Can You Wash Leather? Pros and Cons of Washing Leather

Can You Wash Leather? Pros and Cons of Washing Leather

We’ll address the questions of whether and how to clean leather with water in this post.

You just bought some leather, but it has some nasty stains on it. Are there any laws and regulations about this, can you wash leather? Or, could you just do as you please? Water can be used to clean leather because it is chemical-free and has the right pH for all types of leather.

Today, we’ll discuss some of the dos and don’ts related to washing leather as well as walk you through the steps of hand-washing leather in detail.

Can You Wash Leather?

Evidently not, at least not in the way that you might have imagined. Perhaps you have previously used soap and water to simply remove scuff marks and other blemishes from your leather jacket (or leather jackets, as the case may be).

According to research, prolonged use of soap and water can strip the leather of both its natural smoothness and, eventually, its entire color. In fact, it can also make the leather more permeable, i.e. can introduce a whole bunch of holes into the material that was not there previously.

Putting your leather clothing in the washing machine is another option. It would be a grave injustice to wash leather in a machine.

Yes, leather is a very strong material. They can last a very long time, with a patina that ages with you like a fine wine, in addition to being both cozy and useful. Nevertheless, machine washing is strictly prohibited, regardless of how resilient they may seem unless you want it to look like worn-in leather.

Everything made of leather that comes to mind off the top of your head qualifies, including leather duffel bags, clothing, and accessories. The secret to extending the lifespan of your favorite leather clothing item is to hold off on immediately using soap to remove all scuff marks. If you’re considering washing leather, be careful.

Can You Wash Leather? Pros and Cons of Washing Leather

How to Wash Leather?

We hope that we were able to convey to you that washing leather items is a serious matter. At the very least, a microfiber cloth, leather conditioner, and other leather cleaning supplies are required if you plan to do it yourself.

The key, however, is knowing when you are beyond your capabilities and, consequently, when to seek out expert assistance.

Machine Washing Your Leather Pants

Probably the simplest and most practical course of action in this situation is machine washing. It’s unfortunate that it’s also the harshest and most harmful method mentioned in this article.

But there are some precautions you can take to lessen any harm that machine washing might do to your leather pants. First, the mildest detergent that you can find is advised. Second, flip the inside of your leather pants.

Third, select the most gentle wash cycle on your washing machine. Three things are typically implied by a gentle wash cycle.

  • Using cold water
  • Having no or low spin cycles
  • Shorter overall wash time

We can reasonably anticipate that your leather pants won’t be harmed during the wash cycle if your washing machine can meet the aforementioned three requirements. Also, remember not to wash your leather pants with any other items.

Hand Washing Your Leather Pants

Although this option is time-consuming, it gives you complete control over how your leather pants are cleaned. Use cold water and mild detergent when possible, which is similar to the guidelines stated for a machine wash. While washing your leather pants, avoid overstretching and scrubbing them.

You can use a variety of leather cleaning products and solutions that are sold on the market for this. The one with natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals or additives is the best option.

Can You Wash Leather? Pros and Cons of Washing Leather

Professionally Washing Your Leather Pants

The probably safest but most expensive option is to hire a professional cleaner. This step is probably a bit excessive for your goals if you are not dealing with mold or difficult-to-remove stains.

Self-washing can end up being a very stressful process, so if you want to wash a very expensive, designer, or branded pair of leather pants that have significant meaning or value to you, you might want to think about going this route.

Please conduct your research and confirm that the professional cleaner you choose has the necessary knowledge to handle leather products if you decide to hire one.

Pros of Cleaning Leather With Water

Here is a complete list of advantages that you can enjoy when you clean your leather with water:

Leather Can Be Cleaned Without Using Chemicals With Water

You can’t use chemical cleaners all the time, so water is a great substitute for them when cleaning leather items. Use a cotton or towel that has been dampened to wipe the leather’s surface.

Over time, the chemicals in chemical cleaners, such as bleach, may interact with the tanning processes used to produce leather. Having knowledge of how to properly clean your leather with water and a fresh towel will help you avoid harming it.

Water will wash away dirt, grime, and debris from your leather while also keeping the leather grain moist, resulting in flexible, smooth, and luxurious-feeling leather after conditioning.

It’s Safe to Use on Any Type of Leather

Can You Wash Leather? Pros and Cons of Washing Leather

Water is a common method for cleaning leather. Any type of leather, including semi-finished, rough out/nap, and smooth-finished leather, can be cleaned with water.

All types of leather benefit from water’s neutral pH. Since it’s a neutral substance, your leather won’t be harmed in any way. You can therefore use water on even the most priceless and delicate leather products.

It’s a Low-Cost Leather Cleaner

As was already mentioned, water is a chemical-free method of cleaning leather, so you won’t need to spend a lot of money on it.

If you already have a worn-out piece of leather, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on new cleaners since all it needs is water. You can clean your entire piece of leather with just a few pieces of cloth.

Prior to cleaning your leather items, test them in a hidden location because some types of water may react with the tanning compounds in the leather and cause the color to fade.

Leather will smell fantastic after being cleaned with fresh water, a natural deodorizer. Additionally, it might leave your leather smelling clean and fresh and keep moisture in the grain, which is essential for keeping it supple and smooth.

Make Careful to Condition Your Leather After You’ve Cleaned It With Water

Apply a leather conditioner to restore the natural oils in your leather. The benefit of using water is that it doesn’t damage leather and doesn’t leave behind any chemical traces. The only thing to keep in mind is that some types of leather can react with water, fading the color.

Cleaning Leather With Water is An Eco-Friendly Option

Leather can be washed with water without the use of any chemicals, which makes it a sustainable choice. By moisturizing the leather’s grain, which is essential to keeping it smooth and supple, it will help to protect your leather goods.

Can You Wash Leather? Pros and Cons of Washing Leather

Cons of Cleaning Leather With Water

Here is a list of the disadvantages that cleaning your leather with water can cause:


For some types of leather, you don’t even need harsh chemicals. On the other hand, simply applying water can actually deteriorate the leather’s color. Therefore, if you clean a piece of colorful leather with water after purchasing it, the color of the leather will deteriorate.

Before cleaning your leather products with water, test the water in a discrete area to avoid this happening. It’s also important to keep in mind that leather that has been dyed may fade if exposed to water. Because of this, you should use caution when using water to clean items made of colored leather because it could be dangerous.

Mold May Grow on Leather If It is Exposed to Water

Cleaning leather with water also runs the risk of causing mold growth on your item. Mold in the water and improperly dried leather after cleaning are to blame for this.

It is common knowledge that some water contains mold and mildew, which, if your leather comes into contact with it, can result in mold growth. Due to the lack of contaminants in distilled water that could encourage the growth of mold on the surface of your leather products, the majority of experts only advise using it to clean leather products.

Final Words: Wash Leather

You can begin the general washing procedure once your leather pants are stain-free. You must take into consideration the washing instructions specific to each product as your top priority. Please check the label on your leather pants to see if the manufacturer has provided any instructions.

Remember to follow all of the instructions calmly so that you can still get the desired results even if you wash the leather in a washing machine.


Can You Soak Leather in Water?

Just give your leather a quick soak. To speed things up, you can work the water into the leather with your hands by rubbing the backside of the leather. Normally, I’d soak the leather pieces for around 30 minutes before using them.

Does Leather Get Ruined When Wet?

Leather that has been wet actually experiences its biggest issue during the drying process. Leather binds to water molecules when it is wet because of its natural oils. Oils are drawn out with the drying and evaporation of the water. The leather becomes brittle and less supple as a result of losing its natural oils.

Does Leather Last in Water?

Real leather is porous and because of that, it cannot be 100% waterproof. Consider leather instead as water-resistant. However, this isn’t the same as submerging leather. Your shoes or handbag will hold up well if you step into the rain to quickly get to your car.

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