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How To Clean Stains From Leather

Most of us have at least a few leather belongings that we value very much some of the most common being leather furniture, leather clothing and leather accessories such as handbags and belts. Just like any other belongings that you own, your leather items will eventually become dirty and require some tender loving care to restore back to its beautiful form.

leather couch

One thing to keep in mind with leather is that it is a type of skin and should be treated as such to keep it looking great. Just like our own skin, leather has pores which need to be able to breath and it must be maintained in such a way that will keep it conditioned to avoid having it dry out.

In order to clean your leather items you really only have two choices; take it to a professional leather cleaner or do it yourself at home. Here you will find some inexpensive home remedies used to clean different types of leather stains so that you can continue enjoying them in the same way you did the day you bought it.

How to Remove Food Stains From Leather

Food is one of the most common stains that you will find on your leather items. These stains are commonly found on leather furniture, car upholstery, leather clothing and handbags. If it is a deep stain this remedy may not work and you may either need a store bought cleaning solution or to have it cleaned by a professional leather cleaning company. This remedy should, however, work for most food and blood stains that may appear on your leather belongings.

What you will need

  • One part lemon juice
  • One part cream of tartar
  • A soft cloth

leather cleaning paste

How it works

  • Create a cleaning paste by mixing the lemon juice and cream of tartar
  • Gently rub the paste into the food stain
  • Let the paste sit on the stain for up to 20 minutes
  • Remove the paste with a damp rag and dry the area with a soft cloth
  • If the stain remains, try this application once more before purchasing a cleaning solution or taking it to a professional

How to Remove Ink Stains From Leather

With most people using their smartphones or laptops these days to take notes, pens are not used nearly as much as they used to be and thus ink stains are less common than they once were. Nevertheless, ink stains do still occur, most commonly on leather handbags and furniture. Although this may seem like an impossible stain to remove, don’t panic, we have a simple home remedy for you.

What you will need

  • Isopropyl alcohol (higher purity is better)
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls

leather cleaner

How it works

  • Lightly dab the ink stain using the cotton soaked in isopropyl
  • Let it stay on the stain for 15-20 minutes
  • Dry the area with a soft cloth
  • Repeat the process until the stain is fully gone

How to Remove Road Salt Stains From Leather

If you live in Ontario you will definitely be exposed to road salt stains on pretty much any pair of shoes, pants or coat that you wear in the winter. They are quite easy to remove from most clothing by either using your washing machine or just scrubbing with a damp cloth, but for leather items that succumb to road salt stains a little bit of extra care is required to make sure all of the salt is removed in order to reduce the risk of permanently damaging the leather.

What you will need

  • One part water
  • One part white vinegar
  • A soft cloth

How it works

  • Create a cleaning solution by mixing the water and vinegar
  • Moisten the cloth with your cleaning solution and gently wipe over the salt stain until the stains have fully disappeared
  • Let the leather item dry naturally in a well ventilated area

How to Remove Oil Stains From Leather

Likely the most difficult stain to remove from leather, or any other fabric for that matter, oil and grease stains must be treated with extra caution to avoid making the problem worse. Oil and grease stains are most commonly found on leather shoes, leather gloves and leather coats. Most people believe that this type of stain can only be removed by a professional, but as long as the stain is not severe and you act quickly, you should be able to clean it yourself. If you have the misfortune of getting an oil stain on one of your leather items, follow the steps below to remove it.

oil stain

What you will need

  • Cornstarch or talcum powder
  • A soft cloth

How it works

  • Dab the stain lightly with the cloth to soak up as much excess oil as possible making sure not to spread the stain to cover a larger area
  • Sprinkle some cornstarch over the stain completely covering the area of the leather that was stained
  • Let the cornstarch sit on the stain overnight so it can absorb the remaining oil
  • Wipe the cornstarch from the leather the following morning

When it comes to oil stains on leather you have to act quickly. If the oil has time to sit and seep into the pores it will become much more difficult to clean and will likely require professional attention to be properly cleaned.

Important notes

  • Before trying any of these home remedies, test it out on a small inconspicuous spot of the leather item that needs cleaning to make sure it does not damage the leather itself.
  • Never use paper towels as tiny pieces will remain on your leather causing it to eventually dry out and damaging the leather further.
  • When drying, do not leave the leather in direct sunlight or use heat as this will dry and damage your leather, possibly beyond repair.

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