How to Launder Leather Elbow Patches

light leather image by Aleksey Bakaleev from

Leather elbow patches protect the elbow area of a jacket or sweater from rips and tears. Due to the fact that leather is a "dry clean only" fabric, most items with leather elbow patches are made from natural fabrics that also must be dry cleaned If you need to clean just the elbow patches you can do it yourself with items you already have around the house.

Fill a small bowl about halfway with lukewarm water. The bowl should be a little bigger than a cereal bowl. Add a small dollop of mild hand soap to the water and swish gently with your fingers to stir.

Dampen the cloth slightly with the soap and water. Rub the leather gently with the cloth to produce a light lather. Rub until the leather is clean. Be careful not to get soap and water on wool fabrics, this can lead to shrinking or felting of the wool.

Dampen another cloth with plain water and gently wipe away the lather. Use as little water as possible to avoid damaging the leather. Use another clean cloth to dry the patch and if possible, let it air dry for a few minutes.

Use a tiny amount of olive oil on a clean, dry cloth to condition the leather. Rub the oil in gently. Avoid getting oil on the surrounding garment. Using too much oil to condition the leather will make it sticky or change the color of the leather, so use sparingly.