Most of us know that motorcycle and can be a dirty sport. Of course, if you are the sort who likes to ride a dirt bike, you’re likely very well aware that dirt is part and parcel with the territory.  However, even those who prefer to stick on the pavement end up with dirty gear at some point. Either way, you’re going to have to know how to wash motorcycle jacket.

People who prefer leather jackets need to get their gear professionally cleaned. Those of us who choose to go with textile gear have a few more do-it-yourself options. If you are wondering how to clean textile motorcycle jacket, there are many affordable ways to go about it. However, even though it is very possible for you to clean up your textile gear without the involvement of a professional, it’s not always as easy as simply throwing the offending textile into your washing machine and calling it a day.

First of all, cleaning textile motorcycle gear involves looking at the actual instructions.  (Yes, we know that you may be a Rebel Without a Cause, but you don’t want to look like you got chewed up inside of a washing machine.) 

Can You Wash Motorcycle Textile Gear? 

The answer to this is an unequivocal yes. However, whether or not you can wash it in a washing machine is another matter. You definitely need to check out what the tag inside of your textile motorcycle jackets suggests. If your motorcycle jacket says that it’s A-OK to toss it into the wash, then rejoice! Your journey has turned out to be unexpectedly easy. 

Otherwise, the most common instructions probably involve a hand wash. It is highly likely that you won’t be able to use bleach on your jacket. This means that you need to make sure that whatever detergent you are using to wash the jacket does not contain bleach inside of it. Additionally, using fabric softener can result in impairing the jacket’s ability to repel water. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t use any softener.

The first step to tackle is spot cleaning. In fact, you should make spot cleaning a part of your regular riding regimen if you notice that there are any particularly dirty spots on your gear. (Bug guts are particularly notorious for causing speckles and spots, particularly if you like to rock the white textile motorcycle jacket.) 

If you notice any particularly dirty spots on your motorcycle jacket, the easiest way to spot clean simply involves taking a washcloth or other soft rag and a bowl of water with mild detergent. Wet the washcloth with the water and detergent mixture, and dab it over your stains. You want to avoid a rubbing motion, as rubbing can potentially work the stain into the fabric rather than remove it.

If you come across a stain that is too stubborn for the washcloth, another good option would be to invest in a hard bristle brush meant for scrubbing spots out of laundry. If you don’t feel like purchasing a special brush, you can also use a toothbrush with stiff bristles. The idea is the same: simply wet the brush with a bit of water and soap and then use a gentle circular motion to try and loosen the stain. Again, you want to use a coaxing motion rather than harsh one if at all possible. 

Do I Have to Wash By Hand? 

If the instructions on your textile motorcycle jacket say that the garment needs to be hand washed, we are going to go ahead and agree with them. However, in the event that you happen to have access to a front-loading washing machine that has an Ultra Gentle cycle, many people report success with using this particular method. The front-loading washing machines tend to be far more gentle overall as compared to the agitator in top-loading washing machines. 

However, proceed at your own risk. We still recommend sticking with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are looking for the easiest way to wash your motorcycle jacket by hand, it likely involves a bucket with warm soapy water. Doing it outside is likely to produce less mess. If you absolutely have to wash the jacket inside, try using your bathtub, or a bucket in the shower.

Insofar as the detergent is concerned, you can certainly purchase detergents that are specifically formulated to work with motorcycle textiles. However, many motorcyclists report that using Woolite also does the trick. 

No matter if you end up washing your textile jacket by hand or in the machine, make sure that you go through and remove any additional armor that is usually in the jacket prior to the wash. You also want to go through and check the pockets, just like you would with any other article of laundry. It probably goes without saying that your protective armor doesn’t need to be washed along with the textile part of your jacket. 

How Do I Dry? 

Again, you need to pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. Your instincts may tell you that using the dryer is an automatic no-go; however, some jackets have water repellents in them that need to be exposed to heat in order to reactivate them. If this applies to your jacket, then it is very possible that you are required to run it through a dryer.

If your jacket is the variety that cannot go through the dryer, then the best thing to do is to continue to rinse out your jacket until no suds come out of it. Then, simply hang up the jacket. Do not try to squeeze excess water out of the jacket, as this could potentially harm any waterproof membrane that is present. The best thing to do is simply hang it up and let it drift as long as it needs. (Make sure you hang it in a place where it doesn’t matter how wet the ground gets!) 

If time is of the essence and you want to speed up drying, you can certainly point a fan in the direction of the jacket to try and blow out the water faster. Do not use a blow-dryer or any heat-generating device. 

And that is how to clean motorcycle suits and jackets if they are textile. If you take care of your motorcycle riding gear, it will take care of you in return (and look great doing it!).