How to clean calfskin leather

Updated March 23, 2017

Leather has been a well-used material for centuries, being employed in the manufacturing of shoes, purses, rugs, hats, belts and many other products. While calfskin leather is an all-natural fibre, it must be carefully prepared in order to result in high-quality apparel and upholstery. It is also necessary that the calfskin leather be properly cleaned in order to maintain the correct durability, look and longevity.

Brush the calfskin with a special leather brush in the direction of the nap to soften and condition the leather and remove surface dirt.

Dampen the calfskin product with a wet soft cloth or with a steam cleaner.

Allow the calfskin to dry completely.

Remove sweat and grease stains with a leather degreaser product applied on a flannel cloth, following the instructions included on the package.

Apply a leather conditioner, if appropriate. Calfskin products such as shoes, purses and jackets can benefit from this application.

Apply a surface protector designed for calfskin leather. This will protect against stains that may otherwise penetrate the surface of the leather.

Buff the surface of the calfskin leather with the leather brush or a clean, dry cloth.


Clean surface dirt and soil off calfskin as soon as possible to avoid permanent stains. Calfskin hides can be cleaned with mild soap and water, provided that the entire hide is treated. It will, however, stiffen and need to be softened after cleaning.


Spot cleaning calfskin leather products with water can cause stains to spread, as well as discolour the surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Steam cleaner
  • Leather degreaser
  • Flannel cloth
  • Calfskin leather conditioner
  • Leather surface protector
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About the Author

Rosa Lyn has been a freelance writer since 2009. She has worked as a ghostwriter for companies such as eBay and was the editor-in-chief for the member newsletter at the websites SewingMamas. She specializes in subjects such as home and family, parenting, alternative health and crafts.