Warm water, soap, and wipe. These are the three most common elements on how to clean leather jackets with natural products. Rather than spend the time writing out another well-thought-out introduction, I’ll show you how you can do DIY cleaning of leather jackets with just three products, along with simple tips to keep in mind and a number of bonus methods you can use if those stains are as stubborn as your older brother.
5 Quick Tips:
TIP #1 – Check the leather jacket’s label for cleaning instructions. You’ll usually see it at the bottom right-hand corner of the inside of the jacket if you are facing it. Some jackets will have specific instructions on how to clean your leather jacket such as “dry clean only,” while others will have no instructions. If either of those apply and you don’t feel like dry cleaning just yet, read on.
TIP #2 – When using water to clean, avoid using too much as it can oversaturate and stain leather. Avoid using ammonia- or bleach-based cleaners to clean your leather jacket as it can dry out the leather and damage the material.
TIP #3 – Dab spills on the leather jacket with a soft cloth as soon as you notice it (hopefully soon).
TIP #4 – Avoid using a washing machine or dryer to clean a leather jacket, unless your intended purpose is to shrink your jacket afterwards.
TIP #5 – Do not use natural oils such as coconut or olive oil to clean a leather jacket as they may oversaturate or grease up the leather and cause it to split.
Simple 3 Step Cleaning Method:
1. Make a solution by mixing warm water together with some light dish soap. You can also make a solution using one part vinegar to one part water, or two teaspoons of liquid dish soap in a few ounces of warm water. Just remember to stir the solution until the soap or vinegar is completely mixed in.
Warning: Go light on the soap mixture. Too much can damage the leather by making it discolored.
2. Take a clean, soft cloth or sponge and dip it into the solution, wring it out to have it lightly damp, and wipe the affected area on the leather jacket. Use a second clean, soft cloth or sponge dampened with water to wipe off the cleaning solution.
3. Dry the leather jacket with a clean, soft towel. Remember that dabbing the water on the jacket is preferred rather than wiping the jacket down roughly. Hang the leather jacket up and let it air-dry.
Bonus Cleaning Methods For Tough Stains:
(Non-gel) Toothpaste – Apply a touch of toothpaste to the affected area using your finger. Use a soft, clean cloth to gently rub the stain until it goes away. Avoid scrubbing as toothpaste can discolor the leather jacket. Lastly, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the toothpaste off the leather.
Nail Polish Remover – Do you have ink stains on your leather jacket? Use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover to dab the stain until it is removed. Avoid rubbing as that could make the ink spread. Lastly, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the area and let it air-dry.
Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Baby Powder, Cornflour – Use these powders to remove oil and grease stains. Sprinkle any of them (don’t tell me you made a mix of all of them) on the affected area, rub gently with a damp cloth, and let the powder sit for a few hours or overnight. Afterwards, use a clean, soft cloth to wipe off the powder.
Rubbing Alcohol – This is a great way to remove mold from leather. Use one part rubbing alcohol and mix with one part water. Dip a soft, clean cloth into the solution, wring it up, and wipe the affected area. Use another cloth dampened with water to wipe the area afterwards.
Leather Cleaner – This cleaner helps scrub away dirt and stains and softens your leather jacket afterwards to keep it supple. You can find one at any furniture store, department store, or online via Amazon. The good thing about them is they’re inexpensive and last for many years.
Use a small squeeze or spray of leather cleaner to apply onto the affected area of the leather jacket. Use a soft, clean cloth to massage the cleaner into the leather material in slow, round strokes turning outward in a spiral. Gently rub until the cleaner is entirely absorbed into the material. Reapply as needed.
For Future Care:
1. Waterproof your leather jacket if the material is not treated with waterproof spray. You can easily find a spray online to seal the pores in the leather and waterproof it to prevent damage. Anytime it rains, water will simply roll off the leather.
2. Condition your leather jacket using leather conditioner. Usually, this is done once a year to keep it looking and feeling soft and flexible, while protecting against cracking or splitting. You can buy one online or make your own if you have one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil lying around (I know we all do somewhere).
3. Professionally clean soft leather jackets (e.g., lamb, suede). The most stubborn stains will vanish away from a qualified leather expert and the right equipment while keeping your jacket in good hands from tearing or shrinking.
Super Clean All The Time, Every Time
Having a leather jacket doesn’t have to be difficult when it happens to get dirty once in a while. Taking the right simple steps above will more than likely get rid of most stains or marks. When in doubt, using the bonus methods will help get even the most stubborn stains away. And the next time you may get into a dirty situation, know that you have three top tips to keep it protected and supple for years to come.
What cleaning method did you find the most useful or interesting? Leave a comment below.