Can you steam clean a leather jacket?

Image showing a leather bomber jacket.

Yes, you can steam clean a leather jacket. In fact, this can be a good way to limit the amount of water it soaks during the cleaning process. Since leather doesn’t tolerate moisture very well, using a steam cleaner may be a perfect solution for chemical-free washing.

Steam cleaning can help you remove stains, destroys germs, and kill germs, or even dust mites. What’s more, high temperatures can also be useful when removing mold.

That being said, it also comes with risks which we will cover in detail, in the latter part of the article. You need to know, that steam cleaning with the wrong settings or low-quality steam cleaner may lead to drying, cracking, or even dry rotting in the future.

If you want to learn more about steam cleaning leather, we highly recommend checking out our thorough article on this topic – can you steam clean leather?

Risks of steam cleaning leather clothing

Before we give you any actionable tips, we need to talk about the potential risks that come with steam cleaning leather. First of all, steam cleaning leather clothes may lead to drying, as water particles bound with essential oils in the leather pores. Those are brought out from the fabric, leaving leather fibers dry and potent to damage.

What’s more, the same process can take place without steam cleaning leather, as natural oils from our body substitute moisture from the steam cleaner. This draws the conclusion, that despite the cleaning method you choose, moisturizing and conditioning are a vital part of maintaining leather items.

Unconditioned leather surface will eventually start to crack or even shrink. If you do not want to aggravate the issues, stray from cleaning damaged spots with water. Steaming leather in this case will only make the cracks bigger.

Dry rotting can be caused by leaving your leather garments in direct sunlight, or on a heater. Leather products should be dried gradually, we always recommend leaving them on a clothes hanger in shade.

A side note: Many things depend on the type of your leather. Faux leather items will usually tolerate more as opposed to genuine leather items.

How to steam clean a leather jacket?

Fortunately, leather jackets are not hard to steam clean. All you need is a soft cloth wrapped around the steam cleaner’s attachment. We recommend a soft brush attachment since it will not scratch the fabric of your leather item. Set your heat setting to the lowest possible and begin running steam cleaner on your jacket. The brush should touch leather fabric for the least amount of time possible, and any excess moisture should be wiped immediately.

If there are any stubborn stains, you can add a few drops of leather cleaner to those areas. Alternatively, you can create one using white vinegar and water mixed in 1:1 proportions.

After steam cleaning don’t forget to add one of the many leather conditioners available on the market. Stray away from using harsh chemicals, we recommend using linseed oil after testing it on an unconscious place first. Be careful tho, the oil can leave marks if you touch the leather material before it dries.

You can also use hot steam to remove wrinkles from any leather product. To remove creases, hang your leather item on a hanger, and create some steam. This can be done both by steam cleaning and taking a hot shower.

Keep in mind, that steam cleaning leather furniture should not be done too often. If we are talking about steam cleaning smaller leather items like garments, this frequency should be even lower.

Steam cleaning other leather garments

Steam cleaning leather clothing is possible, provided it’s done properly. Most of the time it’s actually safer than throwing it inside the washing machine and hoping the fabric doesn’t shrink. Hot water that soaks the fabric in the washing machine can completely ruin your clothing. That being said, you can’t steam clean with too hot a steam temperature or use any chemical cleaners, otherwise, similar damage can be done.

The situation looks different when we talk about big household items, such as leather sofas, leather chairs, or even car interiors. Each one of those can withstand much more, mainly due to the thickness of the leather. A faux leather jacket will also hold up much better with high water temperatures.

If you want to know more on this topic, we highly recommend checking out our article – “can you steam clean leather boots?”.


How do you rejuvenate an old leather jacket?

To rejuvenate old leather items, we recommend thorough cleaning with proper conditioning. Remove any dirt particles from the material, and moisturize it with linseed oil. Besides regular care, you can also use balm for restoring the original color of your garment.

How do you clean a leather jacket from a thrift store?

Start by applying a thin layer of leather conditioner all around your jacket. When it dries, give your leather item a quick wash with a damp cloth (use distilled water, since natural water minerals can damage the fabric), or use saddle soap if it needs some serious cleaning. To restore its original color, you can use leather balm.

Side note: remove fresh stains by gently bloating them with a clean towel, and remove them with dish soap if leather cleaners are unavailable.

How do you clean and deodorize a leather jacket?

To clean your jacket, you should use either a steam cleaner with a clean cloth or a damp cloth with distilled water. For the most stubborn stains, you can utilize leather cleaner or saddle soap. In the worst-case scenario, standard dish soap can also be used in this process.

Will washing a leather jacket ruin it?

Simply throwing your jacket inside a washing machine is not a good idea. Washing machines completely soak any material during the cleaning process, and in the case of leather goods, this may lead to completely ruining them.