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Thread: Machine washing and drying a leather jacket.

  1. #1
    Senior Member comedyzen's Avatar
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    Default Machine washing and drying a leather jacket.

    So I picked up a Rick, reversed lamb, Scuba leather from 07 at a very good price but it came with a god awful smell like some leather treatment gone bad. So I had it pro cleaned and that got rid of 65% of the smell. It was also tagged as an XL and a tad loose on me. So I called Arthur at The Archive and he suggested I machine wash it then run it through the dryer to shrink it (and I hoped it would kick the smell). I had it professionally cleaned for around $70, but the smell still lingered a tad.

    So instead of sending it to cleaners for another round, I rolled the dice and threw it in the washer then dryer....and to my joy, it worked. Smell is out but it shrank a tad too small, the good news is that after some wear, it stretched out to fit. FYI, the leather is suede like and thick.

    So I recently picked up another 07/08 Rick leather and want to do the same thing. But this cost much more and it is hammered lamb that is thinner than the Suba and has treatment on it. But I want to clean it since it is used and wouldn't mind some shrinkage. I came across this:

    http://helloblackbird.blogspot.com/2...-by-peter.html

    And wondered if anyone tried this with a higher grade RO leather?

    If I do machine wash the high collar, I plan on taking pics and measurements but I really do not want to risk ruining this beauty of a jacket. But would love to hear from anyone who has done it.
    Last edited by comedyzen; 04-22-2011 at 11:40 AM.

  2. #2

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    I have no advice, but I'd love to see pics of the jacket you've already washed & dried.

    Frankly, washing it would scare me enough...let alone machine washing it. Drying it in the dryer...eek! Kudos to you for the 'nads.

  3. #3
    Senior Member diorowen's Avatar
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    as said in Blackbird, washing it will actually take away the finishes.

    personally I tried washing leather before, but not with machine washer, and not throwing it in the dryer.
    I handwash it carefully just to remove the dirt. afterward, I just lay it to dry. takes around 1 week to dry, but its ok.
    the result is the same as what you got, shrinkage, and color become dull. :).

    as for your hammered lamb, I don't recommend to throw it to washing machine. I am not sure about what will happen, but imagining the thin leather spinning around in the washing machine. I cant definetely hold my tear. haha.
    moreover the treatment will most likely fade due to the washing machine method.
    so if there is no other option, maybe carefull handwash is a better alternative, while personally I suggest just bring it to leather expert to get it cleaned.
    still trapped in my juvenile state

  4. #4

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    ugh
    im so tempted to do this to my margiela
    but im weary because it is by the far the most expensive piece of clothing i have ever bought and i just got it
    it fits decent as is, but the shoulders are too large and it throws off everything else (i never thought a 44 would be too big!)
    its pretty thick deer leather, but it is already treated and super soft...
    would washing/drying it do the trick?

  5. #5
    Senior Member diorowen's Avatar
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    ^. erm, when I said shrink, its every part of them shrink. so you may can't fit in anymore after you shrink it, if everything else is correct, except the shoulder.

    so I would suggest you to actually try to bring it to tailor first.
    let they see, some of them can actually shorten the width of the shoulder.
    cost more of course, and it didnt guarantee you get the exact stuff you want, because tailoring the shoulder will completely change the jacket silhouette.
    but, just ask them. they may know what you need to do :)
    still trapped in my juvenile state

  6. #6

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    it would be great if it shrunk everywhere by 1 inch!
    is this possible? approximately how much will it shrink from the dryer?

    i dont want to tailor it as im sure it will ruin the fit.

  7. #7
    Senior Member comedyzen's Avatar
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    It is a 2007 XL so it fit like a US 42/EU 52 slim side. Fit a little loose at the pits and shoulders. As mentioned, fit snug post wash n dry, but I wore it while it was still a tad wet (threw it in dryer for about 20 minutes, was told this is how to get the shrink on) and managed to stretch it out. I want to guesstimate that the sleeves shrank almost an inch.

    I decided to NOT try this with my recently acquired "Rick's jacket." The previous owner tailored down the sleeves a tad...so the arms slightly stack, barely. I fear that the sleeves will shrink too short if I wash...otherwise, it would've been done already. Tempted to hand wash in hot water but not submerge the sleeves....maybe.
    Last edited by comedyzen; 06-19-2011 at 01:49 PM.

  8. #8

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    i dunno this sounds too good to be true
    did you condition the leather at all afterwards?
    pictures would be greatly appreciated.
    also, what settings did you use on the washer and dryer?
    i wonder what the difference in results are when comparing the washer/dryer method with the one posted on blackbird...

  9. #9
    Senior Member comedyzen's Avatar
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    Yes, took the jacket in and had the entire jacket conditioned. I used HOT water on GENTLE cycle then threw it in the dryer on medium heat. The jacket was flipped inside out the whole time and zipped. I will try to post pics later, but I did find the original measurements from the sale post.

    Pre-Wash Measurements
    Shoulders from seam to seam: 44cm
    Armpit to armpit: 53cm
    Sleeves: 80cm
    Total length, from base of collar to hem: 66cm

    Post
    Shoulders:42.75cm
    Armpit: 52.50cm
    Sleeves: 68cm
    Length: 62cm

    Hmmmmm, I did notice significant shrinkage on the sleeves, but 12 cm seems like too much. I wonder if he got the measurement wrong.
    Last edited by comedyzen; 04-22-2011 at 11:14 AM.

  10. #10

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    i wouldnt suggest drying it.
    high quality (full grain leather) can actually handle water pretty well, especially if you take the time to condition it afterwards and let it fully dry.

    from what i hear, lamb does this washing thing the best

  11. #11

    Default Leather jacket washing

    This is a great post..thanks to all. I live in Connecticut, the land of throw away $ clothes. Found a Yohji Yamamoto full length canvas coat for 10 bucks at a thrift store....AND a new with tags $2k ZegnaSport leather bike jacket never worn for $45. It is nice but super straight in line and look almost boring but beautiful soft leather. A little big...so I thought about washing it to get a better wrinkled and bashed street look. Sooo I love all this washing info...Hopefully I can post after wash pics...A

  12. #12

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    Thinking out loud....Wonder what RO oiled calf would do if hand soaked and air dried. Anyone try it?

  13. #13

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    when people talk about appying leather balsam/conditioner after wash, does that mean you do it while it is still wet, before you put it in the dryer?

  14. #14

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    People here are far braver than me. I've heard of the handwashing method, which I've never tried but which sounds reasonably gentle. But I would personally never dare put a leather in the washing machine or the tumble dryer - surely it could damage it and it might shrink way too much?!

    Re leather conditioner - I've heard (but again never tried myself) that in L'Eclaireur they use Nivea on the leathers to condition them - sounds bizarre, can anyone confirm?? Not sure why they would need to do this.

  15. #15

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    I too have experimented with this.

    Shrinkage totally depends on the leather.

    My Rick leather barely shrank at all, machine wash and light dry.

    A Margiela jacket that I had shrank over 1 full size in the same process.

    If you put it on while it is still wet, it will mould to your body quite nicely. But you do have to keep in mind the length (and sleeve length), that will not stretch back out.

    I would honestly only recommend this if it is really big everywhere, and too long in the sleeves...

  16. #16

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    What do you guys think about letting it dry on a hanger? Wouldn't gravity allow it to gain back its length? As long as the hanger is as wide as the shoulders I don't see any problems with that.
    ENDYMA / Archival fashion & Consignment
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  17. #17

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    In my experience, it has tendancy to shrink so much in the length (a few inches), that you have to physically pull it to get anywhere close to the original length back. Gravity alone would not have neary the same inpact. You will notice that the lining will hang out of the bottom of the jacket slightly as that material will usually not shrink at all.

    Also, I would be leary of the hanger molding permanent buldges into the shoulders while the leather is wet. I would certainly not hang it for any portion of the drying process, then again, I do not hang any of my leathers dry either!

  18. #18
    Senior Member comedyzen's Avatar
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    OK, finally had some time to do this. So I zipped up the jacket and flipped it inside out. Threw it in my washing machine (front loader) and added about a teaspoon of Tide. Water was set to WARM WASH/COLD RINSE and set on DELICATE. It is in the washer as I write this. Will take follow up pics and post new measurements.

    Jacket:



    PRE-WASH

    Pit-Pit: 21"
    Top of front collar to bottom: 27"
    Pit-End of Sleeve: 19.25"
    Shoulder-Shoulder: 19.25"

    Close up of luster pre-wash:



    I wanted to wash this to tighten the area under the armpit and all around. Also since it was bought used, I wanted to wash out all the cooties. Here is the area of question (hard to see, but it is quite loose between my armpit and jacket):


  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by sargon97 View Post
    Thinking out loud....Wonder what RO oiled calf would do if hand soaked and air dried. Anyone try it?
    I once got caught in the mad London rain in oiled calf (winter weight) and ended up soaked. Took forever to dry but made absolutely no difference to the leather. Of course that's different from washing it.
    I have washed a thin lamb jacket before and it came out beautifully. I was actually more worried about the silk lining than the leather. Leather was dull when it had dried and started to get its sheen back as I wore it. Wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
    Hi. I like your necklace. - It's actually a rape whistle, but the whistle part fell off.

  20. #20
    Senior Member comedyzen's Avatar
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    OH GOD, what have I done?!



    JK, just pulled it out of dryer. Looks OK. Will give it a few days to air dry and I will take measurements.

    Last edited by comedyzen; 05-26-2011 at 02:05 PM.

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