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How to clean sweat from a leather jacket

Updated April 17, 2017

A leather jacket cannot be cleaned in a washer and dryer like cotton or other fabric types of clothing. Attempting to wash a leather jacket in submerged water can fade the colouring, damage the material and cause it to lose its proper shape or become brittle. Sweat stains are a common nuisance that occurs around the edges of collars and arm cuffs on leather materials. Sweat stains generally appear as greasy blotches on leather. Removing sweat stains requires delicate care so that the fragile material is not damaged. By utilising the proper methods, anyone can clean sweat stains from a leather jacket.

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  1. Locate the care tag inside the leather jacket. The tag should be found near the back of the inside of the jacket or near the back collar. If you cannot find the tag in these spots, then look for it near seams inside the jacket. Read the care instructions and follow them with care to prevent ruining the leather.

  2. Fill a small bowl up with lukewarm water. Take a wash cloth and submerge it into water. Wring out the cloth until it is only damp to the touch.

  3. Test a small area in an inconspicuous area to determine if damage will occur before use on the entire jacket.

  4. Gently wipe the entire outside of the leather jacket.

  5. Apply leather cleaner to all sweat stains on the jacket per the bottle instructions. Use a soft towel to prevent damaging the leather surface of the jacket.

  6. Gently wipe all sweat stains with the cloth.

  7. Use another clean terry cloth to gently buff the entire jacket to help prevent water spots. Gently wipe back and forth over the entire outside of the leather jacket.

  8. Hang up the jacket to prevent mildew from forming due to being damp. Hang the leather jacket up in open area and away from other clothing or other objects.

  9. Tip

    Have the leather jacket professionally cleaned by a dry cleaner if you cannot completely remove all sweat stains or if the clothing is very valuable. A leather item is very difficult to repair and be costly to restore. Consider purchasing a leather repellent spray that is designed for sealing the material from a leather expert or speciality store to help protect the jacket in the future.


    Avoid using rough textured cloths to remove sweat stains on your leather jacket. Rough textured cloths will damage the surface of the leather.

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Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl
  • Washcloth
  • Leather cleaner
  • Terry towels
  • Hanger

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Jayme Lee has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles have appeared for various online publishers and through private clients. She dual-majored in social studies education and business administration with a minor in history at the University of Pittsburgh and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

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