Leather care: Can you wash leather?

Lederpflege: Darf man Leder waschen?

Are you wondering if you can wash leather? One thing is clear: whether it's your beloved leather jacket or other leather clothing, the right approach and subsequent care is essential. In the following article, you'll learn everything you need to know about washing real leather and imitation leather.

Can you wash leather in the washing machine?

Let's start with one of the most frequently asked questions and clarify whether you can wash natural leather in the washing machine. The short answer is: probably not. This is because this measure is too aggressive for most types of leather and can damage the material .

Robust natural leather is more suitable for washing in the machine than thin leather , which you should wash by hand. Fine suede jackets in particular are not suitable for machine washing. Cleaning should always be left to a professional. So think carefully before cleaning your leather jacket in the washing machine, as this always involves a risk, even with robust smooth leather.

Black smooth leather closeup

Image source: Pixabay

If you still decide to machine wash, there are a few things you should keep in mind. High temperatures or the use of unsuitable cleaning agents can damage your leather and the seams . There is a risk of color loss, especially with leather jackets that are not completely dyed.

When it comes to temperature, less is more. To clean the jacket without damaging the material, temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius are usually sufficient . Also avoid long washing times, as the material will otherwise absorb too much moisture, which can lead to permanent damage.

In addition, you should not use aggressive cleaning agents or hard brushes to remove stubborn stains or dirt. These can attack the protective layer of the leather and significantly shorten the lifespan of your favorite jacket. In such cases, we recommend that you use a natural leather cleaner or take your dirty item of clothing to a professional dry cleaner. But how do you wash a leather jacket and what do you have to pay attention to?

Washing genuine leather jackets: step-by-step instructions

Washing a jacket made of genuine leather requires special care . Before you start, we recommend that you check the care label to make sure you haven't overlooked any special cleaning instructions from the manufacturer. The fact is: Ideally, you should always take your jacket to a professional cleaner or treat the leather surface with a natural leather cleaner and a damp cloth . If you still decide to wash it at home, only robust types of leather should be completely wetted with water. This is a no-go for thin leather or suede! The following step-by-step instructions will help you do this:

Materials: You should get these things in advance and have them ready

  • A mild, natural-based leather cleaner.
  • A large tub or sink.
  • Cold to lukewarm water (maximum 30 degrees Celsius).

Washing leather: step-by-step instructions

Step 1: Empty all pockets and hang the jacket to air it out.

Step 2: Do a spot test on an inconspicuous area to make sure there is no discoloration.

Step 3: Fill the tub or sink with cold or lukewarm water and add some leather cleaner.

Step 4: Immerse the jacket completely in the water and begin to clean it carefully using the soft cloth or sponge. We recommend that you focus on the areas that are the most dirty .

Step 5: Once all dirt has been removed, remove the jacket from the water and rinse the garment with cold, clean water until no more foam is visible.

Step 6: Gently squeeze the excess water out of the jacket without wringing the material.

Step 7: To dry, hang your jacket on a hanger and let it air dry . Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources such as a heater. This will prevent the material from fading and drying out. To keep your jacket in shape, we recommend stuffing the sleeves and the rest of the garment with clean towels .

Emma Grün Tip: Leather jackets are often the heart of the wardrobe. On top of that, their care requires special attention. Because washing is a stressful affair for natural leather, your favorite piece needs more nourishing care than usual after washing . But which products provide your leather with everything it needs, and which should you avoid for the love of your favorite clothes?

Caring for leather: These products nourish to perfection & protect against external influences

Caring for leather items is an important aspect of maintaining their lifespan and aesthetics. Natural leather care balms are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some of the benefits that speak in favor of using them:

  • Environmentally friendly: Natural leather care products are made from biodegradable ingredients that have a much lower impact on the environment than synthetic substances that are often found in conventional products. In addition, sustainable products are sold in recyclable packaging , which further reduces the ecological footprint .
  • Gentle cleaning: Natural leather cleaners and leather care products contain vegetable surfactants , waxes and oils that gently clean and nourish the material without clogging the pores of the leather or drying it out. This keeps your leather products soft and supple and enchants with their natural look.
  • No harmful side effects: Synthetic leather care products can contain solvents and harsh chemicals that can harm not only the environment but also the skin. Natural products, on the other hand, are hypoallergenic and therefore suitable for people with sensitive skin.
  • Nutrient-rich: Natural leather care products contain many vitamins and essential fatty acids that nourish the leather and extend its lifespan. This can help the material retain its color and structure for longer .

Leather Care Balm by Emma Green, yellow sponge

  • Versatility: Natural leather care balms can be used for different types of leather. Whether you want to pamper your furnishings or your car leather seats made of calf leather or more robust cowhide with rich care: you can't go wrong with a natural leather care balm and you don't have to worry about damaging the material.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Although natural products may be more expensive upfront, they are more concentrated while also being more long-lasting than their synthetic counterparts , making them cost-effective in the long run.

The fact is: Using a natural leather care balm is an excellent way to preserve the beauty of your leather items and at the same time make a positive contribution to protecting the environment.

Can artificial leather be washed?

Artificial leather differs significantly from real leather in terms of its properties and care. In many cases , artificial leather is actually easier to clean and less sensitive to water .

However, there are a few things you should keep in mind. We would therefore like to give you helpful answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Can faux leather be washed in the washing machine?

Some artificial leather products are machine washable. However, this should always be done on a gentle or delicate cycle and at a low temperature (not above 30 degrees Celsius) .

Metal washing machine drum

Image source: Pixabay

In addition, pay attention to the care instructions on the product label. If the information is not available, it is better to be cautious and wash the faux leather by hand or have it professionally cleaned.

Which cleaning agents can be used?

For artificial leather , mild cleaning agents without bleach or harsh chemicals should be used. Sometimes warm water and a soft cloth are enough to remove dirt.

How do I dry a faux leather product?

After washing, artificial leather should be dried in the air and away from direct heat sources such as sunlight or radiators . Direct heat can damage or deform the material.

Can faux leather be ironed?

Ironing faux leather is generally not recommended as the heat can melt or deform the material. If necessary, you can try to remove wrinkles by gently airing it out.

What care does artificial leather need?

Just like real leather, artificial leather needs care in the form of moisturizing care products. It is important to avoid aggressive cleaners and synthetic products.

With natural leather care products such as the leather balm from Emma Grün, you can nourish your artificial leather to perfection and also protect it from external influences. A perfect side effect: Due to the economical use, you save money and, thanks to the biodegradable ingredients, you make a positive contribution to a healthy environment .


Washing leather requires care and attention. While the washing machine is not an option for most leather products, there are effective ways to clean your leather clothing and keep it looking like new. This includes cleaning it with a sustainable leather cleaner and then treating it with a natural leather balm that will nourish your favorite pieces with nourishing home remedies like lanolin and beeswax.

FAQ: Questions & Answers

Can I wash my leather jacket in the washing machine?

In general, it is not advisable to wash leather in the washing machine. The mechanical impact and water can damage the material. For high-quality or sensitive types of leather such as suede, machine washing is an absolute no-no.

Which cleaning products are suitable for leather?

Mild leather cleaners are great for cleaning leather. However, aggressive cleaners such as bleach or harsh soaps can damage the leather.

At what temperature should leather be washed?

To minimize the risk of damage, the water temperature should not be higher than 30 degrees Celsius. Cold water is often sufficient to remove dust and light dirt.

What happens if I wash my leather jacket too hot?

Temperatures that are too high can damage the leather, making it cracked and brittle. The jacket can also become deformed or shrink.

How do I dry my leather jacket after washing?

The best method is air drying. Hang the jacket on a hanger and let it dry in a shady spot, away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.


1. Can you wash leather or not? – www.bluuwash.com/blogs/news-1/darfst-du-leder-waschen-oder-nicht

2. Can I put my leather jacket in the washing machine? – https://lederjacken24.de/lederjackenn-blog/darf-meine-lederjacke-in-die-waschmaschine/

3. Cleaning a leather jacket – www.mybrands.de/guides/lederjacke-reinigen/

4. How to clean leather properly – www.katschis.at/so-reinigt-man-leder-richtig/

5. Washing leather in the machine – www.mr-shoe-shine.com/tipps-und-tricks/leder-waschen