The Ultimate Guide: How to Wash Motorcycle Pants Like a Pro

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It feels awesome to go on those long rides with the steady hum of that engine between your legs and miles and miles of open landscape. But any experienced rider will know that safety is paramount and should always come first. Hence the wonderful piece of gear that we wear on those legs, and that is why motorcycle pants are essential for every biker out there. 

Now here comes the issue, wearing them for extended periods of time results in the inevitable buildup of sweat, dirt, and grime. Washing them is the only way to get rid of this build-up so that you can keep your motorcycle pants in top condition and make sure they last for a long time. Not to mention also keep that nasty funk away. It is important to keep them clean and well-maintained, so here are some helpful tips on how to wash motorcycle pants.

After all, who wants to be seen wearing dirty pants covered in dust, dirt, and grime, and what else not? In this post, we will go over various kinds of motorcycle pants and the methods you can use to wash them. 

How To Wash Motorcycle Pants

Of course, any normal person’s first instinct would be to machine wash them. However, this isn’t always the best option. Many motorcycle pants are made of leather and can be easily damaged by a machine wash. And Leather is one material that cannot simply be washed with water like other materials. 

But what about the denim or mesh, you might be wondering, sadly even those need a bit of extra care, as they too can be damaged if not cleaned in the correct manner. The breathable membrane has its own special care instructions, so make sure to check those before you start cleaning. That being said, here are some helpful steps you can follow in cleaning your motorcycle pants safely. 

Steps For Washing Riding Pants With Breathable Membrane

Breathable riding pants demand a different kind of maintenance than mesh and textile jackets do. As your waterproofing capabilities start to fade, it’s an obvious signal that you should recharge the fabrics in order to stay at peak performance every time you ride! Here are the steps to follow for cleaning this kind of motorcycle pants:

1. Begin by reading the care instructions on your label to make sure you don’t damage the breathable membrane. 

2. Start off by gently brushing away any dirt or mud that may have accumulated on the surface of your pants. 

3. Now fill a basin with cool water and add just enough mild detergent to create a light lather; mix it around using your hands until it’s well combined 

4. Place your motorcycle pants inside the basin and let them soak in the soapy solution for about 10 minutes before removing them from the water.

5. Now rinse the pants with clean water and make sure to remove any traces of detergent as well.

6. Gently pat them down with a dry cloth or let them air dry before wearing them again. 

7. If your motorcycle pants have leather patches, then use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to carefully scrub away at those spots without damaging the material in the process. 

Typical cleaning products leave behind a layer of residue that can mask the waterproof qualities of your riding pants and make them absorb more water. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to steer clear of these detergents when washing off breathable membranes on your gear.

8. To rejuvenate the Durable Water-Repellent (DWR) treatment on your pants, once they are dry, tumble dry them for a period of 20 minutes.

9. If it’s not possible to tumble dry, you can reactivate the DWR treatment on your garment’s outer fabric by gently ironing with no steam and a towel or cloth in between.

10. If the factory-applied water repellent on your garment has been exhausted, use Nikwax to keep it waterproof. This product is available in pump-spray or wash-in forms and should be applied directly onto the fabric’s outer layer for maximum protection against moisture.

Please Note: Avoid touching Nikwax or similar products with your naked hands!

Steps For Cleaning Textile / Mesh Riding Pants 

best motorcycle mesh pants

When it comes to Textile or Mesh motorcycle pants, the rules are quite simple: 

1. If your pants have any liners. Remove all or any present along with the knee and hip armor from the pants.

2. Prior to washing, take a moment to inspect all pockets for any items that might be left behind. You don’t want your hard-earned cash or other valuable belongings going down the drain! Additionally, ensure you have opened and secured all zippers and chains in every pocket.

3. With a soft brush or cloth, delicately wipe off the riding pants to rid them of dust and grime, and use a soft brush and clean water if necessary.

4. To maximize efficiency and save energy, only fill the washing machine with half of its total water capacity and stick to using only mild detergent; bleach, strong detergents, and fabric softeners should be avoided at all costs. Do not use the intensive rinse cycle of any washing machine.

5. Under no circumstances should you spin dry your riding pants in a washing machine. To properly dry your riding pants, hang them on a hanger and place them in the washroom until no dripping of water can be seen.

6. It is essential to always hang your garments until they are fully dry, as opposed to drying them in the sun. This can be detrimental and may cause fading of colors over time.

7. Once the pants are completely dry to the touch, you may add the liners and armor back to the pants. 

Steps For Cleaning Leather Pants 

best leather motorcycle pants

Now when it comes to leather, it’s a whole other story. Leather needs extra special attention and care for it to remain in pristine condition. 

1. Begin by applying a gentle foam leather cleaner according to its instructions; this will help remove any dirt or grime from the surface of the leather. 

2. If your pants have been through some extreme weather conditions, you may need to use a more thorough cleaning to break down those tough stains. Always read the labels and instructions carefully before applying any solutions to leather items.

3. After cleaning, rinse the entire area with plenty of clean water and pat dry with a soft cloth; lint-free microfiber towels work best here as they are designed not to leave behind fibers that could interfere with your garment’s texture & appearance 

4. To restore the leather to its natural shine, use a leather conditioner 

5. Lastly, for optimal protection against moisture and the elements, it’s best to apply and spray impregnation spray. This keeps your gear water-resistant and protects it against dirt, and will help prevent any water from seeping into the material, keeping it in top shape for many rides to come! 

Steps For Cleaning Denim Motorcycle Pants

Men's Motorcycle Riding Pants Denim Jeans Protect Pads Equipment with Knee and Hip Armor Pads VES6 (Blue, S=28)

The easiest of the bunch, denim motorcycle pants require little more than a good wash. 

1. Start by removing any liners and armor from the riding jeans, as these can be washed on their own in mild detergent or soap. 

2. With the help of a soft brush or cloth, delicately clean off your jeans to rid them of surface dirt and grime first. 

3. Use cold water only and gentle laundry detergent to ensure that no damage is caused during the cleaning process. Warm/hot water may cause shrinkage and discoloration if applied for too long!

4. After rinsing with cold water, let air dry naturally for the denim’s original stiffness to return. Just hang your jeans and leave them to dry as long as it’s not directly in the sun. 

5. Once completely dry, you may add back any liners or armors to the pants, and you’re ready to hit the road again! 

What Detergents Should You Use

Strive for a neutral pH level of 7 to achieve the best results. Likewise, fabric softener should be prevented since it could restrict airflow between fibers. Plus, some detergents and softeners may cause your elastic fabrics to fit looser than anticipated, so abstain from using any type of chemical like bleach or having them dry-cleaned, as this process uses solvents that can harm your garments instantaneously.

Maintaining Textile Motorcycle Pants Tips

Just like leather, textile motorcycle clothing requires regular cleaning and maintenance to stay looking good and functioning optimally. To keep your equipment dry and safe from dirt or other pollutants, remember to spray it with an impregnation solution regularly. Hand-washing your garments with a special detergent will not damage the membranes or breathable fabrics that they contain.

If you want your motorcycle clothing to last, do not use any fabric softeners when washing. Additionally, waterproof membranes should be kept out of the washing machine and away from sources of heat or direct sunlight in order to preserve them effectively. The microscopic pores on a jacket or pants can become clogged with dirt over time.


So, when it comes to taking care of your motorcycle clothing, it’s important to understand the material they are made of and what type of cleaning product is best suited for them. Always remember to read instructions carefully and only use the cleaning products recommended for your items. Proper care and maintenance of your leather or textile motorcycle clothing will not only help them last longer but also preserve their protective qualities, keeping you safe on the road! 

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