Weathering a leather jacket/putting it in the washing machine?


Well-Known Member
I recently got a leather jacket on eBay for a Mad Max cosplay. It's slightly used, and there's a tiny bit of weathering on areas like the elbows and cuffs, but I want to distress it a bit more, not to the degree that Max's jacket is in Fury Road, where it's so faded it looks khaki colored, but to look more like how it does in The Road Warrior, where there's lots of obvious wear and there are some parts that are definitely dusty/faded (but you can still clearly tell it's black). The jacket is also a bit big on me (it's a size 40 and I generally wear 36-38). It's not much of a problem in the waist or chest (although it certainly could stand to get a little tighter), but the sleeves are noticeably too long, coming down about to my thumbs when held straight out.

I read that some people throw leather jackets in the washing machine to break them in, and that it can also sometimes have a shrinking effect, both of which would be desired in my case. Is that something anyone here has experience with? How did it turn out? Is there any risk of actually damaging the jacket? (It's a very tough feeling motorcycle jacket, so I'm guessing not, but I want to be safe.)

And for further weathering after washing it, I was thinking of going somewhere with gravel and dry dirt on the ground and kicking it around and trying to rub dirt into it. Would that alone work, or would I have to apply alcohol or acetone or some other chemical first to get some of the dye out? Remember, I'm going more for this: MadMax2-004.jpg
than this: max2.jpg


Master Member
I weathered my Wested Indy jacket by wearing it in the shower. It took a lot of the sheen off and also helped fit the jacket to me. After it dried, I took some sandpaper to a few seams and rubbed acetone in a few areas, which really lightens the color. Just be careful to take your time as it's much easier to add more weathering than it is to undo it.



Master Member
I had a leather biker jacket back in the 80's that I weathered/distressed by tying a rope to it and dragging it behind my car down a dirt and gravel road several times.


New Member
I saw that guy on YouTube. But did not know if it would be safe for the leather jacket. I'm also not sure what leather jacket I want yet. I want one that looks like the one from fury road. Any suggestions


New Member
I've washed a leather jacket before. It's really not a big deal. You can throw a ton of fabric softener in there, too, to soften the leather. The drying part is where it could shrink. Maybe you could hit the sleeves with a heat gun after the wash to get them to shrink more. Otherwise, you could let the jacket dry on you as you're wearing it, to get it to really break in and mold to you.

- - - Updated - - -

Letting it tumble in the dryer (with no heat) is also another way to get the jacket to look broken-in. Black jackets are usually saturated in dye, so you might be better off with sandpaper and some alcohol to take off the sheen.

- - - Updated - - -

Also, I've been putting a website together for this kind of thing. Check out the leather section here:
This thread is more than 6 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.