Keeping your leather clean will help maintain its suppleness, keep the color bright and allow it to resist stains. If a stain does appear, you can remove it before it sets by following some quick cleaning tips.
Different stains require different treatments. For grease or oil, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the spot. Rub it in gently and let sit overnight. Wipe off the next day and you’ll see that any trace of the greasy or oily stain is gone.
If the stain is wet, blot it with a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Dry the area with a separate soft cloth. For blood, mix a solution of washing-up liquid and hot water. Use the frothy mixture to wipe the stain, smelling the damp cloth before using it again and blotting it dry afterward. You can also try rubbing alcohol. If this is unsuccessful, a specialist leather stain restorer can be used to add back the dyes lost by bleaching.
Spills and smears of correction fluid, lipstick, crayon or ink are often easy to remove if you can catch them quickly. For dark stains, a mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar can be made to create a paste that can be applied to the stain. Allow the paste to sit on the stain for about 30 minutes and then wipe it away with a damp cloth.
Dark stains can also be removed by saturating the area with soda water. After letting the spot dry, buff with a soft brush to resaturate the leather. This should remove most if not all the moisture and lighten the color of the stain.
If you are not able to remove any of the stains from your leather furniture or accessories, it is worth having them professionally cleaned. One or two professional cleanings per year will keep your leather looking great for years to come. You can find many local leather store owners, furniture experts or antiques shop owners who can offer advice or services to help you remove stubborn stains. They may even be able to match the color of your leather to ensure it looks perfect after it is cleaned. They can also treat your leather with a conditioner, which will make it more resistant to future dirt and stains. If you want to take the DIY approach, you can purchase a good quality leather conditioner at a shoe or leather cleaner online store. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying conditioner. Too much of it can make your leather feel greasy and slick. It is best to apply the conditioner to a small area at a time, and check it often until you are satisfied that it has been thoroughly worked into the surface of your furniture. Be careful not to over-condition the leather, as this can cause it to crack. The best way to avoid cracking is to regularly wipe down the surface of your furniture with a microfiber towel or applicator pad.