How To Wash Your Motorcycle Jacket: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Your motorcycle jacket is an invaluable protective piece. It requires cleaning and maintenance for it to last for a long time.

Washing your motorcycle jacket is not as simple as throwing it into a washing machine. The dirt comes from the accumulation of dust, sweat, and other particles on the road. The way you clean your motorcycle jacket depends on the care instruction on the tag. Since most motorcycle jackets are made of leather or textile, the best way to clean them is to wipe the surface clean or through dry cleaning. Some can be hand-washed and scrubbed carefully.

As aforementioned, there are two main types of motorcycle jackets available on the market: leather and textile. The way you clean them highly depends on the material of the jacket.

How To Clean Leather Motorcycle Jackets

Leather motorcycle jackets are the more expensive options because the material is harder to source. It is a great pick because of its durability and broken-in feel.

Clean The Interior

Take out any paddings or linings, if there are any. These paddings can be washed by gently massaging in a mixture of baby shampoo and warm water. The gentle cleaning solution minimizes any damaging effect.

Some leather motorcycle jackets don’t have linings or paddings. If that’s the case, just skip the this step and air out the jacket. Most modern leather jackets are lined with a moisture-wicking and anti-microbial liner. That means it is relatively clean and a few spritzes of your favorite antibacterial solution will do the trick.

For more serious odor cases, use a de-salter. Apply a generous amount on the inner surface of the jacket, particularly on the areas that are constantly exposed to sweat. The de-salter will eliminate any traces of sweat and oil from your jacket.

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Clean The Exterior

Let’s move on to cleaning the outside of your leather motorcycle jacket. The first step is to take premium quality leather cleaner. Make sure to get something without silicone and waxes as those materials tend to make your leather feel dried out. Animal-based products can also cause stains and colorations so avoid those, if possible.

Follow the application instructions of the leather cleaner. Use a terrycloth rag to lather it over the leather. Apply the cleaner sparingly. Use the rug to moderate the amount of cleaner instead of directly pouring the cleaner to the jacket.

Start the application at the front of your jacket and then work your way up the arms and the back. Watch the dirt buildup in the rag. Replace it if necessary. You don’t need to use the leather cleaner every time your jacket looks dirty. Baby wipes and other wipes with a gentle solution work well on normal days.

Let your jacket dry and then you can use it again. To boost the jacket’s performance and longevity, you can add a conditioning mixture to reinvigorate your jacket. It’s exposed to harsh conditions like the glaring sun and the wind so conditioning mixtures will close up its pores and delay the aging. Leather conditioner is usually made of essential oils that will rejuvenate your leather jacket.

How To Wash Textile Motorcycle Jacket

This is the most common and more affordable type of motorcycle jacket.

Spot Cleaning

This step is for the serious spots and stains that need extra attention. You can take a damp towel and then carefully rub over a stained spot. You can also use a toothbrush and a soap and water mixture to gently scrub away any stains. Make sure to use the toothbrush sparingly and only when necessary. It’s also advisable to go for one with soft bristles.

Spot cleaning is great for bug guts. You should perform it before the bug guts fully harden or get absorbed into the jacket. The immediate response prevents permanent staining.


The way you wash your textile jacket depends on the care instructions. Make sure to check the tag before you pop the jacket into a washing machine. It’s advisable to hand-wash a textile motorcycle jacket to minimize damage. Hand-washing is gentler on the fabric.

The only issue with using a machine washer is that the twisting motions can strain and tear the textile jacket. If your washing machine comes with a front-loading HE (high efficiency) with a hand wash cycle option, go for it.

Hang And Dry

Do not wring your jacket to squeeze out the water. This twisting motion will damage its surface which can affect the waterproof capability. It’s better to hang it up and let it drip until dry. Make sure to hang it up in a place with sufficient airflow so that it can reach full dryness. You can also point a fan at it to speed things up.

Once dried, some of the areas on the jacket may come off as wrinkly while others will be smooth. You can iron your textile motorcycle jacket provided that you stay within the recommended temperature limits based on the tag. Going above and beyond can damage the waterproof membrane on the jacket’s surface. You can also burn it, so be careful.

man sitting on motorcycle

Functions Of Motorcycle Jackets

Motorcycle jackets serve more purpose than just making you look cool and badass as you ride your bike. There are different functions that are served by wearing them. They also come in different styles to cater to different motorcycle riding habits.

Protective Gear

Being on a motorcycle is a unique riding experience because you don’t have any cover, at all. Speeding along the road will expose your arms to the harsh wind so it can cause abrasions and discomfort.

A motorcycle jacket protects your arms and torso from the harsh impact of the wind. It’s also great for keeping you warm, especially if you are cruising during cold weather.

Improved Visibility

Most motorcycle jackets come with bright colors or reflective surfaces to improve the visibility of the rider on the road. Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous and if it collides with another vehicle, it is guaranteed that the motorcycle will be the recipient of the more serious damage.

A motorcycle jacket prevents these types of road accidents by making the rider more visible to the eyes of other drivers on the road. They can steer clear of the motorcycle rider accordingly.


Motorcycle jackets are often equipped with padding to cushion the rider in case of an impact. These will soften the impact and minimize the severity of injuries. A motorcycle jacket is best paired with protective pants.