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How to Clean a Letterman (Varsity) Jacket?

how to wash a varsity jacket

Murat avartani |

Letterman jackets, or varsity jackets, aren't just clothes. They're symbols of accomplishment and pride. Whether they're decorated with sports team patches or academic symbols, these jackets mean a lot to people. But to keep them clean and looking great, you need to take special care of them. In this guide, we'll talk about how to clean your Letterman jacket, so it stays special for a long time. 

What is a Varsity Jacket?

A varsity jacket, also called a Letterman jacket, is a classic piece of clothing that high school and college students often wear to show off their success in school or sports. It usually has a wool body, sleeves made of leather or fake leather, and patches or fancy stitching that represent their school or their achievements. 

Understanding Your Letterman Jacket Materials 

Before you start cleaning your Letterman jacket, it's important to know what it's made of. Most Letterman jackets have a wool body and leather or fake leather sleeves, plus some cool patches and designs.

  • Wool: Wool keeps you warm and lasts a long time, but you need to treat it gently to keep it from shrinking or getting out of shape.
  • Leather: Whether it's real or fake, leather sleeves give jackets a timeless look. Just make sure to clean them properly to avoid any damage.
Varsity Jacket

Pre-Cleaning Preparations

  • Check the Care Label: Look at the tag on your jacket before you start cleaning it. The tag tells you how the manufacturer suggests you clean it.

  • Spot Test: If you're trying out a new cleaning product or method, test it on a tiny, hidden part of the jacket first to make sure it won't ruin or change the color.

Also Read: 11 Awesome Ways to Style a Letterman Jacket!

How to Clean a Letterman Jacket: Methods and Tips

Hand Washing:

  • Fill up a basin with lukewarm water and put in some gentle wool detergent. 

  • Dip the jacket in and move it around gently to get rid of any dirt or stains.

  • Rinse the jacket well with cold water to wash away any soap left.

  • Carefully squeeze out any extra water and lay the jacket flat on a clean towel to dry. Keep it away from sunlight or heat.

Spot Cleaning: 

When you've got small stains, you can usually get rid of them with spot cleaning. Just grab a gentle stain remover or mix some mild detergent with water.  

Then, take a clean cloth and gently dab at the stained spot, starting from the outside and moving towards the center. This helps stop the stain from spreading. 

Dry Cleaning: 

If your jacket has fancy designs or is made of delicate materials, it's usually best to get it dry cleaned by professionals. Look for a trustworthy dry cleaner who knows how to take care of wool and leather clothes. 

Tips for Maintenance

  • Storage: When you're not wearing your Letterman jacket, keep it in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight and dampness. 

  • Patch Care: Don't iron directly onto the patches or embroidery. Instead, put a cloth over them before ironing. 

  • Regular Inspections: Every now and then, check your jacket for any damage or signs of wear like loose threads or color fading. Fix any problems you find right away to stop them from getting worse. 


Taking care of a Letterman jacket needs you to be careful and pay close attention to details. If you clean it the right way and follow maintenance tips, you can keep your jacket special for a long time. Whether it reminds you of high school wins or college accomplishments, your Letterman jacket should get top-notch care.

Also Read: What Are Stacked Jeans and How To Style It?

FAQs about cleaning a Varsity Jacket 

Can you wash a varsity jacket in the washing machine? 

It's usually not a good idea to wash a varsity jacket in a washing machine because the spinning and strong detergents can ruin the wool and leather. It's better to wash it by hand or take it to a dry cleaner. 

How do you clean a high school letterman jacket? 

Just follow the cleaning tips in this guide. You might need to hand wash, do spot cleaning, or get it dry cleaned by a professional if needed. And always check the care label on the jacket for exact instructions. 

How do you clean a sticky letterman jacket? 

If there's sticky stuff on your letterman jacket, you can usually get rid of it with some mild soap or a gentle cleaner. But before you go all in, try it out on a hidden spot first to make sure it won't mess up the fabric or any patches. 

How do you wash a satin varsity jacket? 

Be careful with satin varsity jackets to keep them in good shape. Follow the care instructions from the maker, usually meaning washing gently by hand with a mild soap and letting it air dry on a flat surface.