Can you wash lederhosen? And should you? (2024)

Lederhosen are not trousers just like any other – everyone knows that. With their robustness in the face of years of use, they have always been made to face wear and tear, which is why – just like good traditional jeans and biker’s jackets – they are a darn site cooler once they’ve got some wear and tear, the off scuff and scratch to show their age. So crucial is the vintage look to lederhosen’s appeal that many of the most popular new designs come ready-distressed. This means that the most obvious answer to the title question is “No way!”.

All the more since you can’t just put leathers into washing machine with everything else. Textiles like cotton, linen, and synthetic fibres can handle warm water and detergents, but leather – despite being able to stand up to a lifetime of Alpine agricultural use – just can’t. This is, in fact, the one area in which leather breeches are more demanding that suits, dresses and other things that need dry cleaning: outside of Bavaria, you can’t just take them to the cleaners and pick them up a week later (Bavaria, of course, has specialised lederhosen restorers…).

So if you can’t put your pair of lederhosen in the wash, and if they look better used anyway, why would anyone even think of washing them?

Reasons to wash lederhosen

Can you wash lederhosen? And should you? (1)There are, however, plenty of reasons to take care of your favourite lederhosen – especially at this time of year, when you couldn’t be further away from the Oktoberfest and you’ve got months on end in which you won’t need to wear them. While small marks or signs of use here may be part of the look, you might have noticed some larger stains that looked like badges of honour in the hungover dimness of last autumn, but which, on sober inspection a few months later, appear to be somewhat more serious…

Furthermore, beyond its appearance, leather covered by an overly-thick a layer of dirt – often lovingly-but-wrongly thought of as part and parcel of the “vintage look” – can no longer breathe. And when leather can’t breathe, it gets stiffer, less comfortable, and sweatier to wear.

So whether it’s slightly out-of-control dirt or a couple of bad stains you’ve noticed, your lederhosen needs a bit of care and attention. That doesn’t mean cleaning them, though, as you might expect, but washing them in water. Sounds wrong, right? As mentioned above, water can be damaging to leather. But leather should be washed wet, because it’s not the water itself, but strong detergents, fast spin-cycles, and changes in temperature that do damage.

How to wash your lederhosen

So if your favourite leathers need a spruce up before this year’s summer festivals and, of course, the Oktoberfest, here’s how to do it:

1. Wash by hand in a bowl of lukewarm water.

2. Use a natural soap especially for leather (check organic stores or try this).

3. After washing, dry slowly at room temperature, moving them regularly and bringing them into shape as you do so.

5. Once dry, kneed the leather gently and then brush it to return it to its original form.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? Bingo! It is. But your personal favourite lederhosen will reward you by lasting another five-to-ten years. A lot of work? Sounds like a good deal.

Can you wash lederhosen? And should you? (2024)


Can lederhosen be washed? ›

Hot water can cause the leather in your pants to crack, harden, or otherwise deform, so stay away from it. For tougher stains, spot cleaning with special leather cleaners and as little water as possible is the best method. After hand-washing your lederhosen, be patient and allow them to air dry at room temperature.

How to condition lederhosen? ›

The worn look of leather is appreciated by many, so some bruises and abrasions will make your Lederhosen one of a kind. Keep an eye on your Lederhosen; introduce some moisture to its surface if you see it drying out. You can do this easily by moisturizing the material with some quality leather cream or oil.

How to store lederhosen long term? ›

The Right storage

The material of lederhosen is usually very hard-wearing. That's why you can hang them up or store them folded up. However, the leather needs to be able to breathe, so you should never wrap them in plastic. To keep the color of the leather pants, you should keep them out of the sun.

How do you clean suede lederhosen? ›

How to wash your lederhosen
  1. Wash by hand in a bowl of lukewarm water.
  2. Use a natural soap especially for leather (check organic stores or try this).
  3. After washing, dry slowly at room temperature, moving them regularly and bringing them into shape as you do so.

Should lederhosen be tight or loose? ›

A pair of lederhosen fits perfectly when it is tight, but doesn't pinch anywhere. To make sure you get this flush fit, you need to know your exact measurements – both waist and hips, at their widest point.

What are authentic lederhosen made of? ›

Traditional lederhosen are hand made of tanned deer leather which makes the pants soft and light but very tearproof.

How do you condition leather clothes? ›

Allow the item to completely air dry before using. Follow with a leather conditioner to keep your leather products soft and supple. Add a small amount to a microfiber cloth, massage into the time with gentle circular motions, then wipe off any excess with a separate, dry microfiber cloth.

How do you condition light leather? ›

DIY leather conditioner: Mix one part linseed oil, one part baby shampoo, two parts white vinegar, and eight parts warm water in a spray bottle. As with the soap and water method, dampen a soft cloth with the mixture and apply it to the leather. Then, use a separate dry soft cloth to buff away the mixture.

How do you wear Bundhosen? ›

Traditional Lederhosen has always been somewhat formal attire. So, you should choose a button-down long-sleeve shirt to wear with Lederhosen to complete the look. The worst thing you can do is wear a casual T-shirt under these leather breeches.

How much does lederhosen cost at Oktoberfest? ›

Authentic lederhosen cost between €300 and €500. Add in a belt for €40-50, a Pfoad shirt for €80, a leather vest for around €90, knee socks and Haferlschuhe, which cost around €90 together, and a Loden jacket that runs you about €190. For a dirndl, prices aren't much lower.

What does lederhosen mean in German? ›

"Leather Pants") is used in English to refer specifically to the traditional leather breeches worn by men in Austria, Bavaria (namely Upper Bavaria), South Tyrol and Slovenia. The term Trachten Lederhose is often used in German to avoid confusion with other types of leather pants.

Can lederhosen get wet? ›

This is how the Lederhose survives the wet wash undamaged

The most important rule: Never use hot water for hand washing, because this makes the leather hard as a board and destroys any wearing comfort.

How to spot clean lederhosen? ›

The best way is to clean them by hand in a bowl of lukewarm water, but never hot water, since it will ruin the leather. Do not use regular soap, either; only use a detergent designed specially to clean leather in small amounts. Once you're done cleaning Lederhosen for stain or dust, dry them slowly at room temperature.

Why does vinegar clean suede? ›

If the stain still won't come off after using the suede rubber, you should try something else. White vinegar is acidic and will break down the clumps causing the scuffs.

Do you wear anything under lederhosen? ›

Worn with a linen or cotton shirt, woolly socks, and sturdy shoes, these leather breeches are an iconic item of clothing with a high recognition factor worldwide. There isn't only one single type of lederhosen, though.

How often do Germans wear lederhosen? ›

Lederhosen has been around since the 18th century, but to many, it may cross the question, “Do people in Germany wear lederhosen?” The answer is simply “YES.” But it is not worn by all Germans and isn't worn every day. Lederhosen is mostly embraced in southern Germany, especially in Bavaria.

Can you iron lederhosen? ›

Hang Your Lederhosen after Use

If you fold the Lederhosen after use and put it aside, the leather can wrinkle up. This gives the Lederhosen a terrible look and ironing the leather is not a feasible option to get rid of the wrinkles from the Lederhosen.

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