How to Clean a Sticky Letter Jacket

Letter jackets tend to spend a lot of time in the closet, where, after several years, the sleeves begin to accumulate a sticky film that never seems to go away. Of course, you could take the jacket to a dry cleaner, but that can be costly. You can, however, attack the sticky residue at home, with products you probably already have, and save yourself some money.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge

  • Mild dish soap

  • Cloth

  • Leather spray cleaner

  • Vacuum-sealable bags

Step 1

Dampen a sponge, and add a bit of mild soap. Since most letter jackets are a made of processed leather with a shell coating, the soap will not damage the jacket.

Step 2

Gently wipe the sleeves of the jacket with the sponge. Don't scrub too hard, but you can rub off spots.

Step 3

Use a clean, damp sponge or cloth to wipe down the sleeves two or three times, getting rid of all traces of the soap on the sleeves.

Step 4

Dry the jacket with a dry cloth as soon as you are finished rinsing the sleeves. Repeat these steps if a slight sticky residue is still left on the jacket, but the jacket should feel smooth again.

Step 5

Use leather spray cleaner and a rag to wipe the jacket sleeves every couple of months to prevent any sticky residue from coming back. Put the jacket in a vacuum-sealable bag if you plan on keeping it in storage for a longer period of time.


Stay away from alcohol, mineral spirits or turpentine cleaners for your jacket. Also do not use wax, silicone or other leather preparations.