Can You Wash A Bomber Jacket? [Here’s how to]

A bomber jacket is a popular (and warm) jacket style for winter. Bomber jackets can be made out of several different fabrics and materials, but the proper way to clean these materials isn't the same for all of them. So can you wash your bomber jacket in the washing machine? And if not, what is the proper way to clean it? We've researched how to wash a bomber jacket to get the answers for you.

Bomber jackets made of nylon or synthetic cotton can usually be washed in the washing machine, but read the care label on the jacket before you do so. Follow these steps to wash a bomber jacket:

  • Wash the jacket by itself.
  • Using a mild detergent, wash on the delicate cycle with cold water. 
  • Skip the spin cycle.
  • Hang the jacket to dry or use the "air dry" setting on the dryer.

If your bomber jacket is made out of a material other than nylon or synthetic cotton, the cleaning methods will be different. Some fabrics are better off being hand-washed, while others need to be dry-cleaned. For detailed instructions for the best way to clean your bomber jacket, please continue reading.

A teen boy posing with bomber jacket in front of black background, Can You Wash A Bomber Jacket? [Here's how to]

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What materials are bomber jackets made of?

Bomber jackets are typically made of nylon, wool, suede, or leather. Some bomber jackets have a hood made of either cloth or fur, and the hood may or may not be removed. The fur on a jacket can complicate the cleaning process because fur can lose its fluffiness if it is washed improperly, so jackets with non-removable fur should be dry cleaned.

Before purchasing a bomber jacket, read the inside label's care instructions to make sure you are comfortable with the cleaning process. Sometimes jackets come with a separate card with the cleaning instructions on it, so be sure to ask the retailer if it isn't attached to the jacket.

Care instructions label on the inside of a denim garment

Before You Wash Your Bomber Jacket

Because bomber jackets are sometimes stuffed with down or cotton and made of delicate fabric that could tear in the washing machine, it is important to secure any metal or plastic fasteners that could catch the fabric and rip it. Before you wash the jacket in the washing machine, do the following:

  • Button any buttons.
  • Zip up the zipper.
  • Check the pockets for any items and remove them.
  • Remove the hood, if possible.
  • Remove any removable fur; if it isn't removable, don't wash a jacket with fur in the washing machine.

Using the Washing Machine for Bomber Jackets

When washing your nylon jacket in the washing machine, wash it by itself or with other materials made of nylon. Other materials may require different settings to clean them properly. 

Laundry guide vector icons, symbols collection set

best mild detergents for nylon

Mild detergents are detergents that work well for dissolving grease and dirt without using harsh chemicals or leaving residue behind. However, any detergent that is labeled "free and clear" or eco-friendly is also considered mild.

Woolite is a popular mild detergent brand; see it here on Amazon.

Try this Arm & Hammer free and clear detergent from Amazon.

For an eco-friendly detergent, try this plant-based one, also from Amazon.

washing machine setting & temperature

The best setting to use for washing bomber jackets is the delicate cycle using cold water. Using these settings will prevent the fabric from shrinking and keep the jacket from getting shaken around too much in the washing machine, reducing the chance of getting ripped or damaged. It would be best if you skipped the spin cycle for the same reason.

dry on lowest temperature or hang to air dry

Hot temperatures can shrink nylon or even cause it to melt. If you must use the dryer, use the lowest temperature setting possible, or use the "air dry" setting instead. Hanging the jacket to dry is the best method for drying it.

Hand-Washing Bomber Jackets

For bomber jackets that are made of wool, it is best to wash them by hand. To hand-wash a jacket, follow these steps:

  1. Fill the sink with cold water.
  2. Pour a mild detergent into the sink.
  3. Clean any stains off the jacket by scrubbing the jacket fabric against itself.
  4. Wring the detergent out and rinse it with cool water to remove any extra.
  5. Wring out any excess water.
  6. Hang the jacket to dry.

How to Care for a Leather Bomber Jacket?

If your bomber jacket is made of leather, the care regime is different. Water and leather don't mix well, so it is better that you don't wash a leather jacket in the washing machine. Instead, treat the leather with a water and stain protector before wearing it (read the label before use to make sure you apply it correctly). Reapply every few months if you wear your leather jacket frequently. If your jacket does become stained with something other than water, take it to be dry-cleaned.

Try this water and stain repellent for leather.

In addition to water-resistant spray, you can also use a leather conditioner to protect your leather jacket from water damage. Leather conditioner helps to waterproof your jacket and keep it feeling soft and looking new. If the jacket does get wet, let the water dry naturally; don't put it in the dryer! For other leather-cleaning suggestions, check out our guide to cleaning leather handbags.

Check out this leather conditioner on Amazon.

How to Care for a Suede Bomber Jacket?

Similar to leather, suede jackets require special care. Spray the jacket with a suede protector before wearing it. Spray again once a month during times when you wear your jacket frequently.

See this suede boot protector on Amazon; it works well for jackets too.

For minor stains on your suede jacket, rub a suede block on the stain, then follow up with a suede brush, brushing in the natural direction of the suede. Even if you don't have stains, suede jackets should be brushed regularly to keep them soft. It is best for larger stains to take your suede jacket to be dry-cleaned rather than trying to clean it yourself at home.

This suede care kit has everything you need to keep your suede jacket looking new; see it on Amazon.

How should you wash an Alpha bomber jacket?

Alpha bomber jackets come in many different styles. Some of the styles recommend dry clean only, while others say they can be machine-washed using cold water and tumble dried on low.

Before purchasing an Alpha bomber jacket, read the care instructions for the particular jacket that you want so that you know how to care for it properly. For machine-washable Alpha jackets, follow the tips we've previously mentioned in this guide to prepare and wash the jacket.

Can you tumble dry a bomber jacket?

Bomber jackets are better off being hung to let them air dry. But if you don't have time to wait on it to dry, it can be tumble dried as long as you use a low setting. Because they are made of delicate materials and some are filled with down, using a high-temperature dryer setting can cause the jacket to shrink, melt, or become misshapen. As always, follow the recommended care instructions on the garment label.

How do you get stains out of a nylon jacket?

Nylon is a delicate fabric, and clothing worn frequently, such as jackets, tend to gather stains. Nylon can be cleaned with household products, but you should clean a nylon jacket with care to protect it from damage. Follow these steps to remove stains from a nylon jacket:

  1. If the stain is still wet, use a clean paper towel to blot the area.
  2. If the stain is dry, use a dull knife (e.g., a butter knife) to gently scrape it away. 
  3. Use a mild liquid detergent to spot clean the stain with a wet towel with a few drops of detergent.
  4. Rub the stain out in a circular motion using a wet towel.
  5. If the jacket is machine-washable, wash it using the methods outlined in this guide. If not, have it dry-cleaned.
  6. Hang the jacket to air dry.


There isn't one way to clean a bomber jacket, but the important thing to remember is to follow the care instructions on the label carefully and use the right products. Some bomber jackets are easier to care for by just taking them to be dry-cleaned, especially if you don't have time to care for them yourself. By following the proper care instructions, your bomber jacket will last for a long time.

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