A leather jacket is a staple in many wardrobes, and one of the material’s main benefits is that it can last for years.
Unsurprisingly, this does mean having to clean and care for it, just as you would with any other clothing.
But can you put a leather jacket in the washing machine? Let’s take a look.
Can You Put a Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine?
As with other leather items, you can’t really put a leather jacket in the washing machine.
Prolonged contact with water, especially combined with laundry liquid or washing powder, can strip the natural oils out of the leather. This makes the material brittle and more prone to damage, so it’s best avoided.
This isn’t to say you can’t get leather wet at all. The main issues with using a washing machine are that it soaks and agitates clothing, neither of which are great for leather items.
So, you can still clean a leather jacket as long as you’re sparing with how much water you use.
How Do You Wash a Leather Jacket without Ruining it?
To wash a leather jacket without ruining it, you simply need to be gentle and do it by hand.
One benefit of leather is that it’s generally stain resistant, so you should need to clean it too heavily.
Follow these steps to clean your leather jacket:
- Mix a solution of warm water and washing up liquid. Alternatively, use white vinegar and water if you want something gentler.
- Dip a clean cloth in the solution and rub the jacket down.
- Use a different cloth dipped in clean water to wipe away any remnants of the washing up liquid.
- Dry your jacket with a towel, wiping it gently. It shouldn’t need to air dry because it didn’t get that wet.
- Finally, use some Wren’s leather cream or a similar product to moisturise the jacket.
Leather cream is one of the most important steps in cleaning a leather jacket. It restores any oils you stripped by washing it and will help keep the leather supple.
If you need to clean the inner lining of your jacket, use the same washing up liquid solution. To remove smells, spray with white vinegar and water or an odour-neutralising product like Febreze.
Can You Put a Fake Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine?
Faux leather is usually fine to put in the washing machine because it’ll be made of plastic, vinyl, or a plant-based product. However, make sure you check the care instructions and only ever use a mild washing detergent.
If you’re unsure, wash by hand instead. You can do this by using the method above or washing in a bath tub, as fake leather can be submerged.
Real leather jackets are a big investment, so caring for them properly is a must. Part of this means washing them gently by hand to avoid ruining the material. And most importantly, don’t forget to moisturise your leather jacket!
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.