How to clean deerskin leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Deerskin leather is not only incredibly soft and supple but also lightweight, breathable and durable. Because of those qualities, many people around the world use the material. Deerskin leather is an attractive fashion and interior design material, used in items including gloves, shoes, clothing, furniture and some sports equipment. Although deerskin leather doesn't stand up well to abrasion such as harsh rubbing or twisting, you can wash it with mild soap and water whenever it becomes dirty without it losing its original look and feel after drying, unlike many leather types.

Hand wash

Check the label on your deerskin leather item to determine the appropriate cleaning method -- hand or machine wash. If your item doesn't have a label, wash by hand.

Fill a sink with cold water and enough mild soap to make the water soapy, then wash your deerskin leather. If washing a deerskin "Hand Wash Only" leather garment or other unattached or small item, place the deerskin leather item in the water, soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe gently with a lint-free textured microfibre cloth. If washing deerskin attached to a stationary or large item such as furniture, soak a microfibre cloth in the wash water, squeeze out excess water, then wipe your deerskin leather upholstered item with the cloth to wash.

Rinse your deerskin leather under cold running tap water or with non-soapy, damp microfibre cloths.

Dry your deerskin leather item. If you washed and rinsed your item in a sink, squeeze the excess water gently from the material, then lay it on a towel on a flat, smooth surface to air-dry. If you washed and rinsed the leather with cloths, blot the leather with cloths lightly and gently to remove excess water, then air-dry with a fan or hair dryer on the "Cool" setting.

Washing machine

Place your deerskin leather in the washing machine.

Wash the leather in cold, mildly soapy water on the "Delicate" or "Gentle" cycle.

Remove your deerskin leather item from the washing machine. Place it in your dryer and dry on the "No Heat" or "Air" setting or lay flat on a towel to air-dry.


Treat an oil or grease stain as soon as possible after it occurs. Sprinkle talcum powder or flour on the stain, wait 12 to 24 hours for the powder or flour to absorb the oil or grease, then wipe away the powder or flour from the leather with a soft, textured microfiber cloth. If necessary, repeat with additional powder or flour, and wash and dry. To remove a sticky staining substance such as gum or caramel from your deerskin leather, rub an ice cube over the substance until it hardens and becomes brittle, then scrape it gently from the leather with your fingernail.


Always try the mild soap on an inconspicuous area of the deerskin leather before cleaning, because some soaps and cleaning methods can damage the material and/or affect any dyes used on the leather (fade or bleed the dyes). Washing multicoloured deerskin leather may cause the individual dyes to bleed into each other. Never clean your deerskin leather with bleach, harsh chemicals or abrasives. Never use a leather waterproof product or protectant on your deerskin leather, as doing so can discolour the leather or reduce its breathability.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Sink
  • Washing machine (optional)
  • Lint-free, textured microfiber cloths
  • Dryer (optional)
  • Towel (optional)
  • Fan (optional)
  • Hair dryer (optional)
  • Talcum powder or flour (optional)
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About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.