The Right Way to Clean Your Leather Jacket

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Leather jackets can add a nice fancy touch to your wardrobe; however, they come at a hefty price. For this reason, you’d want to keep it looking good and new for as long as possible. On the other hand, you can’t protect your jacket from everything. Obviously, like all other clothes, they get dirty and dusty. Sometimes you may even end up getting a nasty spill on it, which may lead you to think that the jacket has been ruined permanently, but this is often not the case as they can be cleaned.

Cleaning them may be a difficult task though because you can’t simply throw them in your washing machine as this will make it crack and shrink, and altogether it may end up completely damaging your clothing article forever. Still, you have to take proper care of your leather jacket, if you want it to look nice. The cleaning process can be quite expensive, but I’m here to tell you a few easy and cost-effective methods that can help you keep that jacket fresh and new. Below, I have made a list of a few ways you can keep that jacket nice and tidy all by yourself, without much effort.

Some Things to Remember

Before you try any of the methods mentioned below, there are some things you need to keep in mind when cleaning your leather jacket.

  1. Read the label on the jacket for instructions. The manufacturer will have mentioned the type of leather used in the jacket, which can be helpful to select the type of cleaning methods that can be utilized. Furthermore, they may have even mentioned the recommended cleaning methods, so this can be much more useful.
  2. Avoid the use of Ammonia or any bleach-based cleaner. They will damage the leather on your jacket and may even cause it to crack. For this reason, keep them away from your precious jacket.
  3. Clean off spills quickly. The faster you clean off a spill, the easier it will be to remove it completely, because damp stains can soak into the leather of your jacket, as it is a porous material. Hence, it is advisable to use a soft cloth to clean it immediately.

Baking Soda

Suppose you spilled grease of any form or some oil on your jacket, and you might be thinking that the fancy spark that your jacket once had is gone. Let me tell you that this is not the case. You can easily get rid of grease stains by sprinkling a little bit of Baking Soda or Cornstarch on the greased spot. Both of these are very effective in removing such stains.

Next, gently rub this spot with a soft damp cloth. After that, you have to leave it be for the soda to settle in for a few hours. You can even do this overnight. Once this time has passed, you will notice that the soda or starch will have completely absorbed and soaked the oil, so all you have to do now is wipe the spot with a dry soft cloth, to remove the powder. Now, there are going to be no signs of oil or grease stains left on your luxurious leather jacket.


Even if you somehow manage to get a major stain on your jacket, do not worry because this too, can easily be cleaned by using the most common everyday household item: toothpaste. Just take a little non-gel toothpaste on your fingertip, and rub it gently on the stain. Cover the entire stain with the toothpaste, and leave it to settle for a few seconds. After that, use a damp soft cloth to rub the stain gently.

Make sure you don’t scrub it because if you do, the texture may get damaged or the jacket may get discolored. Keep softly rubbing the spot until the stain has been completely lifted off. Next, make use of a clean new damp cloth to wipe off the toothpaste. Let the jacket dry, and you will be surprised by the results.

Your previously stained jacket is now as good as new. Not only is this method extremely cost-effective but also it takes little to no time and it gives magical results.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol can do wonders when it comes to cleaning off molds from your leather jacket. It is also one of the most useful cleaning tools you can keep at home, as it is a very cheap method for cleaning purposes.

To begin, you should mix an equal amount of rubbing alcohol with an equal amount of water. Dampen a soft cloth by dipping it in the solution and then wipe this gently on the molded area. Slowly, the stain will start to come off, until eventually all of it is gone. Once this happens, use a separate dry cloth to clean off the area, polish it, and wipe off the alcohol.

Now your jacket is mold-free! Remember, you can’t use the rubbing alcohol without diluting it with water, as it will ruin your jacket. Lastly, leave your jacket to dry completely and you will see that your jacket is now as good as new.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover is the perfect tool for getting rid of annoying stains such as ink stains and marks such as grazes and scuffs that you may think are permanent, but they actually aren’t.

It works great especially on leather fabric for cleaning. All you need is a cotton swab and some nail polish remover. Dip the cotton swab in the remover and use it on the stained area. Do not rub it, as the stain could spread due to the moisture. Clean the spot very gently by using the swab until the stain is gone completely, and then make use of a separate dry cloth to wipe off the remover and the leftover marks from the stain or graze.

You can also use a towel instead of the cloth for drying, but now you will see that your jacket is sparkly clean.

Leather Cleaner

A leather cleaner is built specifically for the purpose of cleaning all sorts of leather products. These are uniquely designed to make your life easier by saving you from the hefty task of removing stains and cleaning your leather jacket.

They can help you remove all sorts of dirt from your jacket, so it is recommended that you invest in one and buy it. Leather cleaners also make use of oils to give your jacket a more refreshed and new look. So not only will you be able to get rid of all sorts of stains, you can make your whole jacket look shiny and fancy. You won’t ever need to think about buying a new leather jacket ever again, because this can turn your dusty old jacket into a new shiny article.

To do this, squirt out some leather cleaner onto a soft cloth and rub it gently on the affected surface. It can get rid of all sorts of dust and stain easily. You can also use it on the whole jacket, even in unaffected areas, because it can give your jacket a shine and generally improve its condition and life. Just remember to use small portions on your cloth each time. With this method, you can relight the fancy touch in a leather jacket with ease.

Mild detergent or Soap

Out of all the methods, this may be the most straightforward technique. It can be used to get rid of all color and ink stains or dirt with ease.

All you need is a little bit of liquid dish detergent or dishwashing soap to make a solution. Add about two to three teaspoons of detergent and mix it with warm water in an open container. Do not add too much as it can deteriorate your jacket’s color. Make a mild, gentle solution and dip a soft cloth to dampen it with the solution.

Remember, you have to use soft cloth because using a rough cloth can graze or damage your jacket. Also, only dampen the cloth, if it is too wet; wring out the extra moisture from it. If it is too wet, the liquid may soak into the jacket and weaken its texture, thus ruining the jacket. Start off by wiping the affected area with your damp soft cloth, gently. Try to make longer motions to get rid of the whole stain and avoid scrubbing. Do this until the stain starts to come off.

You can use this to clean the whole jacket to give it a shine and you can also get rid of nasty oil stains with this. Next, use a separate soft cloth. Dampen it with some water and use it to gently rub off the soap from the parts of the jacket, until all of the soap is gone. After this use a new towel to dry off the wet parts of the jacket.

Now you can leave your jacket to dry and after that, it will be back to its newish condition.

Get it cleaned by a professional

Although cleaning your jacket may seem like a relatively simple task, the gentleness required can make it tricky. If you do not clean it with the proper care and patience, you may end up damaging your jacket instead.

Moreover, soft leathers require even more intensive care and are more vulnerable to damage, so it is best to contact a qualified leather expert in this case. Although this is a more expensive method of cleaning, doing this once a year to get rid of all stains and dust on your jacket can be effective. This way, you won’t have to worry about tearing of ruining your jacket in any way.

Additional Tips

  1. Don’t overfill your pockets and avoid carrying heavy objects in them, because this can stretch and ruin the leather.
  2. The alcohol from hairspray or perfume causes the leather in your jacket to dry out and creates a stain. Keep these away from the jacket.
  3. Do not fold your jacket as it can form creases. Always hang it up properly. However, if your jacket does get wrinkled, iron it with a warm iron, but do it very gently. This will help get rid of the creases.
  4. Keep your jacket away from all sorts of badges and pins, or any stick on objects. This will create marks on your jacket and ruin the finish. Also, any holes formed will be almost impossible to remove.
  5. Invest in good quality cleaning products, because these will ensure cleanliness and durability. Low-quality products may not provide very good results.
  6. Store your jacket in a cool, dry place. Storing it properly will ensure that its quality remains up-to-date. You should also clean it properly at least once every year. This way, it could last you for years, in top condition.

Final notes

By now you will have learned a lot of methods to easily get rid of nasty spills and stains on your jacket. The truth is that cleaning a leather jacket is not as difficult as it may seem. All you have to do is be gentle and careful with it, and the results will always turn out positive. A leather jacket can really spice up your wardrobe because it can go with any color or style, and it can definitely last a really long time as long as you take good care of it.

Cleaning your leather jacket by following a proper conditioning routine can ensure that its high quality will be retained over the years. This can also give it a new touch. Although leather jackets are expensive, you’ll rarely ever need to buy a new one because your old one will do just fine with the proper care as long as you follow these tips to keep it clean and fresh.

Happy Cleaning!

Jackets NZ

We believe leather jackets should be accessible to everyone, whatsoever your budget. We are more than just a brand with an aim to inspire confidence in our customers when it comes to how to select and wear a leather jacket that suits your personality.