A wrinkled leather jacket can sometimes look like an old garbage bag, and just like unironed clothes, creases and folds all over large plain areas can become very distracting and takes away from the whole look.
If you’ve left your leather jacket somewhere where it got crumpled, sat on, and folded in unsightly ways, don’t fret. We want to show you how to get wrinkles out of your leather jacket so you can wear it looking fresh and sleek.
Before we move on to the guide, we’re sure that you thought about ironing or steaming your leather jacket, and we want to answer that question lingering in your head straight on.
Can You Iron a Leather Jacket?
Yes, you can iron your leather jacket, BUT you must be extremely careful. Using an iron directly on leather items can damage them severely, and there are other precautions you must consider before doing so. We highly suggest against ironing your leather jacket, using it only as a last resort, and never doing it in a rush.
However, if that is somehow your only option, we have included ironing leather in the methods that we will get into below.
Can You Steam a Leather Jacket?
Yes, you definitely can. Steaming is commonly used in the tanning industry as that is one of the most efficient ways leather can be worked with. However, you need to be careful not to set the temperature too high as this can make the leather too pliable, and handling it in that state will increase the risk of warping. This guide will cover steaming to remove wrinkles in further detail below.
How to Remove Wrinkles From Your Leather Jacket
There are a few ways you can flatten your leather jacket and fix those crease lines. Some methods are safer than others, and we will be going through the most accessible methods that you can do at home, to some that are not as accessible but are incredibly efficient.
Method #1 – Pulling To Remove Wrinkles From A Leather Jacket
This method is by far the quickest, safest, and definitely easiest. There are a few things you should know before attempting this though. Pulling on the leather usually won’t cause major issues and the risk of damage is low. However, if your leather jacket has been left unattended for quite some time, you might want to lather some leather conditioner on it to prevent any risk of dry cracks turning into tears.
Things you will need
- Place your jacket on a sturdy padded hanger or any clean surface.
- Inspect any areas that are at risk of tearing or damage. Be sure to avoid those areas or be more gentle.
- Pull on the wrinkled and folded areas gently, less is more, you can always pull a little bit more if needed but it will take extra work to undo an overstretched area.
- This will only work for smaller wrinkles, larger wrinkles will require different methods
- Do not pull too aggressively in one direction for too long, this can deform the leather.
- Pull for a few seconds at a time, we suggest circularly rotating your pull directions, this will give the leather time to recover and even out the work done to it.
Wrinkling may be accentuated by dry leather, in the event of dry leather, it may be time for maintenance. An alternative to simply pulling is to apply leather conditioner on the whole jacket, gently massaging any creases and folds out.
As the leather conditioner moistens the dry leather, the fibers will soften back up and become more flexible. You can also do some pulling if there are any stubborn areas or deep creases and try to get the conditioner into those cracks to bring back the spring to those fibers again.
What To Do When The Leather is Overstretched
When you’ve overdone the stretching, don’t panic. As long as there’s no actual damage done to the leather, you can still recover your mistake. One of the easiest ways for you to shrink an overstretched area is to use a spray bottle on the affected area, allowing the water to absorb, but not completely soak the leather.
After spraying the area, leave it to dry in indirect sunlight or in a warm, dry room. The drying process will shrink the overstretched area back to its original shape. Apply leather conditioner to stop any further drying and to keep the leather healthy.
Method #2 – Steaming To Remove Wrinkles From A Leather Jacket
Steaming is an efficient method for manipulating leather, it can be used for stretching, shrinking, shaping, and flattening. Make sure that your steamer is not set too high, as previously mentioned, this can make your leather jacket too soft and increases the risk of damage.
Things you will need
- Fabric steamer
- A sturdy clothes hanger/wide shoulder hanger
- A shower heater (see alternative method)
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1. Fill your steamer with water and allow it to heat up, we suggest a low to medium-low setting.
- Be sure to test whether the steam is warm or not away from the jacket. Cold steam or steam that is not warm enough will cause condensation on the jacket and risk water damage. Take note of the heating time instructed by the manufacturer of your steamer.
2. Hang your leather jacket away from any other garments, preferably in its own space. You may also use a flat, dry surface. We suggest hanging overlaying it flat, however, as the weight of the jacket will pull the wrinkles out naturally.
3. Steam the wrinkled areas for a few seconds at a time, staying about 4 in. (10cm) away from the jacket, steaming evenly over the area.
- Do not focus the steam in one area for long periods of time, this will increase the risk of water damage. Too much heat and moisture in one area will strip it of its protective oils and the leather will absorb too much water.
4. If there are stubborn creases, you may pull gently while the leather is soft to encourage the leather to flatten and reset its fibers.
5. Allow the jacket to dry and apply a leather conditioner to protect it from damage and strengthen the leather.
Alternative Method – Steaming In The Shower
An alternative to using a steamer is using a hot shower to steam the leather jacket. This shower trick saves time, but you don’t have as much control over specific areas.
- Hang your jacket somewhere it won’t directly get hit by the hot water.
- Turn your shower on to high heat, letting the shower run and allowing steam to build up in the bathroom. Make sure to keep the doors and windows closed to not let any steam escape.
- Let the jacket sit in the steam for about 20-30 minutes or until the entire jacket is steamed.
- After letting it steam, transfer it over to a coat rack or a dry, flat surface.
- Work the jacket gently, smoothing out any wrinkles and creases before it cools completely.
- Apply a coat of leather conditioner as the heat and moisture strip away the protective oils.
Method #3 – Ironing Your Leather Jacket
Putting an iron against any leather garment is usually a recipe for disaster, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to use one. This is definitely one that is not recommended, even by professionals. However, if this is your only option, there are ways to use an iron on your leather jacket without destroying it.
Things you will need
- Iron without steam or with the steamer emptied
- An ironing board/surface
- Set the iron to the coolest setting. Iron without steam is important as excessive heat and moisture can quickly damage the leather.
- The lowest setting is still usually enough to damage leather material, so use a large piece of one hundred percent cotton cloth like a bedsheet, pillowcase, or a clean towel and place it over the leather garment. The layer of fabric will protect the leather from being exposed to too much heat.
- Iron over the extra layer of fabric. It is very crucial to have an extreme presence of mind when ironing. Always move the iron around, never stopping in one area as much as possible.
- After ironing, inspect the leather and pull very gently on areas that still have wrinkles. If the leather feels dry, or too much of the oils have been stripped away due to the heat, you may apply moisturizing leather conditioner after it cools to moisten the leather once again.
How to Prevent Wrinkles
Prevention is always better than cure, there is always a small amount of risk when it comes to repairing your leather items, so to limit the number of times you have to flatten those wrinkles out, it’s best to avoid having them in the first place, as much as you can to avoid them, at least.
In order to prevent wrinkles, there are two things you need to do:
Hang Your Jacket Properly When Not in Use
Proper storage of your jacket is the number one way to prevent anything bad from happening to your jacket in the first place. Avoid folding your jacket, the proper place to store your jacket is to hang it with a padded hanger in a dark, dry area, not exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid cramped closets as this can also wrinkle your jacket. Improper storage will increase the risk of being misplaced, or damaged.
Consider getting a garment bag to avoid getting dust on it if you do not have a closet to store it in.
Maintenance (Leather Conditioner)
Wrinkles form more easily when the fibers are dry and stiff, it is best to have a regular maintenance schedule to apply a leather conditioning product every 6-8 months on your leather items depending on the amount of exposure to extreme environments. Taking proper care of your leather clothing will ensure that it lasts long.
There are times when we don’t end up using our leather jackets and leave them unused at the back of the closet and they form ugly creases everywhere. Or accidentally falling asleep in a weird position while wearing your new leather jacket has caused horrible wrinkling. Thankfully, there are ways to fix these issues, and we hope that these solutions have helped you.
Why does leather crease?
Leather wrinkles over time when the area is constantly folded in the same way, like elbow creases from arm movements. Creases may also occur when the area is folded for a long time.
Can you press leather?
Pressing leather is one of the ways that you can remove wrinkles and creases. It takes a long time, but it is one of the safest methods. You may use books, wood with a cloth layer in between, or large metal plates.
Does hanging remove wrinkles?
Hanging by itself does not remove wrinkles. It does prevent them, though. Steaming and hanging will remove some of the lines, but expect to do some of your own massaging and pulling of the leather to remove the creasing.