How to Clean a Leather Coat/Jacket

leatherjacket

Paige asked: How do I clean the inside of a leather coat to make it smell fresh? My coat has a silky inside. I want to get a smoke smell out of my leather coat.

Leather coats and jackets provide a beautiful way to keep warm during the cold winter months. Fortunately, keeping them looking their best is not difficult and doesn’t have to consume your time. It can be done by a professional or completed right at home. Here’s how to keep your leather jacket looking its best all season long.

Cleaning the Outside of the Leather Coat/Jacket

You Will Need:

Steps to Clean the Jacket:

  1. Leather jackets should only cleaned when needed. A jacket with typical wear only needs to be cleaned once a year.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild soap or detergent.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Moisten the sponge or soft cloth with the soapy water.
  5. Gently wipe it over the surface of the jacket. Do not scrub the coat.
  6. To rinse, moisten a sponge or soft cloth with plain water and wipe the entire coat to remove any soap residue.
  7. Wipe or blot the coat with a dry sponge or cloth to remove any excess moisture.
  8. Hang the coat to dry.
  9. Once dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and flexible. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
  10. Once dry, the coat is ready to be worn or stored until the following year.

How to Clean the Liner

You Will Need:

  • Vacuum
  • Febreeze or other freshening spray
  • Bucket
  • Warm water
  • Laundry soap
  • Sponges
  • Soft cloths
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)

Steps to Clean the Liner:

  1. Begin by vacuuming the liner. Use the attachments and gently vacuum the interior of the coat. It is easiest to do while the coat is hanging or laying spread out on the floor. This will remove any dust or dirt that is lingering as well as odors, such as smoke.
  2. Next, examine the liner to assess how badly it needs cleaned. If the vacuuming remove the dirt and it looks alright, either allow it to air out or spray it with a light mist of a freshening spray, such as Febreeze.
  3. If there are still strong odors present, or you want a more thorough cleaning, proceed with a light washing use the following steps.
  4. Fill a bucket with warm water.
  5. Add a small amount of laundry detergent. If fighting odors, a small amount of baking soda OR a half a cup of vinegar can be added to the water as well. (Do not add both or they will neutralize each other.)
  6. Agitate the water to mix the laundry detergent well. When you begin to see suds forming you know that it is well mixed.
  7. Dip a sponge in the soapy water and wring it out well. You want to clean the interior, but not saturate it or it could affect the look of the leather on the other side.
  8. Wipe the liner with the damp sponge.
  9. Follow with a dry sponge or dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.
  10. Work in small sections until the entire liner is clean.
  11. Rinse by wiping over the liner with a fresh sponge moistened with plain water.
  12. Follow again with a dry sponge or cloth.
  13. Hang the coat in an open area and allow it to dry completely before storing.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Always hang your leather jacket to keep creases from forming in the leather. If creases have already formed, lay a thick piece of paper over the jacket and press the crease out with a warm iron. It can also be hung in the bathroom during a hot shower. The steam will help remove the wrinkles.
  • There are sprays to keep coats from becoming stained or damaged by water, etc. They are readily available at Wal-Mart stores or the like. Leather stores also carry lines of products to maintain leather goods.
  • If you are unsure about cleaning your coat yourself, have it professionally cleaned once a year by a cleaner who is experienced with leather products.
  • For additional methods to remove smoke smell, see our guide How to Remove Cigarette Smell from Leather.

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