How to clean a leather jacket

Whether you remember the suave coolness of Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” or the wild adventure of Indiana Jones, leather jackets have been a staple of the men’s wardrobe for decades. They add a high level of style without losing the image of a masculine aura. However, finding the perfect leather jacket for your lifestyle is only half the battle. When you finally invest in the right jacket, you need to make sure you keep it clean without spending a ton of money. Here’s how to clean a leather jacket at home.

Leather jackets are items that can last for decades if properly cared for. Although you can’t throw them in the wash on your regular laundry day, the process is much simpler than it looks. The jacket doesn’t need to be cleaned regularly, it’s meant to look broken so only do this when the jacket needs a little TLC. If you have stains, the process will be different and the tools you need will depend on the type of stain.

Clean your jacket at home

Instead of taking your jacket to the dry cleaners every six months or every time you get a stain on it, there’s a better way to keep your jacket looking fresh like the day you bought it for years to come.

Step 1: Mix a solution of warm water and dish soap or make a cleaning solution of one part vinegar to one part water

2nd step: Dip a soft cloth in the solution, wring it out, and wipe down the jacket. Do not rub any part of the jacket

Step 3: Use a second clean, damp cloth to wipe off the cleaning solution

Step 4: Dry the jacket with a towel

leather jacket

remove stains

The above process works best if you only try to freshen up your jacket once in a while. But what about stain removal? Nothing is worse than having a stellar jacket marred by minor stains that steal the look. Here’s how to remove the most common stains.

How to remove ink stains

Using nail polish remover can rid your jacket of annoying ink stains. Here’s how you want to do it.

Step 1: Dip a cotton swab in the nail polish remover

2nd step: Gently dab the area, DO NOT rub as you may spread the stain. Keep dabbing until the stain disappears.

Step 3: Clean with a damp cloth

Step 4: Dry with a separate towel

man in leather jacket

How to remove oil and grease stains

Whether you’re eating pizza or changing the oil in your F-14 (we’re looking at you Maverick), accidents happen and you need to find a way to get grease and oil stains out of your jacket. Here’s how.

Step 1: Sprinkle baking soda on the stain

2nd step: Rub gently with a damp cloth

Step 3: Let the jacket sit overnight, the baking soda will absorb the oil or grease

Step 4: Brush the powder off the jacket with a soft cloth

Step 5: Dry the jacket with a towel

How to remove mold or mildew

If you’ve been living in a tropical climate for a while, it might have been a long time since you pulled out your best Steve McQueen look. Nothing is worse than pulling a jacket out of storage and being hit with a musty smell. Never fear, we have the solution to get you back in the jacket and on the bike in no time.

Step 1: Mix a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water

2nd step: Dip a cloth in the solution and rub the molded area

Step 3: Clean with another damp cloth

Step 4: Towel dry

Once you’ve cleaned your jacket, the last thing you want to do is make sure to protect it. Just as dermatologists recommend using moisturizer on your face once you get out of the shower, your jacket needs leather conditioner to keep it looking sharp. One of the best is Leather Honey. Pour a little on the jacket once you’ve cleaned it and people on the street will mistake you for Indiana Jones in no time.

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