How to Wash a Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine: Safe?

Leather jackets are highly fashionable and can showcase your personal style. Their durability and versatility make them a valuable investment worth taking care of. However, one common challenge that you face is how to clean and maintain their longevity.

In this article, we will explore how to wash a leather jacket in the washing machine and discuss the necessary precautions to take. Let’s get started!

Can You Wash a Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine?

Generally, it is not recommended to wash a leather jacket in the washing machine. Because when you use the washing machine, this can create excessive movement. So, this could cause it dry, and more likely to crack and shrink. Furthermore, the leather’s dye may bleed, resulting in discoloration of both the jacket and any other clothes in the machine.

However, in some cases, you may consider using a washing machine to wash your jacket. Normally, some modern leather jackets are made from ‘washable leather.’ This type of leather is treated in a special way during the manufacturing process to allow it to withstand the rigors of a washing machine.

If your leather jacket is of this type and the care label permits machine washing, you should still be cautious. Should use a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Don’t use bleach or fabric softener, as these can damage the leather.

Should not wash the leather jacket in the washing machine

How to Wash a Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine: Step-by-Step Guide

Here, we’ll provide the following these detailed steps to safely wash your leather jacket in a washing machine:


The first step should involve inspecting the care label on the jacket to confirm if it is safe for machine washing. If machine washing is explicitly prohibited, it’s best to heed this warning to avoid damaging it. If machine washing is allowed or if there are no specific instructions against it, you can proceed to the next steps.

Next, if your jacket has any detachable elements like hoods, linings, or removable collars, it’s best to remove them before washing. These elements may be more sensitive to water and could get damaged during the wash. They might also become twisted or tangled in the washing machine. This could harm both the detachable pieces and your item.

Additionally, you need to secure all zippers and buttons to prevent them from getting torn off or causing damage during the wash.

Secure all zippers when washing in the machine

Choosing the right detergent

After you’ve properly prepared your jacket, the next important consideration is the type of detergent to use. It’s crucial to use a gentle, pH-balanced detergent specifically formulated for leather.

Remember regular detergents, bleach, fabric softeners, and harsh chemicals, these can have adverse effects on leather, causing it to dry out, crack, or discolor. So, should avoid using them.

Choose pH-balanced detergent

Selecting the washing machine settings

When it comes to washing, the jacket should be placed in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase. This helps to protect it from the aggressive action of the washing machine drum. You should set the washing machine on a delicate, hand-wash, or dry-care setting to minimize agitation.

Additionally, cold water is preferred to hot, as heat can cause the leather to shrink. Moreover, the quantity of detergent to be used should be as per the instructions on the detergent package.

Throughout the washing process, you need to handle the jacket with care to prevent damage. The jacket should be gently removed from a washing machine and the protective bag. Also, ensure that it is not wrung or twisted in the process, as this can damage the leather.

Drying the leather jacket

Air drying is the next step. It should be laid flat on a clean, dry towel or a drying rack. So, this could help remove excess water and you can also roll it in the towel to help absorb more water.

Additionally, the jacket should be allowed to dry naturally and should not be exposed to direct sunlight or heat sources. Because these can cause the leather to crack or fade. If you wish to speed up the drying process, you can use a fan. However, direct heat sources like hair dryers should be avoided.

Proper storage and maintenance

Finally, after the jacket is completely dry, it should be conditioned using a high-quality leather conditioner. This helps to restore the natural moisture and suppleness of the leather. The leather conditioner should be applied as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Afterward, the jacket should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area on a padded hanger to maintain its shape and prevent wrinkles or creases. Furthermore, regular maintenance, like wiping down with a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt and dust, and conditioning the leather every few months. This will keep it looking its best for years to come.

Alternative Methods to Clean

Spot Cleaning

If the jacket has minor stains or spills, spot cleaning may be the best option. To do this, you should use a damp cloth and a small amount of mild leather cleaner.

Continuously dab slightly at the affected area until the stain is removed. In addition, make sure to test the cleaner on a small area first to ensure it won’t cause discoloration.

Homemade Solution

For minor surface dirt, you can use a homemade solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Firstly, mix the water and vinegar in a bowl. After that, dip a soft cloth into the solution, wring out the excess liquid, and gently wipe the jacket’s surface. Next, continue using a second clean, damp cloth to wipe off the solution. After finishing the process, allow the jacket to air dry naturally.

Remember, when cleaning leather, it’s crucial to test any cleaning solution on a small, hidden area first to ensure it won’t damage or discolor the jacket.

Professional cleaning

If your leather jacket is heavily soiled or needs more extensive cleaning, it’s best to seek the help of a professional leather cleaner. Because they have the experience and necessary tools to clean and restore without causing damage and with a high chance of success.

Tips and Tricks for Washing Leather Jackets

  • Spot Test: Before using any cleaning product, it’s important to conduct a spot test on a small area first. This will help you determine whether the cleaning solution is safe to use and will not cause any problems or discoloration to the fabric.
  • Handling stubborn stains: For tougher stains, such as ink or grease, you may need to use a specialized leather cleaner or seek professional assistance.
  • Dealing with odors: If your jacket has an unpleasant odor, try using some baking soda inside and let it overnight. The baking soda should eliminate the odor, and you can simply shake it out the next day.
  • Removing wrinkles: To remove wrinkles from your leather jacket, hang it up and use a steam setting on your iron. Be sure to keep the iron at a safe distance and avoid direct contact with this fabric.
Hang the jacket up to keep the shape

Maintaining Your Leather Jacket

To keep your jacket looking its best, we highly recommend that you regularly clean and condition it. Please note that you should choose products specifically designed for this fabric and make sure to buy quality items. This will produce the best results, including helping to prevent dryness, cracking, and fading.

Besides, when not in use, store your jacket on a padded hanger in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Additionally, you should avoid folding or compressing this fabric as it can cause creases and damage to the material.


While washing a leather jacket in the machine is generally not recommended, it can be done in certain cases with extreme care and caution.

Always check the care label and follow the appropriate steps to avoid damaging your jacket. Alternatively, consider spot cleaning, professional cleaning, or regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. I hope that after reading this guide, you will be successful.


  1. Can I wash my suede jacket in the washing machine?

    No, suede is even more difficult to take care of than regular leather. Therefore, you should never be washed in a machine and have a special method to take care of it. For this fabric, you could use a suede brush or eraser to clean the surface or seek professional cleaning for more extensive soiling.

  2. Can I use regular laundry detergent on my leather jacket?

    No, regular laundry detergent can be too harsh for leather and may cause damage. Always use a gentle, pH-balanced detergent for cleaning your jacket.

  3. Can I dry my leather jacket in the dryer?

    No, using a dryer to dry your leather jacket can cause shrinkage, cracking, or other damage. Always air-dry it away from direct sunlight or heat sources.