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How to Clean and Care for a Leather Jacket

A leather jacket will instantly add a cool factor to your wardrobe, bringing a rock and roll edge to any outfit. However, to keep life in your beloved jacket and wear it for years to come, it’s important to know how to take care of it.

As much as you would love to keep your jacket looking brand new, when it’s worn on a daily basis, it’s hard to protect it from everything. But with a little know how, you can keep the leather supple, ensure it looks great and keep it in your wardrobe forever!

From a quick wipe to a professional clean, the team at Joe Browns’ give you their top tips on how to clean and care for your leather jacket.

How To Clean Your Leather Jacket

Depending on how often you wear your leather jacket, it’s a good idea to wipe it down with a damp cloth once a week, fortnight or on a monthly basis to help to stop any build up of dirt and dust. This is particularly true around the cuffs and collar of your leather jacket, where grime and make-up can easily build up.

Here’s how to remove everyday dust and dirty from your leather jacket:

  1. Use mild, soapy water and a soft sponge to gently dab and clean important areas, such as around the collar and cuffs, being careful not to completely saturate your jacket.
  2. Wipe with a dry cloth and then leave to dry naturally.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Leather Jacket

As it’s advised you don’t machine wash your leather jacket, washing the inside can be a little more tricky. But by following these steps, you can have your whole jacket feeling fresh again in no time!

  1. Begin by reversing your jacket so that it’s inside out and place it on a hanger.
  2. Use mild, soapy water and a soft sponge to gently dab and clean important areas, such as under the arms, being careful not to completely saturate your jacket.
  3. Wipe with a dry cloth and then leave to dry naturally.
  4. Optional: Use a light spray of a fabric refresher (such as Febreze) from a good distance to resolve any lingering odours.

How To Dry Your Leather Jacket

After washing or cleaning, it’s essential that you always dry your leather jacket naturally away from any heat sources, such as radiators. Artificial heat can cause the leather on your jacket to crack and become brittle, which could shorten the life of your beloved jacket.

It’s also important to always make sure that your leather jacket is completely dry before storing it away in a wardrobe. No one wants to find that their favourite wardrobe staple has developed a musty smell or mouldy appearance!

How To Restore & Care For Your Leather Jacket

With exposure to sunlight and elements such as rain or snow, it’s possible for a leather jacket to begin to fade over time. The best solution for this is to buff a small amount of leather conditioner onto the jacket using a clean piece of material. You could use an old t-shirt or clean cloth — both will restore your jacket and bring back any lost shine.

Additionally, there are numerous leather sprays on the market which will do that same job but may be easier to get a more even coverage. Using a waterproofing spray will also create a layer of protection to help shield against stains and keep your signature jacket looking fabulous for longer!

Storing Your Leather Jacket

When storing your leather jacket there are a few aspects you should consider. Choosing the right coat hanger can make all the difference — a plastic or flimsy coat hanger will struggle to take the weight of a leather jacket, causing it to lose its shape easily. Instead, we recommend choosing a wooden or padded hanger to keep your classic leather jacket looking pristine. 

It is also important to store your jacket away from moisture as this can cause mildew and an unpleasant smell. Keep it in a wardrobe or dry cloakroom and always store it out of direct sunlight so it doesn’t lose its colour.

Removing Tough Stains From Your Leather Jacket

For most dirt and grime, using soapy water or a washing detergent will remove any stains. However, if you have tough stains on your jacket such as ink or grease, you may need something a little stronger to get your jacket back to its original self.

However, when tackling tough stains, we recommend following the washing instructions on your leather jacket. Additionally, always test a small amount of the product you are using on a discrete area prior to treating any stains.


Using toothpaste can help to lift small stains. To do this, take a small amount on your finger tip and gently make circular motions to cover the stain — make sure you don't rub too hard as this can cause the leather to discolour! Follow this by using a clean damp cloth to wipe away the toothpaste.

Baking Soda

Baking soda had a reputation for removing grease stains. If you believe a stain on your leather jacket was caused by oil, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the stain and gently massage it in with a damp cloth — baking soda can be abrasive, so it’s important to do this very lightly!  Leave it for a couple of hours or overnight then wipe away the excess with a cloth.

Nail Polish Remover

For stains such as scuffs or ink, using a small amount of nail polish remover to lightly blot the stain can work. This should be done carefully, as nail polish remover can easily irreversible damage and discolour the leather — a cotton swab can help to ensure you’re only touching the stain or stuff. When you’re done, gently wipe with a damp cloth.

Leather Cleaner

Investing in a speciality leather cleaner is a great way to remove any tough stains your jacket may have as they’re formulated for leather garments. They often also contain the oils and conditioners that will keep your jacket in perfect condition, helping your jacket to look and feel new for longer! Simply place a small amount on a clean cloth and gently rub the stained area to lift the stain.

Getting Your Leather Jacket Professionally Cleaned

Even if you’re caring for your leather jacket, depending on how often it’s worn, it’s advised to get it cleaned professionally. A professional leather cleaner will know exactly which products are best for your jacket considering both the type of leather and the colour, as well as knowing how to remove any stains without causing any damage.

A professional clean will bring back the vitality that a leather jacket should have, so you can continue to look fabulous in it for many years to come!

How are you caring for your leather jacket? We’d love to hear! Let us know on Facebook or Instagram. And if you’re still on the hunt for your ideal leather jacket, take a look at our fabulous collection of men’s and women’s leather jackets at Joe Browns!