How to Clean a Leather Jacket So It Looks Like New

by | May 9, 2023 | Detailed Cleaning

Leather Jacket Refurbishment 101: A Groovy Guide
Back in the day, leather jackets were groovy, and guess what, my friends? They’re still all the rage now! I mean, come on! They jazz up any outfit and wrap us up in style – gender? Pfft. We don’t discriminate around here! But hey, leather ain’t cheap, so let’s make sure we give it some tender lovin’. Even the snazziest black leather can turn into an unruly mess if you don’t keep it in check. And no, you can’t just chuck it in the washing machine (nice try, though). 

Don’t you worry, folks! We’ve whipped up a fab-tastic guide to give your leather jacket the TLC it deserves without destroying it. The goal? To make your leather jacket look as rad as it did pre-cleaning. Let’s boogie!

Hang On To Your Hats – Say NO to the Washing Machine!

how to clean leather jacket

Most leather-lovers have two burning questions – how on earth do you clean a leather jacket without ruining it? Oh, and can you just toss it in the machine? 

Well, here’s the scoop. Don’t be tempted by the spin! Throwing your precious leather jacket into the washing machine is an express ticket to disaster. Remember, not every garment loves the wild whirl of machinery. There are loads of other funky ways to clean your jacket. Just start by figuring out what kind of leather you’re vibing with.  

Finding Your Groove: Know Your Leather Types

Heads up! not all leathers are created equal. You may know about different cool cat colors, but different types of leather require different cleanings. Want the deets? Sure thing:

how to clean leather jacket

Nappa Leather

The smooth cat of the leather gang, Nappa leather is top-notch. Soft lamb, full-grain or unsplit – so gentle, you’ll wanna cuddle it. But that fragility means you’ll need to handle it with the utmost care, too. 

how to clean leather jacket


This nappy, velvety beauty is a dream to wear, but a little different from its Nappa cousin. Suede comes from the soft underbelly of a split-grain hide, and it’s oh-so-easy to stain. Approach with caution, my friends.

how to clean leather jacket


This leather may seem like suede’s lookalike, but don’t be fooled! Nubuck comes from the animal’s top hide and is buffed into velvety perfection. 

how to clean leather jacket


Rockin’ an aniline leather jacket? Lucky you! This bad boy is a chemically treated, full-grain leather with a killer protectant application. 

Alright, fire up the record player; we’re about to dive into cleaning some leather: Suede, Nubuck, Aniline, and Nappa! Let’s groove!

Ahoy, all ye leather-loving lads and lassies! Let’s delve into the wacky world of scrub-a-dub-dubbing your snazzy cowhide coat, shall we? These slippery rules apply to both the old-timey hand-me-downs and the shiny new store-bought ones, so buckle up, buttercup!

Now, you must understand, not all leathery skins are the same, but most modern moo-drapes come with a magical shield to keep ugly stains at bay. Our BFFs for this cleaning shindig? Nature’s own treasure trove, of course! 

Keep your kittens away from the nasty stuff like:

  •  Ammonia

  •  Bleach

  • Acetone

  • Chemical baddies in general,
how to clean leather jacket

These meanies will burn through your beloved jacket, leaving you with a sad and discolored mess (and possibly an evil villain cape).

  • A no-fuzz-attitude microfiber cloth

  • A mild-detergent

  • Warm wetness (aka water)

  • A soft brush
how to clean leather jacket

And in certain sticky situations, call upon:

  • Vinegar

  •  Cornstarch

  • Acetone-Free Booze of Rubbing
how to clean leather jacket

Always coax your leather cover with gentle grub before moving on to the tougher kicks like rubbing potions.

Now, let’s dive into a step-by-step jig for rejuvenating a leather jacket and tackling any curveballs life may throw at it!

how to clean leather jacket

1. Make your sink spick-and-span, then trap those lukewarm waves inside to create a mild watery cuddle. Keep the heat in check, baby, or you might harm that delicate leather!

2. Sprinkle a pinch of mild laundry pixie dust into the waters, stirring it like a magic brew.

3. Submerge your fantastic leather ensemble into the potion, letting the lining join in the splashy fun. Let it marinate for 10 minutes – set your fancy timers!

4. If stubborn stains mock your cleaning prowess, arm yourself with a soft cloth or an ultra-gentle bristle brush to banish them. Scrub not too rigorously, for you may hurt the sensitive fabric.

5. Fish out your jacket after a 10-minute soak. Don’t you dare wring it out! Creases are the nemesis of style. Instead, rinse in crystal-clear waters, gently squeezing until you’ve freed it from soapy bonds.

6. Grant your jacket respite by hanging it to dry in a secret, sunless sanctuary, away from heat sources. Play the waiting game for a few days (no cheating with a dryer!).

7. Once dry, your jacket may look and feel a wee bit off. But fear not! A dollop of leather conditioner will have it singing its happy cow song again!

Alas, if your jacket’s a moldy mess, fret not. That’s another adventurous tale to be told another time, dear friends. Until then, happy scrub-a-dub-dubbing!

Zap That Moldy Leather Tunic with a Bangarang Brew

how to clean leather jacket

If it’s mold you’re battling, my dear, you need to pull out the big guns – but mind you, no acetone! That’s naughty-naughty.

  • Get yourself some schnazzy bottle of acetone-free rubbing alcohol. But do exercise caution, lest you vandalize your own voguish vestment.

  • The modus operandi is elementary, Watson. Simply dab a teensy-weensy bit of said alcohol onto your trusty microfiber cloth. Do not, I repeat, do not pour it directly on the jacket. Steady now, dab-dab on the offense with a damp cloth, making sure not to scrub away like a desperate Cinderella. Aim right for the stain’s jugular to keep its inmates from escaping.

  • Fancy nail polish remover? Sure, you can launch an attack on mold and ink stains with that too, but see that it’s an acetone-free brigade you’re sending to the front, for acetone is color’s sworn enemy and causes irreparable damage.

Attack of the Domestic Eco-Warriors

how to clean leather jacket

For those who’d rather face their foes with more familiar and eco-friendly weaponry, the kitchen pantry has quite an arsenal.

  • Vinegar, oh yes, vinegar, you multi-talented crusader, we’re looking at you! Just fetch the vinegar and a damp cloth, and you’re ready to take down those stains and moldy mischief-makers that plague your precious leather.

For those protesting to save delicate leather.

  • Create a potion using equal parts water and vinegar. This secret recipe is especially potent against salt stains. In fact, cornstarch and baking soda defy salt and oil stains with equal vigor. Combine equal parts water and baking soda/cornstarch, and let the magic potion work its wonders overnight.

Unleash the Power of Precaution

how to clean leather jacket

Treat your leather jacket with care, and you shall bid adieu to worrisome stains.

  • Mold and mildew are born in damp, clammy conditions – beware the closet near the bathroom door!

  • A quality hanger and a dry climate away from heat will keep your jacket’s enemies at bay.

Inevitably, stains will haunt us all – be it due to rain-splattered adventures or salt assaulting in the winter.

  • Fear them not, for a gentle bath in your sink with mild detergent should banish them. It is the ink stains and mold that require your wit and cunning. Arm yourself with acetone-free products or fight with nature’s own – call upon vinegar for help.

And now, with these wise tactics in your pocket, your leather jacket shall shine resplendent for ages to come!

Let us wow you with our phenomenal maid services, and relax while we take care of your home, all while knowing you are helping a wonderful cause.

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