Dirty riding gear tells stories of the adventures you have been on. But then do you want to hold up a neon sign on your head to show others that you are an awesome rider? We guess not. You are not treating your riding gear properly if you don’t clean it from time to time. Dust, Dirt, Smoke and not to forget your sweat on the inside makes regular cleaning necessary. So let's find out how to clean motorcycle riding jacket.

Following this Riding Jacket Maintenance Guide will prolong the overall life of your riding gear

Steps for how to wash your textile Riding Jacket: 

Hand washing riding gear is the preferred way of washing Riding Jacket.

    1. Remove all liners if present.
    2. Remove armour from arms, elbows, shoulders, back etc. 
How do you wash a bike jacket - Remove protection
how to clean motorcycle riding jacket - Remove protectn
  1. Check pockets if they contain anything. If yes, remove those items. You don’t want to wash away couple of hundred bucks. Open zips / chains of all pockets.
  2. Gently dust off the jacket with a soft brush / cloth to get rid of dust and dirt.
  3. Check areas with bright colours. They would need more attention.
  4. Spot clean the gear to remove the excessive dirt with a soft brush and clean water. Gently brush those areas with bristle brush 

    How do you wash a motorcycle jacket- Brush cleaning

  5. Immerse the jacket / pants in a tub of water. Add mild detergent to it. (bleach/ strong detergent / fabric softener should be avoided at all cost) Let the gear soak for one hour. This will help in loosening the dirt.
  6. Brush again gently with a soft brush / hand till all dirt washes away.
  7. Keep rinsing and changing water (without detergent) till all dirt is washed away and there is no trace of any detergent.
  8. Hang the jacket on a hanger and keep it in the washroom till you can’t see any water dripping. 

    How to wash your textile riding gear- Jacket hanger

  9. Keep the jacket on the hanger till it dries completely.
  10. Do not keep the riding jacket in direct sun. Harsh sunlight may fade the colours.
  11. Insert all armour back into place and you are now ready to wear it again. 

If you still feel that you don’t want to bother hand washing the garments, here are a few tips for –

Steps for Cleaning Riding Jacket in a washing machine:

Check the tags to see if your Riding Jacket is suitable for machine wash.

How to clean motorcycle jacket - Washing Machine

  1. Remove all liners if present.
  2. Remove armour from arms, elbows, shoulders, back etc.
  3. Check pockets if they contain anything. If yes, remove those items. You don’t want to wash away couple of hundred bucks. Open zips / chains of all pockets.
  4. Gently dust off the jacket with a soft brush / cloth to get rid of dust and dirt.
  5. Spot clean the gear to remove the excessive dirt with a soft brush and clean water. Gently brush those areas with bristle brush. 

    How to clean motorcycle jacket - Brush Cleaning

  6. Fill only half the water capacity in washing machine.
  7. Use only mild detergent. (bleach/ strong detergent / fabric softner should be avoided at all cost)
  8. Avoid intensive rinse cycle of automatic washing machines.
  9. DO NOT dry the riding jacket in spin dryer of your washing machine.
  10. Hang the jacket on a hanger and keep it in the washroom till you can’t see any water dripping.
  11. Keep the riding jacket on the hanger till it dries completely. Some suggest drying the gear in sun but harsh sunlight may fade the colours.
  12. Insert all armour back into place and you are now ready to wear it again. 

Riding Jackets with breathable membranes:

In case your riding jacket is the one with one of the breathable membranes (don’t know what they are? We have a short guide about breathable membranes), they need a different process than washing normal mesh / textile riding jacket.

As time goes by, you would be seeing that the waterproof and breathable properties of your riding jacket going down. Then it is time to recharge these properties in your riding jacket. For these riding jackets, we recommend to recharge the waterproof properties during/after each wash / alternate wash.

Typical household detergents leave behind a water-attractive (hydrophilic) residue which masks the Water Repellency properties of your riding jacket. This causes the jacket to absorb water. Therefore, they need to be avoided when cleaning waterproof items.

Steps for washing Riding Jacket with Breathable membrane:

  1. Wash your riding jacket as described earlier in either of the two methods.
  2. Let the riding Jacket Dry.
  3. Once it is dry, tumble dry your garment for 20 minutes to reactivate the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the outer fabric.
  4. If unable to tumble dry, iron the dry garment on gentle setting (warm, no steam) by placing a towel or cloth between the garment and the iron. This will help reactivate the DWR treatment on your garment’s outer fabric.
  5. When the factory applied treatment can no longer be reactivated, apply a new water-repellent treatment like Nikwax available as a pump-spray or wash-in product to the garment's outer fabric.

“Avoid touching Nikwax or similar products with your naked hands”


Instructions for storing your Riding Jacket & Other Riding Gear:

  • Air the clothing thoroughly after every use. After all, you don’t want to smell your sweat at the beginning of next ride.
  • Do not store clothing in air tight plastic bags.
  • Do not store clothing in damp areas.
  • Do not Stow away your wet/damp riding gear. It will start growing fungus. 
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Points to remember:

Some would argue that the riding jackets are built to withstand a crash so why such a delicate cleaning process? Answer is simple…. The outer portion is tough but not the inner mesh / lining and it may tear off during intensive cleaning.

Please note that these instructions are only for textile garments and not for leather garments.

Afterthought: 

Question: Can you dry clean a motorcycle jacket?

Answer: NO.

Here is a Before/After image of a riding jacket

riding jacket cleaning

Now you can enjoy the riding gear to the fullest….Keep riding.


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