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How To Wash A Motorcycle Jacket

17th Feb 2020

How To Wash A Motorcycle Jacket

How To Wash A Motorcycle Jacket

What do you do when your favourite motorcycle jacket gets too dirty or takes on a smell of its own?

Gear gets dirty—bugs and grime gunk up the exterior, while your sweat funks up the linings. A moist cloth is great for spot cleaning—and the only safe way to clean leather motorcycle jackets—but when it's time for deep cleaning, it's time for immersion in soap and water at home or at the laundromat.

If you need to wash your stinky leather motorcycle gear, we recommend using some microfiber cloths along with warm water. For the exterior, make sure to condition the leather after cleaning. We use a textile motorcycle jacket in this example, but the process is the same for other motorcycle gear, such as helmets, pants, gloves, and boots. 

Step 1: Check the Washing Instructions

Before you think of washing your motorcycle jacket, make sure to check that little tag sewn to the inside of your gear. Manufacturers will break down the best way to wash, treat, and dry your article of clothing. Follow the instructions and you’ll keep your gear clean and in great shape in case of a crash—or don’t and risk destroying it.

Step 2: Empty The Pockets

Remove any armour from the shoulders, elbows, and back of your jacket, and remove any interior liners. Mark similar-looking pads so they go back where they came from. Check your pockets for earplugs and other items, and then zip them closed. If you can turn the jacket, or pants inside out, do so after you pre-treat any exterior stains. Make sure to close the main zipper and all sleeve and cuff zippers.

Step 3: Pre-treat The Exterior

If you live in a buggy region or do a lot of off-road riding, your gear may need a little extra attention before the big wash. Pre-treat especially dirty areas with a brush and diluted detergent. If you are washing a leather motorcycle jacket or pants, skip the brush and wash the exterior with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to turn your jacket or pants inside out before continuing to the wash.

Step 4: Hand Wash Or Machine Wash

Hand washing your gear is the safest option, but a front-loading washing machine—on gentle—will work for textile gear; your leather motorcycle jacket will have to be washed by hand. Why such care for an ostensibly tough piece of apparel? While the jacket’s chassis can take a thrashing, the fabric’s exterior coatings and interior laminations can be fairly delicate. Most laundromats have industrial-size front-loading washers that are perfect for the job.


Detergents often contain solvents and abrasives that can damage your textile riding gear. Instead, use a neutral soap. The soap packaging may display a pH rating from 1 to 14. Lower numbers are acidic and higher numbers are alkaline. Chose something around 7.

Never use fabric softener as it gums up the spaces between fibres. Certain detergents and softeners can also affect the stretch properties of elastic, making your gear fit more loosely.

In fact, any chemicals could damage your gear, so don’t use bleach nor have your gear dry cleaned which uses solvent instead of water. 


Step 5: Keep It Waterproof

Over time the water-repellent coating that's applied to the exterior of many textile jackets will wear off. Adding a waterproofing solution or spray will restore your jacket's water-beading ability, we recommend Muc Off Fabric Protect. Refer to the instructions on the bottle.

Step 6: Let It Dry On A Hanger

Air-dry your apparel on a hanger or lay it flat on a dry towel to help absorb the moisture. Don’t lay it down on a counter or put it back in your closet wet. Never put motorcycle gear in the dryer unless the manufacturer explicitly allows it, and even if they do, make sure to put it on the delicate setting. Do you need your motorcycle gear to dry faster? Pointing a fan at your jacket will accelerate the drying process.

Step 7: Reinsert Armor And Liners

Once your gear is dry, slip the armour back into place, reinstall any interior liners, and revel in the brightened colours and neutral aroma of your freshly washed apparel.

Now go out and get it dirty again!!!

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