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A pair of legs wearing clean white plimsolls, sitting on the grass.

How to Clean Leather Shoes & Jackets

Although many people assume that leather cleaning is best left to the professionals, it’s easier than you might think to achieve great results at a fraction of the price. This article explains how to clean leather so you can ensure your child’s school shoes and your best leather items shine all year round.  


How to Clean Leather Shoes

Scuff marks, age spots, and dirt can prematurely age your leather shoes; the good news is these types of stain are easily removed with common household cleaning products. Try the following methods to keep your leather shoes looking as good as new:

  • A simple solution of water and mild soap can work wonders. Gently blot the surface of the leather using a soft cloth and leave to dry. Always test a small area of the surface first before covering the whole shoe.
  • Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove especially deep-rooted stains. Dip a cotton cloth into the rubbing alcohol and apply sparingly to the soiled areas.

Tip: Exposing your shoes to direct sunlight after cleaning can result in discolouration. Dry indoors (even if it means waiting a little longer). You can also use a hairdryer to speed up the process.  


How to Clean Leather – Natural Alternatives

Raiding your cupboards can unearth a whole array of natural products that are ideal for removing salt stains, scuffs and general grime from leather shoes or jackets – though it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions prior to tackling any stain. Try this quick and easy solution for powerful results:

  • Mix linseed oil and white vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Apply to each shoe from a distance of 15-30cm
  • Leave overnight to allow the solution to permeate the dirt
  • Rub with a dry cloth to remove debris for a brilliant finish.


How to Clean a Leather Jacket

It’s similarly straightforward to clean a leather jacket from the comfort of your own home. What’s more, you’ll save money on professional cleaning bills and still have a stylish looking jacket! Before taking on the dirt in question, follow these steps:

  • Check the label for any specific care instructions
  • Dampen a soft cloth and run over the surface of the jacket – don’t worry if deep stains don’t budge at this point; the aim here is simply to shift visible debris.


How to Wash a Leather Jacket

Now you’re ready to begin washing – NB. Leather jackets should typically be cleaned no more than once a year to maintain the softness of the leather.

  • Fill a bucket with a solution of warm water and mild solution of Surf excel liquid detergent. Use a sponge to gently wipe the outside of the coat
  • Rinse away the detergent by going over the jacket with a dry sponge
  • Condition the leather with a professional leather conditioner to preserve the quality of the material and prevent it from drying out.

Tip: After cleaning your jacket, hang it up to dry to stop wrinkles from cramping your style! What about cleaning other materials? Check out our stain removal section for tips.