Treating Leather Stains

By: Ron Winsor

One of the best defenses you have against stains on your leather is a good commercial leather cleaner followed up with a strong leather protector. Most leather manufacturers offer their own version, or you can find a more general option at your local shoe or discount store. Leather that is protected from the elements is much less likely to stain than the alternative.

One of the keys to treating a leather stain is what cloth you use and how you rub on any treatment. The only fabric that should be used on leather for treatment is a lint-free soft cloth such as a micro fiber cloth. When it comes time to rub in the treatment, look at the leather carefully and see if you can find the lie of the leather. You should be able to see that the leather 'runs' in a certain direction. If you're able to find the lie, rub any cleaner in the direction of the lie. If you're unable to find this, rub the cleaner from the outside of the stain towards the center. Never rub the cleaner in a circular fashion.

While we have stated over and over again that a fresh stain is easier to clean than an aged one, this has never been more true than with leather. In many cases, a stain that is not cleaned within a few hours of its occurrence is likely to make itself a permanent home on your leather. Again, it goes back to the previous statement - protect your leather while it's fresh and clean, and it'll make your job much easier once something does happen.

One of the most common spills on leather is grease in some form or fashion. The first step is to sop the grease up off the leather as quickly as possible. For well-protected leather, this is often all that's needed. However, if you are able to see some remnants of the grease on your polished leather, the absolute best trick is to pour (not lightly dust) some white talcum powder on the grease stain to completely cover the stain, and let it sit overnight. The talcum power will work by drawing the oil or grease spot right out of the leather. This works really well and will not damage your item.

If you're doing a general soil removal on your leather, it's always recommended to use a specific leather soap. However, in a pinch, a mild detergent may work well. Use your lint-free cloth, and wipe in the direction described above. Make sure not to use too much water - keep your cloth only lightly damp, not wet. If the dirt is ground-in, an old toothbrush can be used to lightly scour the leather grains to remove the dirt.

Leather is an exceptionally temperamental material to clean. When it comes to homegrown cleansers, these are often more harmful than good since most are water-based and water is extremely destructive to leather. Instead, read your care labels carefully, and choose the appropriate leather treatment product to ensure that your leather item remains beautiful for years to come.

Stains - Perhaps the most important starting point for anyone treating a stain on leather is to test an unseen part with the treatments you're planning to use. We get a lot of requests for stain treatments on leather and can not stress this enough.
Add the suggested treatment to a lint free cloth and wipe the treatment onto the stain in the direction it runs, if there is one. If there isn't a direction then wipe towards the center of the stain.

After treatment, with one reagent, clean the area with cold water, again applied using a lint free cloth. Use the stain section to find the right treatment then use this method for each reagent in turn.
For more information on leather and to see what is available go to www.looksharpleather.com

Modelling
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