The proper way to wash Souvenir Jacket and How to keep them clean

Could we wash the“Souvenir Jacket”?

Some people could be scared of washing the Yokosuka Jacket (a.k.a “Sukajan”) at home.

Because, we could possibly ruin the most important part of this piece of clothing. The Embroidery.

Traditionary, The Manufacturers of The “Sukajan” uses their hands or the sewing machine to put the embroidery on the jacket. 

Therefore the embroidery is very fragile, And we could possibly damage the jacket if we try to wash them in a laundry machine at home.

Check the Washing Instruction

You could take a look at the Washing Instruction on the Jacket to see if we are able to wash that specific piece of clothing at home or not.

If the label says “Hand wash”or “ Mechanical action reduced”, you could use our laundry machine at home to wash the jacket. 

On the other hand, If the label has “Dry” mark, We should not wash the jacket with our laundry machine at home.

It’s fairly awful if we fail to wash them properly

The Fabric could shrink or The Gloss of the jacket could become weak, If you wash the jacket in a wrong way. 

Or the worse case scenario, The Embroidery Thread could shrink and the surface of The Embroidery could become Bumpy and Ugly, Even Worse The Embroidery could be destroyed.

How to wash them in a Laundry Machine

1. Turn them inside out

Close all the snaps or the buttons, and zippers of the jacket. Then turn them inside out. If The Jacket is reversible and you couldn’t tell which is inside or the outside, Just turn the side of the Embroidery inside.

2. Use The “Neutral Detergent”

Put the inside out jacket in the laundry net, Then dump it in The Laundry Machine.

Use The Neutral Detergent, Detergents like Emal or Acron. (These detergents are both from Japanese Company. If you are In North America, use the detergent that has “delicate” label on it for the replacement.)

3. Choose The “Hand Wash Mode” on your laundry machine

Choose The “Hand Wash Mode” or The “Dry Mode” on your laundry machine settings. Make sure to put enough water even though, you are only going to wash one “Sukajan”. The Jacket will absorb ton of water, If the jacket has cotton fillings inside.

The jacket could hit the inside of the laundry machine frequently, and could damage The Embroidery, if we don’t use enough water.

4. “Spin-Dry” Time has to be shorter than usual

We could shorten up The Spin-Dry Time. You won’t have to change the settings If the Dry Mode setting is already set as 3 minutes. Take The “Sukajan” out of the laundry, Then Air Dry the jacket right after The Dry-Spin is done.

5. Fix the shape of The “Sukajan”, And Air Dry it at a Shade

Choose the Airy and Shady place to Air Dry the jacket. Keep the jacket inside out but make sure to fix the shape, then hang them to dry. Like i said before, If the Jacket has fillings inside, It probably absorbed ton of water. If we try to hang them dry while The Jacket still has water inside, The weight of the water could ruin the lines of the jacket. In this case, use the plain dry net and keep them flat. Then Air Dry the jacket.

How to Hand wash

1. Fill the sink or wash basin up with water

If you have a massive bathroom sink that could fit the Jacket in with no problem, you are good to go. If not, Make sure to prepare a huge wash basin. The “Sukajan” will be bloated when it absorb water, so you will need a big sink or a big wash basin. It would not fit in a normal size sink. If you don’t own either of those things, use the bathtub or a portable vinyl pool. If you don’t want your hands to be red, put a set of vinyl gloves on to prevent your hand to become rough hands.

2. Put the “Neutral Detergent” in the water, Then sink the jacket in it

Put the neutral detergent like Emal in the water and make sure it dissolves. Sink The “Sukajan” in the detergent water. Make sure the jacket is all the way in. At first, use your hand to keep the jacket all the way in, make sure the jacket absorb the detergent water. Please hand wash by gently pushing it up and down in the water. Stains on The “Sukajan” will slowly be gone by pushing it up and then down multiple times.

3. Gently wash them by pushing the jacket up and down. Then rinse it

After a short time, The water will turn grey from the Stains that was previously on the jacket. If that happens, dump the old and grey water out of the sink(or the wash basin) and poor the new and clean water in and gently start pushing the jacket up and down again . This time, you are going to rinse the jacket, so you won’t need to pour the detergent in. You will have to do push the jacket up and down, and change the water until all the bubbles from the detergent is out of the jacket.

4. Spin-Dry The “Sukajan”, and then air dry it in a shade

Once you are finished with all the rinsing, put the jacket in your laundry machine and Spin-Dry it. If your laundry machine allowed you to edit the Spin-Dry settings, Set the timer for 1 minute. If not, you could also use The “Dry Mode” and wait 1~3 minutes to be ready to air dry the jacket. Just like i told you before, Dry the jacket in airly and shady spot.

Bring the “Sukajan” to a dry-cleaning spot.

1. Pros of using the dry-cleaning spot

Fundamentally, Using the dry-cleaning spot is the safest bet when it come to washing The “Sukajan”. Since The “Sukajan” is so easy to match with your outfit and you might want to keep them around all the time, so just in case you want to wear them again it’s right there, It may feels like Washing this jacket home is a way quicker and also a better option. But if you are the person who cares about keeping The “Sukajan” in a good shape for the long time, using the dry-cleaning spot would be the best option for you.

Most of the dry-cleaning spots will find and use the best way to wash and dry that specific piece of clothing, depends on what fabrics are used on the clothes.

2. Situations when you want to use the dry-cleaning

If you own a vintage or one and only type of “Sukajan”, I recommend you to bring the jacket to a dry-cleaning spot for the best result. If you bought a replica of the initial model or you got the “Sukajan” from a thrift store, i also recommend you to use the dry-cleaning spot. Most of the replica of the older model “Sukajan” uses the the similar fabric of the older jackets. This could be a problem when it comes to washing them at home, Because these detergent that are out on a market right now could be not suitable for those older fabric.

Even for a normal “Sukajan”, if you got a stain on the jacket, you’ll get a better result by bring the jacket to a dry-cleaning spot.

How to Maintain The “Sukajan”

1. When the jacket got wet from the rain

1-1. The “Sukajan” got wet from the rain

If the “Sukajan” that you own isn’t washable with water, the rain could leave a circle shaped stains on the jacket. Also if your “Sukajan” uses rayon or silk as a fabric, wrinkles might appear or even worse, the colour of the jacket could become little odd. Specially the Embroidery part of the jacket is very sensitive. The rain could shrink the Embroidery, and make it looks bumpy. The shape of the jacket could become diffrent as well.

1-2. How to take good care of the “Sukajan”

It’s very simple. Avoid wearing the “Sukajan” it the label on it says “unwashable”.

If the jacket got wet by an accident, put a soft and dry cloth on the jacket, take most of the waters out. Then hang them to dry in a airly and shady spot.

2. When you find wrinkles on your “Sukajan”

2-1. Don’t use a Iron on the jacket

You might find some wrinkles on the jacket after you are done drying it. Or wrinkles appears out of nowhere while you are wearing the jacket. When those things happens, do not rush out and rely on a iron. Traditionary, The “Sukajan” uses a fabric called “Satin”. This fabric doesn’t go well with high temperature heat. If you use the iron on the “Sukajan”, The luster or the texture could become different, and could ruin “The look”. So be very cautious.

2-2. You could use a Steam Iron

If you really want to fix those wrinkles that you found on the jacket, use a steam iron. But do not let the steam iron touch the jacket. Keep few centimetres away from the jacket itself and try to make the wrinkles disappear.

3. When the Embroidery start to come apart

3-1. Fix the fray. ASAP

The Embroidery could start to come apart when you wash the “Sukajan”.

This could also happen when the Embroidery part got caught with something accidently. When the Embroidery start to come apart, the best thing to do is obviously fixing it as soon as possible. If you leave it like that for a long time, the entire embroidery could be come apart, and ruin the design.

3-2. How to fix the fray

-Use the Fabric glue

Make sure to prepare a fabric glue. It’s usually pretty easy to find a fabric glue in craft section at a store, but you have to be aware of one thing. It has to have the “Washable” label on the bottle of the fabric glue. For example, “Bondo nuno jouzu” (made by japanese company) has “washable” label on the bottle, and it is safe to apply on the “Sukajan” before you put them in laundry machine. On the other hand, most of the craft craft glue on the market won’t have a “washable” label on their bottles. The glue will dissolve in the water, if you apply them on the “Sukajan” and put it in the laundry machine.

- Use the pike

If you want to fix the embroidery more specifically, use a pike. Pike is a craft glue that’s designed specifically for hand crafts. It could be used for fixing a embroidery, or replace a overcasting. The pike does not become solid like fabric glue. Therefore we can keep the texture of the embroidery just as good as new. When you use the pike, put a little bit of pike on the tip of something skinny and pointy like a toothpick, then apply it on where it’s coming apart.

-Another way to use the fabric glue

Fix The part where the embroidery thread coming apart and make sure it’s flat. Apply a tiny bit of a fabric glue to where it’s fraying, then hide the fray behind the other colours. The glue becomes clear when it drys out, and you won’t even be able to tell where it was fraying.


I’ve told you a few ways to wash and take care of the “Sukajan”, but that’s all for now.

The main fabric of the traditional “Japanese Souvenir Jacket” are satin or velveteen. Both of the fabrics are washable with water. But some satin fabric are made of polyester or rayon which usually shrinks, that’s why you have to be very careful about how to properly wash this specific piece of clothing.

I hope you could use these techniques that i introduced to you here and keep the “Bomber Jacket” in a great shape for a long time! 

  • Apr 24, 2019
  • Category: Article
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