How to remove paint from leather upholstery

Written by kimbry parker
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How to remove paint from leather upholstery
Remove paint from leather upholstery at first sight for the greatest chance of success. (brown leather furniture image by Leonid Nyshko from

Paint on leather upholstery is a frightening sight. It diminishes the appearance of the entire leather surface. Whether you splattered paint while painting the walls, or your child used your furniture as an art easel, you likely want the paint removed from the leather. Wet paint can easily be wiped off leather upholstery with a damp rag. Removing dried paint from leather is a more challenging process that must be done carefully so as not to damage the leather. Using the proper products and techniques will have your leather upholstery paint-free in no time at all.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Butter knife
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Rags
  • Olive oil
  • Rubbing alcohol or turpentine

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  1. 1

    Scrape as much paint off the leather as possible. Use your fingernail or a butter knife to chip away at the paint. Do this very gently so that the leather is not damaged.

  2. 2

    Fill a bucket with warm water. Add a couple of squirts of mild dish soap to the bucket.

  3. 3

    Scoop up a moderate amount of the suds. Avoid soaking the sponge in water. All you want on the sponge are the soap suds.

  4. 4

    Rub the suds over the paint spot on the leather. Wipe the spot briskly with the sponge to remove the paint. Apply more suds to the spot as they begin to dissipate.

  5. 5

    Continue this process until the paint has been removed. Use your fingernail or a butter knife to scrape the paint off, if necessary. Wipe down the leather with a dry rag.

  6. 6

    Drizzle olive oil over the paint stain if it persists. Use a generous amount of olive oil and rub it in with a soft rag. Allow it to set on the leather for a few minutes. Rub the paint off the upholstery with a dry rag. Use your fingernail or a butter knife to chip away at the paint. There is no need to rinse off the olive oil as it will help restore moisture to the leather.

  7. 7

    Use rubbing alcohol or turpentine as a last resort for removing paint from leather. Apply a small amount to a clean rag and wipe the paint gently from the leather. Go over the area with a damp rag.

Tips and warnings

  • Condition your leather upholstery with a high-quality leather conditioner after removing the paint.
  • Always test the product you are using on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather prior to applying it to a more noticeable area.

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