How to Remove Stains from Patent Leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Patent leather is high gloss leather that is shiny in appearance and is frequently used by designers when creating shoes and purses. Cleaning and maintaining the material typically requires the use of a damp cloth and some mild soap to remove dirt and minor stains. Ink stains and scuff marks are a little more difficult to remove. With a few items you can find around the house and purchase at a shoe store, you can remove stains from patent leather.

Wipe down the patent leather with a damp soft cloth and mild dishwashing soap to remove any dirt from the surface.

Press a piece of tape to the surface of the leather. If the stain is fresh, it will transfer to the tape and come off. If the stain is set deeper into the material, use a patent leather cleaner.

Apply a patent leather cleaner to the stained area. You can purchase patent leather cleaners from most shoe stores. Dab a small amount of the cleaner on a clean soft cloth.

Rub the cleaner into the stain. Use a circular motion to work the stain out of the patent leather. Continue to reapply the cleaner until you have removed the stain.

Moisten a cotton ball (cotton swab) with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Alcohol works best when you're trying to remove ink stains. Gently rub the stained area. Continue to reapply the alcohol until you have removed the stain.

Wipe the patent leather with a clean soft cloth to remove any remaining cleaner or alcohol.


Test a small area of the patent leather with the patent leather cleaner and rubbing alcohol to ensure no damage is done to the material.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Mild dishwashing soap
  • Patent leather cleaner
  • Tape
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls (cotton swabs)
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About the Author

Diana Braun began her writing career as a consultant and technical writer for a software company focusing on how-to, training, white paper, and internal process documentation. After two years, Braun left to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. Since then, she has launched several startups including a t-shirt business, an online marketing and advertising t-shirt distribution business, and an entertainment site. She currently resides in South Florida.