How to Remove a Stain on Genuine Leather

Genuine leather is a natural material made from animal hides that, due to it's porous nature, becomes easily stained. Whether your genuine leather product is a handbag, car upholstery or high-quality piece of furniture, you can remove a variety of stains from genuine leather. A combination of commercial products and home remedies are needed to tackle stains on your genuine leather products. Proper care and cleaning of your genuine leather will maintain it's luxurious appearance and help your leather item to last for years to come.

Pour a liberal amount of talcum powder on the site of the grease or oil stain on your genuine leather item. Make sure to use enough talc to completely cover the oil stain. Allow the talcum powder to sit on the oil stain on your genuine leather item overnight.

Remove the talcum powder from your genuine leather item by brushing it off. Wipe off the remaining talc with a dry cloth. The talcum powder absorbs the oil or grease.

Mix two capfuls of saddle soap in 1/2 bucket of warm water. Wet a clean cloth with the soapy solution and wring out the excess liquid. Wash the site of the oil stain on your genuine leather item to remove residual oil and talcum powder.

Dry your leather item with a clean cloth. Apply leather conditioner to your leather item and allow the conditioner to soak into the leather.

Wipe up any food substance from your genuine leather item using a clean cloth. Remove as much of the substance as possible so only the stain residue remains.

Create a paste of 3 tbsp lemon juice and 3 tbsp cream of tartar. Apply the paste to the food or dirt stain on your genuine leather items, scrubbing it in gently with an old toothbrush. Allow the paste to sit on the stain for 15 minutes.

Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the lemon juice paste off your genuine leather item. Follow by washing the area with a saddle soap and water mixture.

Dry the site of the food or dirt stain on your leather item with a clean, dry cloth, then follow by conditioning the area with leather conditioner.

Soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Wipe the cotton swab over the ink stain on your genuine leather product. Wipe in one direction, going in the direction of the stain.

Dry the site of the ink stain on your genuine leather with a hair dryer. Check to see if any ink stain remains.

Pour acetone-free nail polish remover onto a clean cloth. Dab at the ink stain on your genuine leather. Continue to dab until the ink stain lifts.

Wash the site of the ink stain on your leather with a saddle soap solution to remove the nail polish remover and any residual ink stain.

Dry your genuine leather item with a clean cloth and apply leather conditioner to restore moisture lost when cleaning with the nail polish remover.


Condition your genuine leather items on a regular basis. Conditioned leather is easier to clean and less likely to absorb stains the way thirsty, dry leather will.


Avoid using household cleaners to clean leather as they will damage the finish of the leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Talcum powder
  • Saddle soap
  • 1-gallon bucket
  • Clean cloths
  • Leather conditioner
  • Measuring spoons
  • Lemon juice
  • Cream of tartar
  • Old toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hair dryer
  • Acetone-free nail polish remover
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.