The consideration of how to clean leather comes up not that often in our house. Mostly when we got to get stains out of a leather bag or furniture, we are looking into this. That’s how we got first started on trying to find some homemade leather cleaner recipe instead of spending money on some commercial product.
When you have to clean leather, the main thing to avoid is drying out the leather material.
If you are working with finished leather, you can generally use products and leather care solutions
that you already have on hand. Unfinished leather requires more attention, so be careful when working with leather that lacks the sheen of finished leather.
How to Clean Leather
The first step in cleaning leather is to use olive oil, soap and a towel. Try out the cleaning method on a small spot first to make sure that it does not change the color of the fabric. Afterward, use a damp towel with a little soap to clean the leather. Squeeze the towel of any excess water because it should only be damp. Wipe down the leather gently until the spots are removed.
Once you cleaned the leather, rinse the towel before using it to wipe away any soap residue. The leather is not entirely water resistant, so you cannot clean the material like you usually would. Instead, use the clean, damp towel to remove the residue.
Next, use a dry towel to remove any of the excess water that remains. If you have specific oils for leather, you can use them to recondition the material. For an at-home option, olive oil can help to recondition the material and prevent it from drying out.
It’s important to realize that if you are cleaning a suede jacket, the treatment is not the same as cleaning leather. Suede is a specialty fabric that does not respond well to getting overly wet. A suede brush is the first line of defense to tackling dirt and stains.
How to Clean a Leather Bag or Purse
Leather purses or bags are prone to stains because they get a lot of use. Soap prevents the material from breathing, so a mild soap or facial soap is best.
You can make your leather cleaner at home. Just mix one part mild facial soap with eight parts water. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it on a towel.
Wipe against the grain of the leather with the towel until the stain is gone. Afterward, let the bag dry naturally. To protect the purse, use a little leather moisturizer after it has completely dried.
Homemade Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Several kitchen products help to clean and condition leather. White vinegar works well as a homemade leather cleaner. It is an excellent solution for cleaning and keeping the material healthy. Lemon juice and cream of tartar are excellent for stain removal.
To keep your leather supple, a mixture of one part white vinegar to two parts linseed oil can be applied with a soft towel. Let it rest for 12 hours and then buff the leather.
You can use other ingredients at home, too.
Beeswax works well on leather, but can take awhile to prepare. Make a beeswax leather conditioner with one part beeswax, one part cocoa butter, and two parts almond oil. Blend on medium heat until the oils are melted.
After it cools, massage this balm into the leather with your fingers before polishing with a dry cloth. For an alternative, lemon essential oil is excellent for preventing cracks and ensuring the long-term health of your favorite leather bag or jacket.
Get Stains Out of Leather
Remove leather stains with one part cream of tartar and one part lemon juice. Mix into a creamy paste. Work it into the stain with a soft cloth. If the stain isn’t completely gone, let it sit for a few hours before applying the mixture again. When the stain is removed, wipe clean and spread on a leather conditioner (see above recipe for conditioner). In our post on shoe care, there is an all-natural recipe for cleaning leather shoes with vinegar and linseed oil.
For water stains, you can use water to treat the stain. Wet the entire cushion, jacket or area with a sponge and room temperature water. Afterward, use the sponge to remove the moisture gradually. Do not scrub the fabric or expose it to the sun. As long as the water was reapplied uniformly, the water spots will disappear.
Removing Very Old Stains
Just like you can get oils stains out of clothes, they can be removed with some cornstarch and patience. Rub cornstarch into the stain until friction warms your fingers.
The cornstarch absorbs the oil that loosens from the heat. When all the oil is absorbed, brush off the powder. If stains remain, repeat.
How to Get Ink Out or Pen Stains Off of Leather
Pen ink is a dye so that it will stain leather extremely fast. Unfortunately, your leather is also dyed, so any product that dissolves the ink can also dissolve the color of your leather. If you can afford it, hire a professional. For small stains or for individuals on a budget, rubbing alcohol can help.
Make sure to test the rubbing alcohol on a small spot first to make sure that it does not damage the leather. Using a cotton ball, apply some rubbing alcohol onto the ink stain. Use circular motions to rub it into the stain gently.
Before long, the stain should begin to disappear. Since this will remove some of the leather’s moisture, make sure to apply leather conditioner afterward.
Cleaning White Leather
When cleaning white leather, never use bleach or ammonia because they will damage the fabric. Instead, use some water, mild soap and a few drops of vinegar. Dampen a cloth with this mixture before wiping down the leather.
For a natural alternative white leather cleaner, try using a mixture of ¼ cup vinegar and ½ cup olive oil. Spray the mixture on the stain, allow it to sit for five minutes and wipe it off.
Ideally, wipe up spills as they happen so that they are less likely to stain. Wiping down leather every few days with a dry cloth can help to prevent smudges and light soiling.
As you see, using some basic ingredients, it is quite easy to clean leather at home. Remember never to expose leather to direct sunlight and avoid any harsh chemicals.
After cleaning, always apply a leather conditioner so that the fabric remains supple and soft.
Please share these helpful tips for cleaning and conditioning leather with your friends and family.