How to Remove Stains from Leather – The Pro Tips

Leather is a luxurious and beautiful material, a popular choice for various items. Although this piece doesn’t absorb spill quickly, stains are not uncommon. Such unsightly stain marks can often be a great cause for concern.

So, whether your leather item is a couch, handbag, or other accessories, it is crucial to know how to remove stains from leather quickly and effectively. While stain removal on leather items can be pretty tasking and time-consuming, there are several methods that you can try.

It is paramount to act fast when getting a stain off leather jackets or your favorite leather items. The longer such imperfection sits, the more challenging it will be to get off. We’ll take you through some effective leather stain removal techniques with that in mind.

how to remove stains from leather purse

Types of Leather Stains

Many things could stain your leather items within and outside of your home. These culprits can occur from spills or accumulated dirt on the surface of the leather. The most ordinary things that could cause some discolorations on your leather clothing or artifacts include:

  • Clear Liquid
  • Grease/Oil
  • Ink
  • Salt
  • Wine
  • Pet Urine
  • Sweat
  • Mildew/Mold
  • Blood

With the porous texture of the leather material, getting these stains off becomes an arduous task. While it is necessary to heed some preventive measures and inhibit the leather item from getting stains, some cases might be unavoidable. Not to worry, the below will enlighten you on how to handle various stain marks on the leather.

9 Helpful Ways You Can Remove Stain from Leather

“How to remove stains from a leather purse” or “How to remove stains from a leather sofa?” Stains on leather are a common problem among leather enthusiasts. We’re sure you must have tried a couple of times to get those pesky discolorations off your most cherished leather piece.

In this case, you should remain assured that most substance stains on leather are removable. But, there is a need to do so without damaging this prestigious material. Below are a few stain-removal tips you should try.

Removing Stains Caused by a Clear Liquid

Ordinarily, leather doesn’t absorb water quickly; hence, the need to wipe spills as soon as possible. Again, you should know that the stains from clear liquids result from minerals or dirt in the moisture.

Thus, while you should expect this issue to be solved when the water dries, there can be stain rings on the leather piece in some other cases.

Things you’ll need:

  • Distilled water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Leather conditioner

Get the stain off leather pants, shoes, bags, and couches, wiping the surface with a microfiber cloth damped in distilled. Be sure to continue this process until the stain mark disappears. Since this process could strip your favorite leather piece of its natural oil, it is recommendable to apply a leather conditioner afterward.

Getting Grease/Oil Off Leather

Having grease or oil stains on leather can be painstaking since it makes the piece look less stellar. You should know that a simple wipe with a damp stain would not remove such a stain altogether. Thus, it would help to try this effective leather cleaning method.

Things you’ll need:

  • Cornstarch or baking soda
  • A soft cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Soft-bristled brush

Start by blotting out the oil spill with a dry cloth; kindly act swiftly as it helps make the stain removal process easy. Then, sprinkle a good amount of baking soda or cornstarch on the affected surface. Let the powder sit for 12-24 hours – this would help make the oil residue disappear.

Vacuum the leather or employ a soft-bristled brush to get the powder off. Finally, wipe with a soft, damp cloth.

Taking Out Ink/Pen Marks

Ink spills can be avoidable, but what do you do when they occur? Ink discolorations and pen marks on leather can be one of your worst nightmares, as it turns this precious piece into something less attractive. Follow the guideline below if you are keen on learning how to remove stains from leather shoes or other leather items caused by ink spills.

Things you’ll need:

  • Rubbing or isopropyl alcohol
  • A clean cloth
  • Acetone
  • Cotton swabs
  • Leather conditioner

Dab the ink-stained area with cotton swabs soaked in isopropyl alcohol. If the marks are still visible, you may need to use acetone – apply a layer of this solution and let it sit overnight.

Handling Salt Stains on Leather Items

Deiced salt stains on leather pants, boots, and other items are recurrent during winter, and they don’t do any good to these pieces. However, you can tackle such unsightly stains using this leather stain removal “home remedy.”

Things you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Leather conditioner

Mix water and vinegar in equal parts. Then, dampen a microfiber cloth with this solution and start wiping off the stain marks. You should repeat this process until the discolorations on the leather pieces disappear entirely. Then, apply a leather conditioner after the leather dries.

A Wine Spill? Here’s How to Get it Out

So, as the “life of the party,” you accidentally spilled wine on your cherished leather jacket or pants. Or, perhaps there is an old wine stain on your leather sofa. You don’t have to let this freak you out; here’s how to remove wine stains from leather.

Things you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soda water/warm water
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather conditioner

If the stain is still fresh, saturate the leather surface with soda water – warm water can serve as an alternative. Then, blot the moisture with a clean cloth and repeat the process until the fabric appears clean.

Dry stains, however, would need a suitable leather cleaner. Damp a cloth with a leather cleaner, wipe the affected area and condition the leather once it dries.

Getting Pet Urine Stain off Leather

You can find urine on leather couches with the pets running around. Apart from the awful smell, there are often pesky stains on the leather-upholstered piece when it dries.

Things you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Leather cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Leather conditioner

Employ a paper towel to absorb the liquid. Then, wipe the urine-stained area with a cloth damped with a solution of leather cleaner and warm water. Repeat this process until both the smell and stain are no longer there.

If, however, there is a residue, be sure to wipe it clean. Use a cloth dipped in a mix of vinegar and water. Allow the leather dry; a fan can quicken the drying process with the follow-up of a leather conditioner treatment.

Handling Sweat Stains on Leather

Sweat stains are pretty visible on most leather furniture, which may appear gross. But you can deal with this discoloration appropriately and restore the pristine condition of the leather.

Things you’ll need:

  • A soft cloth
  • Mild washing liquid
  • Water
  • Leather conditioner

Add a few drops of a mild washing liquid to some water and dip a clean cloth in it. Wring to remove the excess liquid and wipe the sweat stains gently. When the discolorations are no longer visible, wipe the leather with a dry cloth. You should further condition the leather to restore its lost oil and suppleness.

Tackling Mildew/Molds on Leather 

If left unattended, your leather could get affected by molds and mildew. While this could cause some severe damage and discolorations on your leather, you can handle it with the technique below.

Things you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Leather conditioner

Mix alcohol and water (equal parts) in a bowl, dampen a cloth with this solution, and wipe the leather surface. Once you get the stain off, wipe with a cloth damped with water and let the piece dry. Then, apply a leather conditioner in the right amount.

Removing Blood Stains from Leather

If you have bloodstains on your leather, you should learn to remove such dark stains from leather furniture, clothing, and footwear.

Things you’ll need:

  • A sponge
  • Paper towel
  • Soda
  • Ammonia
  • Water

Soak up wet blood using a paper towel, and sponge the affected surface with a sponge damped with soda until the stain disappears. Wipe off any remaining blood marks using a sponge wet with a solution of water and washing liquid.

Remove excess liquid from the leather surface by dabbing it with a paper towel. You can clean dried blood stains with a solution of ammonia (three parts) and water (1 liter). Apply sparingly on the stains and wipe dry using a paper towel.

How to Prevent Stain from Leather

  • While there are various leather protectants, it is best to invest in the most effective product to help prevent your leather items from getting stained.
  • You can invest in a good leather couch cover for sofas – there are fanciful options out there.
  • Applying a coat of anti-fungicidal wax dressing or silicon resin can help keep mildews away.
  • Brush off crumbs and build-up dirt off your leather pieces regularly.
  • Keep leather furniture protected from pets – Getting cats and dogs off leather couches can help reduce the chances of getting stained.


Q: Does vinegar remove stains from leather?

While this idea may leave you surprised, vinegar is an excellent cleaning solution and can help you on your quest to find how to get stains out of leather clothes. It helps get tougher stains off leather and can restore the immaculate appearance of your cherished leather item.

If you are keen on knowing how to remove stains from white leather pieces, you should try a mixed solution of white vinegar and water.

Q: Do leather stains come out?

While leather stains may seem challenging to fight, you should know that there are excellent stain removal products that could help. Also, you can try a few household supplies, such as:

  • Rubbing alcohol to remove ink stains
  • Vinegar + water to remove deicing salt stains
  • Baking soda or cornstarch to remove oil or grease residues
  • Lemon juice + cream of tartar paste to get stains out of light leather materials

Q: Can baking soda damage leather?

You can easily use water and a suitable leather cleaner to remove stains from your leather surface. However, baking soda and a few other household supplies are effective against tough stains.

While baking soda may seem harsh for the delicate texture of leather material, you can use it sparingly to avoid worse damage.

Q: Is it OK to use vinegar on leather?

Vinegar diluted with water may appear as the right trick you need to remove pesky stains from your leather fashion items. However, this may leave a drying effect afterward; hence, the need to apply a sufficient amount of leather conditioner once done.

Q: How do you remove color transfer from leather?

Color transfers from dyes are not new and could mess up the appearance of your leather artifact. But you can get it off by using a mixture of warm water, vinegar, and dishwashing soap. Add 1 tbs of vinegar and dishwashing soap to 2 cups of water. Damp a cloth with this solution and wipe the affected leather surface clean.

Q: How do you get stains out of leather couches?

You can start by removing stains resulting from the clear liquid using a cloth damped with distilled water. Then, get ink off the leather sofa by dabbing the affected part with cotton balls dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

Additionally, talcum powder or cornstarch sprinkled on oil residues can help restore your leather couch. You can use a paste of lemon juice + cream of tartar to remove dark stains from brightly-colored leather cushions.

Q: Does leather stain when wet?

Leather can get stained from the contents (minerals or dirt) of spilled water. Also, if the leather piece is wet, oils, dust, and other awful substances can further lead to more stain marks. First, dry the leather and try to apply appropriate products to tackle such stains.

Q: What is an excellent homemade leather cleaner?

There are a handful of products that works effectively as leather cleaner. While a mild dishwashing soap can remove superficial stains and make the leather look great again, you can also try these effective stain-removal remedies.

  • Vinegar and water
  • Rubbing alcohol or acetone
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice and cream of tartar

Q: What household items can you use to clean a leather couch?

Common household cleaning supplies for leather sofas include:

  • Mild soap
  • White vinegar and water
  • Rubbing alcohol or acetone
  • Baking soda, cornstarch, and talcum powder
  • Lemon juice and cream of tartar
  • Cotton balls/soft cloth

Final Words

Stains are one challenge to handle on leather, as you want to make sure you don’t damage this material while engaging in the stain-removal process. But, with the right supplies and skills, you can get this done in no time.

If you have any leather items, it is crucial to learn various ways you can prevent stains from getting on them. Furthermore, it would do you good to learn how to remove stains from leather to help restore such pieces when accidental spills occur.

Evina Naomi

Ewofere, Evina Naomi is a biotechnologist and passionate content writer. As a great lover of leather and various leather crafts, she broadly addresses leather-related issues. She is a writer of many excellent articles on leather. With great knowledge and enthusiasm, readers can access researched pieces on various leather types and the best techniques that work on them. Naomi is here to lead you through the journey of choosing excellent leather products and ensure you handle them rightly. So you can embark on your leather sewing and crafting journey with her and have an incredible experience.

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