how to wash leather jacket

How to Wash Leather Jackets in a Washing Machine

Leather jackets are stylish and durable garments that require special care to maintain their quality and appearance. While many people believe that leather jackets should only be dry cleaned, it is possible to wash them safely in a washing machine with the right techniques and precautions. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to wash leather jackets in a washing machine, ensuring that your jacket stays clean without compromising its integrity.

1. Introduction

Leather jackets are a popular fashion choice that can elevate any outfit. However, they are prone to getting dirty and require regular cleaning to maintain their luster. While traditional methods recommend dry cleaning, washing a leather jacket in a washing machine can be a convenient and effective alternative.

2. Preparing the Leather Jacket for Washing

Before washing your leather jacket in a washing machine, it’s essential to prepare it properly:

  • Check the care label: Look for any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding machine washing.
  • Empty the pockets: Remove any personal items or accessories from the jacket to prevent damage.
  • Close zippers and buttons: Ensure that all zippers and buttons are securely fastened to avoid snagging during the wash.

3. Choosing the Right Washing Machine Settings

To protect your leather jacket during the wash cycle, follow these guidelines:

  • Use a gentle cycle: Select a delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine to minimize agitation.
  • Opt for cold water: Washing leather jackets in cold water helps prevent color fading and minimizes the risk of shrinking.
  • Avoid harsh spin cycles: High-speed spinning can cause the leather to wrinkle or lose its shape. Choose a lower spin speed or opt for no spinning at all.

4. Using the Right Detergent

Using the appropriate detergent is crucial to maintain the quality of your leather jacket:

  • Choose a mild detergent: Use a pH-neutral or leather-specific detergent that is free of bleach, enzymes, and harsh chemicals.
  • Avoid strong detergents: Harsh detergents can strip away the natural oils in the leather, leading to dryness and cracking.

5. Washing the Leather Jacket

Follow these steps to wash your leather jacket in the washing machine:

  1. Place the leather jacket in a mesh laundry bag: This will protect the jacket from excessive friction and prevent any hardware from scratching the leather.
  2. Add the appropriate amount of mild detergent: Follow the instructions on the detergent packaging to determine the correct amount.
  3. Start the washing machine: Begin the gentle cycle with cold water.
  4. Avoid fabric softeners: Fabric softeners can leave a residue on the leather, so it’s best to skip them.
  5. Allow the washing cycle to complete: Once finished, promptly remove the jacket from the machine.

Also Read: How to Clean a Leather Jacket In Just 7 Easy Steps

6. Drying the Leather Jacket

Drying your leather jacket correctly is essential to prevent damage:

  • Gently remove excess water: Carefully squeeze the jacket to remove excess water without wringing or twisting.
  • Pat dry with a clean towel: Use a soft, absorbent towel to gently pat the jacket dry. Avoid rubbing or applying excessive pressure.
  • Air dry in a well-ventilated area: Hang the jacket on a padded hanger in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid using a clothes dryer, as it can cause shrinkage or distortion.

7. Conditioning and Moisturizing the Leather

After washing and drying, it’s crucial to restore moisture and flexibility to the leather:

  • Choose a leather conditioner: Select a high-quality leather conditioner or moisturizer recommended for your jacket’s type of leather.
  • Apply the conditioner: Follow the instructions provided with the conditioner and evenly apply it to the jacket. Use a soft cloth or sponge to work the conditioner into the leather.
  • Allow the conditioner to absorb: Leave the jacket in a cool, dry place for the conditioner to be absorbed. This will help restore suppleness and maintain the jacket’s longevity.

Also Read: Can You Use Beeswax On Leather? Everything You Need to Know

8. Storing the Leather Jacket

Proper storage is vital to keep your leather jacket in excellent condition:

  • Use a breathable garment bag: Store your leather jacket in a breathable garment bag to protect it from dust and moisture.
  • Avoid plastic bags: Plastic can trap moisture and lead to mildew or mold growth.
  • Keep it in a cool, dry place: Store your jacket in a location away from direct sunlight, heat sources, or extreme temperature changes.

9. Additional Tips for Leather Jacket Care

  • Regularly wipe off surface dirt: Use a soft cloth or brush to remove any surface dirt or dust from your leather jacket.
  • Avoid exposing to harsh elements: Protect your jacket from rain, snow, and excessive sunlight, as these can damage the leather.
  • Test cleaning products: Before using any new cleaning or conditioning product, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the jacket to ensure compatibility.


Washing leather jackets in a washing machine can be a safe and effective method if done correctly. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your leather jacket while preserving its original charm. Remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions and exercise caution to prevent any potential damage.


1. Can all leather jackets be washed in a washing machine?
While many leather jackets can be safely washed in a washing machine, it’s crucial to check the care label or consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidelines.

2. Can I use regular laundry detergent to wash my leather jacket?
It’s recommended to use a mild detergent specifically formulated for leather or a pH-neutral detergent. Avoid using regular laundry detergents that may contain harsh chemicals.

3. Can I dry my leather jacket in a clothes dryer?
No, it’s best to avoid using a clothes dryer to dry a leather jacket. Instead, allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

4. How often should I condition my leather jacket?
The frequency of conditioning depends on various factors such as climate, usage, and the leather’s condition. As a general guideline, consider conditioning your leather jacket every 6 to 12 months.

5. What should I do if my leather jacket gets stained?
For specific stains or deep cleaning, it’s advisable to consult a professional leather cleaner to avoid further damage to the jacket.

In conclusion, with the right precautions and care, you can wash your leather jacket in a washing machine to keep it clean and fresh. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can maintain the integrity and appearance of your leather jacket while extending its lifespan. Remember to always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and use gentle methods to protect the leather.

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