motorcycle 101 guides

How to Clean Motorcycle Leather Gear

How to Clean Motorcycle Leather Gear

To keep their motorcycles clean and shiny, motorcyclists often use different types of cleaners. Cleaning a motorcycle with a wet rag and soap can help remove dirt and stains. However, after cleaning and drying the motorcycle’s chassis, many motorcyclists struggle with maintaining the leather parts, such as the SADDLEBAGS, SEAT, or other accessories.

Cleaning your motorcycle incorrectly can result in the leather seat becoming cracked or dull within a few hours or a couple of days. It is possible to prevent damage to the leather motorcycle parts by knowing how to clean them properly.

1. Types of Leather Motorcycle Gear

Many riders prefer buying leather motorcycle gear since they are durable and reliable. Examples of leather motorcycle gear include:

1.1 Riding Gear

Leather motorcycle riding gear can protect you from harsh weather conditions and accident-related injuries. Leather provides resistance against cold weather, rain, and harmful scratches. Jackets, gloves, and boots are the most common examples of leather riding gear.

1.2 Bags

For longer rides, extra luggage bags help carry your belongings. These luggage bags include SADDLE BAGS, BACKPACKS, HANDLEBAR BAGS, FUEL TANK BAGS, etc. Most luggage bags are made of full-grain, top-grain, and synthetic leather.

2. Methods for Cleaning Leather Motorcycle Gear

2.1 Using a Washcloth

Using a washcloth is the easiest and simplest way to clean your leather motorcycle gear. Every motorcyclist should carry a washcloth in can they need to clean the leather motorcycle gear and the entire vehicle. Alternatively, you can use a soft brush or a sponge to clean the dirt off your leather motorcycle gear.

Do not use a microfiber cloth since the small fibers often retain dirt particles and scrape the surface of your leather motorcycle gear.


  • Easy to carry
  • Reusable
  • Easily available at shops at an affordable price
  • Helps remove light layers of dirt


  • Does not help the leather surface shine
  • A dirty washcloth can make the leather gear dirtier
  • A dirty washcloth can scratch the leather gear

2.2 Wash with Cleaner

The other method many motorcyclists use to clean their motorcycle leather gear is by using cleaner, soap, or shampoo.

Wash with Cleaner
Photo Credit: @RevZilla


  • Helps rinse off thick layers of dirt or stains from the leather surface 
  • Thoroughly cleans leather motorcycle gear


  • After leather gear dries after a wash, the leather can become dull and crack
  • Certain leathers are not waterproof which can take longer to fully dry.

There are two important things to remember before washing leather gear with water and cleaner: 

  • If the leather gear has a layer of dirt on it, it is better to rinse off the dirt first using a clean washcloth, brush, or sponge. Then wash off what it left with soap, cleaner, or shampoo.
  • Never use a rough washcloth or brush since it may damage the leather surface and leave deep scratches

2.3 Applying Wax or Polish

Cleaning the leather gear with water and then letting it dry under the sun or by air drying can cause the leather to harden and crack. Moreover, after washing leather gear with water and cleaner, the coat of polish on the leather surface will need to be re-applied. A coat of polish will ensure the leather lasts longer without cracking and has a nice sheen to it.

Applying Wax or Polish
Photo Credit: @RevZilla

Most waxes and polish sprays available on the market will fulfill this purpose.


  • Improve the shine and flexibility of the leather
  • Increase the leather’s longevity


  • Expired or poor-quality waxes can damage the leather gear’s surface
  • Purchasing waxes and polish sprays can be expensive 

2.4 Cleaning the Inside of Leather Motorcycle Gear

The inside of leather gear does not get dirty as often and is easier to clean. Check to see if the interior is removable. If it is, remove it and wash it properly with cleaner or shampoo. After you dry it, insert it back in place. If the interior is non-removable, then follow these steps:

Cleaning with a Washcloth

A small washcloth can be used to clean thin layers of dirt from the interior of the leather gear. Once the dirt is removed, wipe the interior with a wet cloth. Then leave the interior exposed and let it dry for a while.

Use Febreeze and De-Salter Spray

Air fresheners and de-salter spray can remove foul odors from the interior.

Use Febreeze and De-Salter Spray
Photo Credit: @RevZilla

3. Tips

  • Always use a clean cloth, sponge, or soft brush to clean leather gear
  • Do not put the leather gear in a washing machine
  • Always apply wax or polish after washing and drying the leather
  • Do not wash or apply wax to the leather gear too often. Too much wax can result in the pores being blocked and discolored.

4. Conclusion

Cleaning leather gear is a very easy and simple thing yet it can damage the leather if it is not done properly or could not be taken care of after cleaning. Cleaning the leather gear with a washcloth is the simplest method and it is the best option for rinsing off a thin layer of dirt but the washcloth must clean itself as well otherwise it can leave marks on the leather gear. If the gear is dirtier then it can be washed with water and cleaner and the most common mistake done by most people is not applying the wax or polish after drying the gear because when the leather gear dries the upper layer of the shiner also washes away and the dried leather gives a dull look and also gets cracks. For cleaning the interior side of leather gear de-salter sprays or Febreeze are the best options but the interior should be left for a while to dry out after applying this kind of spray.

Photo Credit: @rhinoleather

Related Readings

Reading next

Honda VTX 1800C vs Yamaha Star Raider
10 Things Riders Hate About Motorcycle Touring

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.