How to Protect Leather Jackets

Updated February 16, 2017

Leather, fur and suede jackets all demand special care to protect these valuable garments. While suede and fur coats need a furrier or a professional dry cleaner to maintain the garments, you can protect your leather jackets at home year-round. If you want to add shine and clean your jacket before storage, you can treat the garment to replenish lost natural oils and lubricants. To keep leather supple and soft use expert tips to protect your wardrobe investment.

Remove dirt from your leather. Wipe the leather coat with a damp and clean sponge dipped in lukewarm water. Remove any water residue with a cloth diaper or old T-shirt. If any surface stains or dirt remain, mix 2 tbsp of liquid washing powder with 1 cup of cold or lukewarm water. Apply the sudsy mixture to the leather jacket with a sponge. Remove the soap residue with an old T-shirt dipped in lukewarm or cold water.

Cover any scuff marks with cream polish. For jackets made with smooth and finished leather, rub a cream polish into the leather coat. Use a shade of polish that is an exact match to the colouring of the leather coats. For lightly-coloured jackets, rub a neutral-coloured paste cream polish in to the leather, with a small piece of cheesecloth or a baby diaper.

Use a dry clean cloth to clean unfinished leather. If sponged with warm or cold water, untreated leather will spot. For stubborn stains or deep scuff marks, rub any visible marks gently with a small square of ultra-fine sandpaper.

Moisturise your leather jacket. To restore lost lubricants, treat the jacket with a commercial liquid leather cleaner.

Add gloss to your leather jacket with a leather cloth that is pre-moistened. To add additional shine rub a paste made with silicone or mink oil into the garment. Use a baby diaper or old cloth rag to apply these products to your leather coat. Buff your leather jacket with a clean dry cloth to generate additional shine.


If your leather jacket has a stubborn ink stain or strong odour, have a professional clean your coat. Stains and spills that remain your leather jackets may oxidise during storage, making odours and stains difficult to remove and clean. Good Housekeeping recommends, "To keep leather supple during storage, give it room to breathe in the closet like other natural materials." The use of animal fats and mink oil may darken leather jackets.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Lukewarm water
  • Old white cloths or T-shirts
  • Cloth baby diapers
  • Liquid washing powder
  • Cream polish
  • Cheesecloth
  • Ultra-fine sandpaper
  • Moistened leather cloth
  • Commercial liquid leather cleaning product
  • Silicone-based paste
  • Mink oil
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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.