How to Remove Stains from Leather Furniture


You want your leather furniture to continue looking amazing for years to come, but it’s difficult to protect any piece from stains. While the distressed look that comes from regular use can make genuine leather look even better, water, ink, food, and other substances can really damage both the look and feel of your furniture. Whether you have a little one who spilled juice on the chair or a guest whose ink pen leaked on your leather sofa, the key is to get rid of the stain immediately.

Here are some tips that may help to remove stains from leather furniture. No matter what method you try, always test it first on a very small section of the leather in an out of the way place to make sure that it won’t remove the dye or cause more damage.

How To Remove Ink Stains from Leather

If the ink is still wet, blot it with a dry cloth to remove as much of the ink as possible from the leather. Use caution, however, not to spread the stain or get the ink on your fingers and cause more damage. Alcohol is the most common leather chairway to remove ink stains from any material, but it’s very drying and can damage leather. You can try using a cotton ball or swab with a little rubbing alcohol, gently rubbing it in small circles until the stain disappears. Many leather professionals do not recommend cleaning leather with alcohol, so try at your own risk. The type of leather you have will tell you whether it’s safe to use alcohol on it, so check with your owner’s manual for complete instructions.

You can also try using a leather cleaner, following the directions on the package. Many people swear by hairspray, but some brands have a high oil content that can damage the leather, so use caution. You may also be able to use a cotton ball with acetone or nail polish remover but, like alcohol, it can be very damaging. Some people also report success using a white eraser sponge, but it can remove the top layer of the leather and should be used sparingly.

If you use alcohol or another method that could dry out the leather, be sure to wipe the surface carefully with a slightly damp cloth and use a leather conditioner. Small ink stains may disappear on their own over time, but for bigger stains, you may need to contact a professional.

How to Remove Liquid Stains from Leather

The best way to keep liquid stains from your leather furniture is to wipe them up immediately. Blot the liquid as soon as possible to make sure that it doesn’t completely soak through the leather. In some cases, you can even roll a piece of bread into a ball and blot the stain up with that.

Removing Water Stains

Once the liquid has dried, how to remove stains from leather depends on what the liquid was. Water stains can be often be removed by using more water! More specifically, using a cloth or sponge that’s just slightly damp, you can gently blot the edges of the water stain, working your way out. By adding just a little more moisture at the edges of the stain, you’ll make it less noticeable and allow the surface to dry more evenly.

Removing Dark Liquid Stains

For dark liquids, like grape juice, red wine, or coffee, start by blotting the stain with a slightly damp cloth. For coffee, a little dishwashing soap or vinegar in water may help lift the stain. After you’ve used water to start removing red wine, try blotting it with a cloth dam with a little white wine. You can then cover the spot with baking soda and leave it for about 20 minutes. Gently clean off the baking soda, being very careful not to rub it into the surface.

How to Remove Food Stains

As with liquid stains, food stains are best removed while they’re still fresh. Your first step should always be wiping it down with a wet cloth. If necessary, you can add mild soap to the mix, too. Absorb as much of the food residue as you can with your cloth.

Removing Greasy Stains

You can remove stains from a leather sofa or chair that were caused by a greasy or oily food by using water and then an absorbing agent. Once you’ve removed as much of the food as you can with a damp cloth, try pouring corn starch, corn meal, or baby powder over the greasy area. Allow it to sit for at least twelve hours, then brush it away or vacuum it up. The corn starch or powder should absorb the grease out of the leather.

Removing Paint Stains from Leather

If you have a paint stain on any of your leather furniture, you may have trouble getting it off. As with any stain, try to soak up as much as possible while it’s still wet, being careful not to spread the paint around. Your best bet is to then try using a damp cloth dipped in mild soap and water to blot the stain and remove the paint. This can be effective for water-based paints and could work for other types of paint as well. If the paint has dried, you can try to scrape as much as possible off very gently, taking care not to scrape the leather surface. You can try using a soft bristled toothbrush as well.

If that doesn’t work, you can try to remove paints stains from a leather sofa using a cotton swab dipped in a non-oily nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Remember that commercial paint remover will remove the pigment from the leather and damage the furniture.

It is possible to keep your leather furniture looking amazing, even if your kids have the occasional spill. Remember to always clean up spills immediately and, if they do need more significant cleaning, do it as soon as possible. The best method for how to remove stains from leather furniture is to start with a damp cloth and work carefully. Before you try any method, check the information that came with your furniture to see if there are any tips or warnings about alcohol or other cleaning agents. Always test out any cleaning method in an out of the way spot that won’t be visible if it does cause damage. And if you’re still not sure about cleaning stains off your leather furniture, call a professional for assistance.