How to Wash Leather at Home?

Last Updated on November 15, 2022

How to wash leather at home? Leather is a popular material for tailoring, though not the most common. It has its fans. Many people love to sew leather cover for furniture, and young people often choose leather clothes. 

No matter what it is: a leather jacket, gloves, a leather-covered sofa, they all need care. Therefore, leather lovers periodically consider whether it is possible to wash the leather at home.

How to Wash Leather at Home?

Leather is a specific material, so caring for it requires certain knowledge. And to not grieve at your favorite sofa, on which there are traces of dirt or stains, you need to understand how to clean the leather at home. 

How to Wash Leather at Home

Gloves, jackets, and leather pants are everyday clothes for the cold season that require constant care. Things will always look neat if you clean a leather product at home.

Manufacturers of leather products recommend cleaning them in dry cleaners. But only some districts have such establishments, and many do not trust them. Leather products are easy to spoil if you violate the rules for cleaning them at least once. 

In the article, we will talk about the three main ways of washing at home: manual, using automatic machine, and dry washing, and we will also analyze what folk remedies will help keep a light leather product in excellent condition.

Can You Wash Leather at Home Manually?

If you properly clean the leather thing by hand, you can remove all existing dirt from it. This type of washing is considered delicate and is best suited for leather items. 

Wash Leather at Home

And some products made of thin leather can only be washed by hand. It will require minimal water consumption. Using a basin with a bottom of the largest diameter is better. The washing process itself is as follows.

You will need the following:

  • Mix liquid soap or a special liquid detergent (without bleaches and dyes) in a bowl of water at room temperature;
  • Pre-soak the thing for no more than 10 minutes. With prolonged soaking, the skin may swell;
  • Put the product in the basin as straightened as possible, without a single crease;
  • With a soft brush (or better with a sponge), gently rub the places of severe contamination;
  • The lining fabric must be intensively rubbed with your hands;
  • Rinse thoroughly in cold water (if available, you can add a little glycerin to maintain shine);
  • Shake the leather product well.

It is better to dry the thing on a hanger in a well-ventilated area, away from heating appliances. When the skin is dehydrated, inspect the product for scratches and cracks. 

Treating the material with liquid leather is better if you notice any of them. You can buy this tool at a leather goods store. Liquid leather will help keep your outfit’s attractive appearance for a long time.

It is worth considering separately the process of washing such a popular product as leather gloves. In winter, it is an indispensable everyday wardrobe item that often needs to be cleaned. Gloves should be washed by hand. 

At the same time, they should be put on their hands and rubbed against each other in a soapy water solution. Then rinse several times, and add glycerin to the final rinse.

Can You Wash Leather in Washing Machine?

Modern man is already accustomed to washing all things in a machine. But to avoid spoiling the leather item, you must definitely check the washing methods available on the label. 

Wash Leather at Home

In most cases, the manufacturer permits machine washing of leather products. But even if this is acceptable for your product, you still need to follow some rules.

Remember to prepare the product for machine washing. If there are pockets, check the contents and empty them. 

It would be best if you fastened all existing zippers and the item turned inside out. If there are sleeves, fold the product on top and roll the thing up. It is advisable to place this roll in a laundry bag or a cotton pillowcase.

You must set the automatic machine mode to delicate washing – the procedure duration is no more than 40-50 minutes at a water temperature of 30-40 degrees. Pour liquid detergent diluted with water into the powder compartment. If there is none, liquid soap will do. Set the spin mode to 0. It is strongly prohibited to wring out leather products.

After the machine wash process ends, remove the item from the bag, shake it well, and hang it on a hanger that matches the item’s size. Dry things to complete the water flow in the bathroom, then place them in a room with sufficient ventilation.

Dry-cleaning of leather items

In leather care, there is such a thing as dry cleaning of leather items: it can be used not only for leather jackets, skirts, trousers, and gloves but also for more oversized items – sofas, armchairs, and car seats. 

Wash Leather at Home

Dry-washing involves cleaning from dirt with the help of special cleaners for leather, liquid non-aggressive solvents, and soap. This method is considered more gentle because it does not require water, which washes away the protective layers of the leather.

Dry cleaning comes at the very beginning when we involve in the cleaning process of leather items. Especially if there is a small stain or grease, it is first necessary to dry clean. If the expected result does not come after this washing stage, you can move on to the next.

For example, in jackets, the most vulnerable area is the collar. After dampening a piece of cloth with liquid soap or detergent, gently wipe the stained area. Then, with a clean, slightly damp cloth, remove the soap and treat the area with a cloth with glycerin. With such care, the item will stay in its original appearance for a long time. As practice shows, this method helps clean even the hardest stains.

Unusual Feature of Clearing Bright Leather

Leather clothes are often dark colors – black, brown, and red. However, there are also models in bright colors. Light colors are often seen among interior items – leather sofas, armchairs, and car seats. Caring for leather requires extraordinary effort. So, spots of any origin and dust are visible in the light more clearly, which causes inconvenience.

Experts recommend using egg white and milk mixtures and cleaning leather with soapy solutions. This mixture helps quickly whiten leather, remove dust and dirt, and create an invisible protective film on things or furniture from subsequent pollution.

Light leather can be cleansed at home with products that are not suitable for dark skin colors. For example, it is allowed to use lemon juice, ammonia, and baking soda for cleaning. Spots of greenery, even old ones, can be removed from a light-colored sofa with a cloth soaked in ammonia. If ammonia is not at hand, moisten a rag with vinegar.

Baking soda is an excellent remedy if you find a spot of unknown origin or an oily area on fine leather.

To clean a leather product:

  • Mix a paste of baking soda with water.
  • Apply the mixture to the stain using a soft brush and rub lightly.
  • Wipe off the residue using a soft cloth.

Tips and Recommendations

Following the recommendations for leather, care is essential to keep your leather products in their original condition. Washing such items is different from washing everyday items of various fabrics.

Therefore, there are some general nuances for cleaning leather products:

1. Washing Powder

To clean the leather from dirt at home, you cannot use ordinary loose washing powder. Leather products of any kind will not tolerate cleaning with such a tool. The presence of bleaching and coloring substances in washing (even liquid) powder is also unacceptable for leather care.

2. Wet Wipes

They are also not advisable to use to remove dirt from the leather. They are always at hand, but the substances contained in them can spoil the appearance of a leather product over time.

Leather products prefer to stay in the water for a short time. During the wash, it is necessary to remember that you cannot soak leather products for a long time. When choosing a machine wash mode, you must select a mode with a minimum washing time. Regularly shaking off the washed thing is crucial, thus freeing it from excess moisture.

3. Softening Washed Leather 

If, after washing, the thing has become rougher, it can be softened at home. To do this, treat the product’s surface with petroleum jelly, castor oil, or baby cream. It is enough to apply a small amount of the product on a napkin (without lint) and rub in a circular motion, leave the thing for 1-1.5 hours to absorb, then remove the remnants of the product with a clean napkin.


Following these simple leather care tips can save your leather clothing and furniture. After all, the leather itself is durable, but at the same time, it quickly gets damaged by water. You can find a good dry cleaner in big cities and close this issue. But, as practice shows, washing at home often gives the same result (and sometimes even better) as dry cleaning, which is much cheaper.

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