How to remove an adhesive label from leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Adhesive labels can be frustrating. The paper backing may peel off easily, but some of the sticky residue is inevitably left behind. To avoid damaging your leather, you must take care when removing label adhesive. Aggressive scraping and harsh chemical removers may tear, stain or scratch finished or unfinished leather. The best way to remove it from your clothing or furniture is to wash it away using leather-safe cleansers, heat and a soft cloth.

Heat and soften the adhesive label with a hair dryer set on high heat, held 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) away from the leather.

Scrape the majority of the adhesive away gently with a fingernail or playing card.

Scrub the remainder of the adhesive residue away with a microfibre cloth moistened slightly (not soaked) with warm water and leather soap (used according to the manufacturer's instructions). As you scrub, work in the direction of the run of the leather's grain. Never scrub in circles. If the adhesive remains stubborn, switch to an old toothbrush used in the same way as the microfibre cloth.


Unfinished leather and finished leather require different cleaning solutions. Make sure the leather soap that you purchased is designed for use on the type of leather that you have.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair dryer
  • Playing card
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Leather soap
  • Old toothbrush
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About the Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.