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Natural Leather Cleaning Remedies

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather is a rugged and versatile material made from the processed hides of animals, primarily cattle. It is used in a number of applications, such as for clothing, footwear, luggage, furniture and car seating. Although several chemical-based leather cleaning products are available on the market, you may want to consider using a natural leather cleaning remedy, such as water, cornstarch, natural oils, vinegar or lemon juice.

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According to leathersolutions.com, water is one of the best natural solutions for removing water stains from leather. With clothing and footwear, raindrops and puddles often cause these stains, while with furniture; the condensation rings left by drink glasses are usually to blame. To remove water stains with water, you simply need to moisten a sponge and gently scrub around the discoloured areas. Eventually, you should be able to blend the stain in with the surrounding leather.


Cornstarch is one of the best natural leather cleaning remedies when it comes to removing oil stains, such as those caused by greasy foods and tanning products. According to leathersolutions.com, you should sprinkle the cornstarch onto the stained area or areas, and then rub it in briskly with your fingers, until you start to generate some heat. This heat will help loosen and lift the oils from the leather's pores, allowing the cornstarch to absorb them. You can then wipe away the leftover residue with a moist cloth.

Natural Oils

While oils are known for staining leather, they can also be used to shine, soften and otherwise condition leather as well, particularly when it comes to footwear. According to nourishedmagazine.com.au., you can treat leather shoes with natural oils such as walnut, olive and cold pressed nut oil, as well as linseed and neat's-foot oil, according to mrscleanusa.com. Make sure you give your leather items time to absorb the oils before you use them, otherwise discolouration could occur.


According to nourishedmagazine.com.au., white vinegar is an excellent option when it comes to cleaning patent leather items (such as purses and belts), which have varnished, high-gloss finishes. Simply moisten a cloth with the vinegar and wipe down all surfaces. Alternatively, for a natural all-purpose leather cleaning remedy, mrscleanusa.com recommends using a solution made of 1-part white vinegar and 2 parts natural oils.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice makes a great buffing agent for dark-coloured leather shoes, according to nourishedmagazine.com.au. You can also mix 1-part lemon juice with 1-part cream of tartar---according to mrscleanusa.com---to make a leather stain-removing paste. You will need to rub the paste into the stained areas, wipe clean and then repeat the process as needed.

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About the Author

Erik Devaney is a writing professional specializing in health and science topics. His work has been featured on various websites. Devaney attended McGill University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies.

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