Leather Stain Removal: Guide to Getting Out Common Stains

Published May 5, 2021
Stained Black Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Cleaning leather can be scary. Why? Because you don't want to ruin it. Try out a few proven methods for removing leather stains from furniture, shoes, purses, and clothes.

Understanding Your Leather

Before you start removing any stains from leather, you need to remember that all leather is not created equal. Leather typically comes in two different types.

  • Unfinished leather - softer, richer, more natural look
  • Pigmented leather - not as soft as unfinished leather, more durable

When it comes to unfinished leather, it's important to contact a professional before attempting any cleaning methods, because this type of leather is very delicate. Therefore, you could cause damage.

Leather Stain Cleaning Materials

If you choose to clean your leather stains at home, you need to grab a few different materials before you start.

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Leather conditioner
  • Cornstarch
  • Ink removal stick
  • White vinegar (Also good for cleaning faux leather)
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Cotton swab
  • Shoe polish
  • Lemon
  • Cream of tartar

How to Remove Leather Ink Stains

When it comes to ink stains on your leather couch, grab the rubbing alcohol and a cloth.

  1. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol.
  2. Rub the ink stain using circular motions.
  3. Allow it to dry.

If the rubbing alcohol isn't getting anywhere, you can grab an ink removal stick for leather. Apply it following the instructions on the package.

Get Oil Stains Out of Leather

You're out to eat with friends and get a dollop of Italian dressing on your pristine leather jacket. While it's completely annoying, it's not the end of the world. To attack this stain, you need some corn starch.

  1. Blot at the stain with a microfiber cloth or napkin to remove as much of the actual oil you can.
  2. Sprinkle cornstarch on the area.
  3. Let it sit for 8-12 hours.
  4. Brush the cornstarch off.
  5. Add a bit of Dawn to water.
  6. Create a good foam.
  7. Grab the foam with a sponge and gently scrub the area.
  8. Allow it to dry.
  9. Condition the area.

How to Remove Sweat Stains From Leather

If you've ever worn a leather jacket, then sweat is inevitable. However, that doesn't mean you need to deal with the stain on your favorite pants. Instead, grab the Dawn.

  1. Make a foamy solution of Dawn and water.
  2. Put the foam on a sponge or cloth.
  3. Use circular motions on the sweat stains.
  4. Wipe with a dry cloth.
  5. Add a conditioner.

Remove Water Leather Stains

Don't let your favorite leather purse getting caught in the rain ruin your day. You just need to grab the white vinegar.

  1. Create a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water.
  2. Dampen a cloth with the solution.
  3. Gently work it over the water spots.
  4. Allow drying time.
  5. Condition the leather.

Get Salt Stains Out of Leather

Salt is a big issue on your leather shoes. However, it is relatively easy to get rid of with a little bit of white vinegar.

  1. Mix vinegar and water in a 1:1 solution.
  2. Dip a cloth in the mixture.
  3. Wring it out.
  4. Work it over the stain.
  5. Repeat until the stain is completely gone.
  6. Add a bit of shoe polish to provide a barrier.

Get Rid of a Dark Leather Stain

If you've got a dark stain on your leather car seat or furniture, then you can use lemon to get rid of it.

  1. Create a 1:1 mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar.
  2. Apply it to the stain.
  3. Let it sit for about 15 minutes or so.
  4. Wipe with a clean cloth.
  5. Reapply as needed.

How to Get Stains Out of Leather

Leather can be one of the more difficult materials in your home to get clean. However, if you find that you are having trouble with a stain, try any of these different remedies. You've got the cleaning know-how, so it's time to tackle that leather.

Leather Stain Removal: Guide to Getting Out Common Stains