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How to Remove Stains From Leather Sofas

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather sofas can add a touch of class to any living room or den, but cleaning them can be a challenge. Finding a grease or ink stain or your leather sofa can be a cause of aggravation, but you can remove most stains with a little care and patience. The cleaning method varies depending on the type of stain on your sofa, so closely examine the stain before cleaning it.

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  1. Place a mild, moisturising soap on a soft cloth. Lather it up, and thoroughly work the soap through the cloth.

  2. Gently wipe the surface of the sofa. Don't over-wet the leather as that will damage it. Just use light strokes to buff the leather. The moisturising soap will condition the leather as you go.

  3. Let the sofa air dry. Don't rinse the sofa, but let it air dry over time.

  4. Lightly blot the oil or grease stain with a soft cloth. Don't scrub the spot, or you will work the stain into the sofa. Do not use water to try to remove the stain; stick with a dry cloth. Keep blotting until the cloth doesn't pick up anymore grease.

  5. Allow the remaining stain to sit overnight. Often oil and grease stains will be absorbed into the leather and not be visible. Check back in a day to see if the stain is still visible.

  6. Apply some leather sofa cleaner to a soft cloth, and blot the stain again if it is still visible. Allow the sofa to air dry to remove the remaining oil or grease.

  7. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol.

  8. Rub the alcohol-dipped swab over the ink stain.

  9. Dry the area with a household hair dryer.

  10. Tip

    After cleaning your sofa for any reason, use a leather conditioner on it to restore any moisture lost during the cleaning process.


    Never vigorously scrub any stain on your leather sofa. Doing so can work the stain further into the leather as well as remove the dye from the leather, causing permanent damage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloths
  • Moisturising soap
  • Leather sofa cleaner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hair dryer
  • Cotton swabs
  • Leather conditioner

About the Author

Michael Scott is a freelance writer and professor of justice studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is a former prosecutor. Scott has a J.D. from Emory University and is a member of the Utah State Bar. He has been freelancing since June 2009, and his articles have been published on eHow.com and Travels.com.

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