stays supple and stain-free without damage.

  • Choose a high – quality leather cleaner that is appropriate for your jacket’s type of leather. Check the label to ensure it’s safe to use.
  • Pour a small amount of leather cleaner onto a clean, soft cloth. You don’t need much; start with less than you think.
  • Gently rub the cleaner into the leather in circular motions. This helps work the product into the fibers without overstressing the material.
  • Focus on one section at a time instead of attempting to cover large areas all at once, which allows for more thorough cleaning.
  • Apply even pressure while massaging; too much force can cause unnecessary wear on your jacket.
  • Keep adding more small amounts of cleaner as needed until you’ve covered the entire stain or area in question.
  • Allow the cleaner to penetrate the leather by letting it sit for a few minutes, depending on manufacturer recommendations.
  • After sufficient time has passed, use another clean cloth to gently buff any remaining product off the surface.
  • If stains persist after one application, repeat these steps instead of using extra force or excess product.

Wiping Away Excess Cleaner

After massaging the leather cleaner into your jacket, it’s time to ensure no residue is left behind. Proper removal of excess cleaner prevents buildup and maintains the jacket’s condition.

  • Begin by taking a clean, dry cloth. It should be soft and lint – free to avoid scratching the surface of your leather jacket.
  • Gently wipe over the areas where you applied the cleaner. Use smooth, even strokes to lift away any cleaner still on the leather’s surface.
  • Focus on seams and crevices where cleaner may accumulate. These spots require special attention to prevent residue from causing stiffness or discoloration.
  • Check the cloth frequently as you work. If you notice dirt or grime on it, switch to a clean section of the cloth to avoid spreading dirt back onto the jacket.
  • If some areas still feel sticky or look uneven, dampen another part of your cloth with a bit of water. Then lightly go over these sections again for a final touch-up.
  • After wiping down the entire jacket, hang it up in a well – ventilated area. This ensures that any remaining moisture from cleaning evaporates quickly without harming the leather.

Using a Leather Conditioner

Using a leather conditioner is crucial for preserving the quality of your leather jacket. It keeps the material supple and prevents cracks.

  1. Choose a high – quality leather conditioner that matches your jacket’s type of leather.
  2. Test the conditioner on a small, inconspicuous part of the jacket to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration.
  3. Apply a small amount of conditioner onto a soft, clean cloth.
  4. Gently rub the conditioner into the leather using circular motions, covering the entire surface evenly.
  5. Avoid over – applying; too much conditioner can clog the pores of the leather and affect breathability.
  6. Allow the jacket to absorb the conditioner fully before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.
  7. Leave your jacket to dry naturally in a room with good air circulation; avoid direct sunlight or heat sources that can warp or crack the leather.

How to Clean Specific Stains from a Leather Jacket

How to Clean Specific Stains from a Leather Jacket

Discover the tailored tactics for tackling various stubborn stains on your leather jacket, ensuring it’s spotless and spectacular – continue reading to master these essential cleaning skills.

Food Stains

Dealing with food stains on a leather jacket requires quick action. Gently scrape off any solid bits with a dull knife or spoon, being careful not to gouge the leather. Next, dampen a soft cloth with a mixture of warm water and mild soap and lightly blot the stain.

Avoid rubbing as this can push the stain deeper into the leather’s pores or cause discoloration.

Once you’ve blotted up as much of the spill as possible, use another clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue from your leather jacket. Finish by dabbing gently with a dry towel to absorb moisture before letting it air-dry completely away from direct heat or sunlight which can damage the material.

For persistent food stains that don’t come out with initial efforts, consider using a specific leather cleaner designed for such messes after patch-testing in an inconspicuous area first.

Ink, Makeup, Oil, Glue, or Paint Stains

To tackle ink, makeup, oil, glue, or paint stains on your leather jacket, act quickly. Blot the stain gently with a clean cloth to remove excess substance without spreading it further.

Avoid scrubbing as this can engrain the stain deeper into the jacket’s material. Instead of water, which can cause more harm than good on these types of stains, use a specialized leather cleaner designed for tough spots.

Apply a small amount of leather cleaner onto another clean cloth and test it on an inconspicuous area first to ensure no discoloration occurs. Once safe, dab at the stain carefully using circular motions until it begins to lift off from the surface.

Utilize a separate dry cloth to wipe any residue and allow the area to air dry naturally. Proceeding with caution will preserve both color and texture while removing unwanted marks from your favorite garment.

Next up: handling salt, alcohol or hair product spills effectively without deteriorating your treasured leather apparel.

Salt, Alcohol, or Hair Products Stains

Dealing with salt stains on a leather jacket requires prompt attention. Gently rub the stain with a mixture of water and white vinegar in equal parts using a clean cloth. This solution helps dissolve the salt without harming the jacket’s material.

For alcohol spills or stains from hair products, blot up as much liquid as possible without rubbing it into the leather.

To address these types of spots, create a cleaning concoction by mixing warm water with mild soap. Dip a soft sponge into this mix and lightly dab at the marks, being careful not to soak the leather.

Afterward, take another dry cloth to pat down any damp areas until they are completely dry to prevent damaging your valued garment. Use only specialized leather cleaners if necessary, avoiding harsh chemicals that could strip away natural oils from your jacket’s surface.

Grease Stains

Grease stains on a leather jacket can be stubborn, but there’s a way to tackle them without causing damage. Begin by lightly dabbing the stain with a clean, dry cloth to soak up any excess oil.

This helps prevent the grease from spreading further into the leather. Next, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda or cornstarch directly onto the spot. These natural powders work wonders by absorbing grease and lifting it from the leather surface.

Leave the powder on the stain for several hours or overnight for best results; patience is key here! Once you’ve given it time to work its magic, use a soft-bristle brush to gently remove the powder—and with it, hopefully, much of that pesky grease mark.

If traces of the stain remain after this treatment, consider applying a specialized leather cleaner designed for treating tough stains. Apply sparingly in circular motions and then wipe off according to product instructions.

To fend off future incidents and maintain your jacket’s elegance over time, remember consistent care is essential: regular dusting will keep dirt at bay while an appropriate conditioner will ensure your jacket remains supple and resistant against spills.

Now that we’ve tackled those greasy foes head-on let’s consider some tips for making sure our jackets stay pristine day after day.

Tips for Maintaining Leather Jackets

Tips for Maintaining Leather Jackets

Keep your leather looking timeless with effortless upkeep strategies that ensure longevity. Discover the secrets to enhancing your jacket’s natural resilience and preserving its sleek appearance without turning to a professional every time.

Using Leather Conditioner

After your leather jacket is clean and dry, it’s time to apply a good quality leather conditioner. This step is vital for keeping the material soft, supple, and crack-free. Choose a conditioner specifically designed for leather jackets; these formulas are crafted to penetrate deeply without leaving an oily residue.

Massage the conditioner into the jacket using circular motions, paying special attention to areas that flex or bend frequently as they’re prone to drying out faster.

Let your jacket absorb the conditioning treatment fully before wearing it again – this could take several hours or overnight in some cases. Regular conditioning not only preserves the look of your favorite outerwear but also extends its lifespan by guarding against wear and tear.

Moving on from maintenance tips like these ensures you’ll continue enjoying that sleek leather look season after season.

Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Taking care of your leather jacket means keeping it away from harsh chemicals that can cause damage. Strong cleaning agents like bleach or ammonia-based products will strip the natural oils, leading to dryness and cracks in the leather.

Instead, stick with gentle cleaning methods designed for leather care. Look for cleaners that are specifically labeled as suitable for leather and check the ingredient list to ensure they don’t contain abrasive substances.

Always do a spot test on a small, less visible part of your jacket before applying any product all over. This simple step can save you from irreversible harm to your precious garment.

Use soft cloths or sponges when applying cleaner or conditioner; rough materials may scratch the surface. By choosing products made for preserving leather’s beauty and integrity, you prolong your jacket’s life while maintaining its luxurious look and feel.

Proper Storage

Keeping your leather jacket in top condition doesn’t stop after cleaning; it’s essential to store it properly too. Find a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, as heat and UV rays can fade and crack the leather.

Use a padded hanger that supports the jacket’s shape to prevent any distortion or stretching of the shoulders.

Make sure your closet has enough space so your jacket isn’t crushed by other items, as wrinkles in leather can be tough to remove. Covering your leather jacket with a breathable cloth bag guards against dust without cutting off air circulation like plastic covers do.

These simple steps will help maintain the quality and extend the life of your favorite leather piece.

Professional Cleaning

Discover how trusting your treasured leather jacket to professional cleaners can enhance its longevity and keep it looking sharp for years to come.

Do Dry Cleaners Clean Leather Jackets ?

Dry cleaners certainly offer services to clean leather jackets, utilizing specialized techniques and products designed for leather care. They understand that treating this sensitive material requires expertise to prevent damage such as cracking or shrinking, ensuring your jacket is returned in top condition.

These professionals also have the ability to tackle tough stains that might be too challenging to remove at home with DIY methods.

Opting for a professional leather cleaning service can save you time and alleviate the worry of harming your prized possession. Dry cleaners examine each jacket individually, taking into account its unique characteristics and the type of leather it is made from.

This personalized approach guarantees that every crease and corner receives attention, preserving the quality and extending the life of your leather jacket.

Advantages of Going to a Professional Cleaner

Taking your leather jacket to a professional cleaner can ensure it receives the best care possible. Experts have specialized products and techniques at their fingertips that are specifically designed for treating leather.

They understand how different types of leather react to various cleaning methods, preventing any accidental damage that might occur from home treatments. Professional cleaners also know how to effectively remove stubborn stains without compromising the integrity or color of your leather jacket.

By choosing a professional cleaning service, you can extend the life of your favorite jacket, keeping it looking sharp and well-maintained for years to come. Your jacket will not only come back clean but also conditioned, which is crucial for preserving the suppleness and sheen of the leather.

After understanding these benefits, you may have questions about what exactly entails in a professional cleaning process tailored for leather apparel – an important consideration before handing over your cherished wardrobe piece.

Questions to Ask Your Dry Cleaner About Leather Jacket Cleaning

Make sure to ask your dry cleaner if they have experience with leather jacket cleaning specifically. Leather requires special care, so it’s crucial that the person handling your jacket knows what they’re doing.

Inquire about their methods and whether they use a leather conditioner after cleaning. This helps keep the leather soft and prevents cracking.

Check on their policy for damages during cleaning, too. You want peace of mind knowing that if something goes wrong, you won’t be left with a ruined jacket. Ask them about the turnaround time; different stains and treatments might mean longer waiting periods before you get your beloved jacket back in pristine condition.

Use this conversation as an opportunity to learn how often you should bring in your jacket for professional cleaning to maintain its quality over time.


Caring for your leather jacket doesn’t have to be daunting. And we hope this guide on how to clean a leather jacket helps you get started. With these easy-to-follow steps, you can keep it clean and maintain its quality for years to come. Remember always to treat the material with gentle hands and suitable products.

If stains persist or you’re unsure about the process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Your leather jacket is an investment worth protecting!


1. What should I use to clean my leather jacket?

Use a damp cloth and mild soap specially designed for leather to clean your leather jacket.

2. Can I wash my leather jacket in the washing machine?

No, you should not put your leather jacket in the washing machine as it can damage the material.

3. How do I dry my leather jacket after cleaning it?

Let your leather jacket air dry naturally away from direct heat or sunlight after cleaning.

4. Is it safe to use baby wipes on my leather jacket?

Avoid using baby wipes on a leather jacket; they may contain chemicals that can harm the finish.

5. How often should I condition my leather jacket?

Condition your leather jacket every 6-12 months to keep it soft and prevent cracking.