Leather Stain Removal Solutions

Leather stain removalFollow these tips on leather stain removal and cleaning to get rid of those spots. Leather means any skin or hide that has been tanned, but after that the similarities end and the differences begin. Two main categories of leather require different cleaning techniques.

Natural leather has little surface protection and is highly susceptible to staining. It is not dyed with pigments, has no finish coat of polyurethane and is recognizable by its rustic, natural, appearance. Even water or treatments suitable for other kinds of leather, such as saddle soap, may mar its surface when cleaning leather stains.

Coated leather has a pigment-dyed surface treated with a polyurethane coating. Most – but not all – leather garments, upholstery, bags and shoes are coated leather.

A few guidelines apply to both kinds:

  • If you have directions on how to remove leather stains from the manufacturer, follow them.
  • Test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous area before using it generally.
  • For any valuable leather article or serious cleaning problem, consult a professional, such as a dry cleaner who specializes in cleaning leather stains. Shops which sell leather goods may be able to guide you.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners and even excessive water, which can leave stains and remove dye and lubricants.
  • Never dry wet leather near a heat source.

To clean natural leather, rely on frequent dusting with a soft cloth. You could try removing dirt with an art gum eraser, available at stationary and art supply stores, but even that might leave a smudge. There is little more you can do without making a problem worse.

To clean coated leathers, dust regularly with a cloth, occasionally with a dampened cloth. Wash every 6 months or so with saddle soap, which is available at tack shops, sporting goods stores, some shoe stores and hardware stores. Here’s how:

1. Remove loose dirt with a stiff brush or damp cloth.

2. Rub a damp cloth on saddle soap and work up a lather.

3. Rub the soapy cloth on the leather using a circular motion. Wipe away the excess with another damp cloth. Let air-dry.

4. Buff with a clean, soft cloth.

5. Finish with a protective leather cream recommended by the manufacturer or a general-purpose one sold by leather retailers and supermarkets.

For leather stain removal on coated leathers, try these methods – but don’t forget to test first:

  • Apply cornflour to greasy spots and let it absorb the grease. Wipe off with a cloth.
  • Rub with a cotton wool bud dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
  • Make a paste of equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar, work it into the spot (including scuff marks) with a cloth, let it stand for an hour or so, and wipe clean.
  • Been walking on the beach? Treat those ugly, white, leather stains on shoes and boots caused by salt with a 50-50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Dip a cloth into the solution and blot.
  • On mildew, use a 50-50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water on a cloth. Saddle soap also may work.

Have you reached leather stain removal success? I hope so!

Related Articles:

Clothing Stain Removal Tips

Carpet Stain Removal Tips

Fabric Stain Removal Tips

Upholstery Stain Removal Tips

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