How to Remove Stains from Leather

How to Remove Stains from Leather hero.

From couches and car seats to purses and shoes, there’s a lot of leather in your life, and all of it is at risk of staining. When you discover a stain on one of your favorite leather items, don’t fret. Most stains, even ones on leather, aren’t permanent, but prompt and proper stain removal is essential in preserving the quality and longevity of leather. Learn how to remove stains from leather with these tips from our experts.

Note: Before you begin, check the tag for manufacturer cleaning instructions.

Types of Leather Stains

When it comes to cleaning leather, it's essential to categorize common stains based on their origin: water, oil, grease, ink, and dyes. Each type of stain can have a distinct impact on leather, and addressing them requires specific cleaning techniques to maintain the material's integrity and appearance.

Water stains, for instance, can leave discolored patches, but they are often reversible with careful drying. On the other hand, oil and grease stains tend to be more stubborn, as they can darken leather and seep deeply into its fibers.

Ink stains are notoriously difficult to deal with and risk causing permanent damage if not treated promptly. Lastly, dyes from clothing or accessories can transfer color, particularly onto lighter leather items, posing a challenge when it comes to stain removal.

Stain Removal Methods for Leather

Ballpoint pen tip, scribbling on a white leather sofa.

Different types of stains require different approaches to stain removal. For water stains, start by gently blotting the excess moisture using a clean, absorbent cloth. Let your leather air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources. This method helps the leather recover its original appearance without rushing the process.

Now, if you've had the misfortune of dealing with an ink stain, there's a straightforward tactic to remove it. Take a cotton swab, dampen it with rubbing alcohol or a mild soap solution, and gently dab the stain. Carefully rinse the area with clean water and pat it dry using a soft cloth, making sure not to rub the stain further into the leather. With this method, you'll know how to remove ink from leather.

Dealing with oil and grease stains? Sprinkle a bit of cornstarch or baking soda on the affected area, and allow it to sit for a few hours to absorb the oil. Once it’s absorbed, brush off the powder and wipe gently with a clean cloth.

Preventive Measures

Hand with yellow soft sponge cleaning stains on the surface of a brown leather bag.

There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your leather stays in tip-top shape.

First, shield it from too much sunlight and moisture. Think of it as protecting your leather's well-being. Here's where a regular cleaning routine comes into play. Grab a soft, dry cloth and give your leather a gentle dusting from time to time. This keeps dirt and grime at bay, ensuring your leather looks its best.

But that's not all. You can also treat your leather with a high-quality leather conditioner to keep it supple and prevent unwanted cracks.

And last but not least, when accidents happen, such as spills, clean up right away. Your leather will thank you!

General Leather Care Tips

Hand wiping brown leather sofa with a cloth.

When you understand how to clean leather car seats, couches, recliners, and accessories, you can effectively maintain the integrity and appearance of your leather possessions.

To steer clear of unsightly stains and maintain that supple feel, use specialized leather care products that match your specific leather type. Think of them as your leather items’ best friends, nourishing them without causing any harm.

Stay away from those harsh chemicals and abrasive materials. Using such tough stuff can lead to drying, cracking, and other frustrating issues. Even when tackling questions such as how to remove mold from leather, it’s best to take a gentle approach.

Stain Removal Recommendations

When it comes to figuring out how to remove stains from leather, your choice of products is key. Opt for a pH-balanced leather cleaner. Such products can handle various stains while keeping your leather in good condition. A top-notch leather conditioner can also go a long way to replenish natural oils, leaving your leather feeling as soft and pliable as ever.

For ink or mold stains, bring in the specialized products: leather stain removers. These are tailor-made for the toughest jobs. Test these products in an inconspicuous spot first, and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter.

Extra Support for Your Cleaning Journey

Kudos to you for taking care of your leather goods! Explore more cleaning tips on our blog to make your cleaning journey even more efficient and effective. Whether it's dealing with permanent marker stains or maintaining a spotless home, Molly Maid® provides a wealth of resources to explore.

When life gets hectic, reach out to your local Molly Maid® for professional house cleaning services near you. We offer free in-home estimates and back all our services with the Neighborly Done Right Promise™, ensuring that the job is done right the first time.