Leather Stain Removal
~Pooja Chakrabarty

The Basics of Leather Stain Removal

Leather stain removal is a rather delicate process as leather can be easily damaged by the regular cleaning products. You must be very careful when treating the stains on your leather articles. Here are some pointers on how to deal with the stains on your leather possessions.

For leather stain removal, it is best to avoid messing with the leather, and instead to take it to good drycleaner instead. He would be better equipped to advise you as to how you should treat the stain.

While cleaning a leather product for leather stain removal, it is almost inevitable that the appearance of the leather would change. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that different kinds of skins are used. Second, colorfastness differs from leather to leather. Third, the cleaning process itself leads to a loss of oils from the leather. There are many more reasons, most of which are related to the kind of leather used.

In general it is not advisable to use regular cleaning agents for leather stain removal

For leather which has been treated with aniline, as well as for pigmented leather, a colorfastness test should be done. To do this you must apply some leather cleaner to the leather and then hold a clean lint-free cloth against it. The cloth should be white in color so that it is easy to see if the color runs from the leather and soils the cloth.

If the color does not run, take a sponge, and apply leather cleaner to it. Make the stained region foam by making gentle circular motions. Do not rub! Let the foam remain on the leather for 3 to 5 minutes, and then blot with clean lint-free cloth.

The foam will evaporate very fast if the leather is very dry. You can combat this by adding some distilled water to the cleaning product. What this does is that it makes the leather damp, and the dirt becomes freer for the process of cleaning.

Leather in general dries naturally, but you could use a hairdryer to dry it as well.
Grease stains can be removed to some extent by blotting the stain with a cloth. Sometimes, white vinegar is also helpful in removing grease stains from leather.

Ink stains can be removed, if fresh, by even non-greasy liquid hair sprays. Otherwise, most ink-removing cleaning products can get rid of ink stains even from leather. In both cases wipe the leather with a clean dry cloth after that. But before using any product, apply it on some unnoticeable part of the leather to see to it that it does not result in any adverse changes in the leather. If they do not react well with the leather take it to a professional for the leather stain removal. [Note: In general it is not advisable to use regular cleaning agents for leather stain removal.]

Leather discoloration can be got rid of by using a leather dye that is close to the color of the leather.

More easily soiled leather like suede and nu-buck should be cleaned using only nu-buck cleaning cloth along with the leather cleaner. This cloth is abrasive, and helps in breaking up the dirt in the stained areas so that the leather cleaner can act on it properly.

Clean your leather products regularly if you want them to have a long life. Ideally you should be cleaning them twice a year. Using leather conditioners and protectants would help preserve the finish, and make them more enduring.

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of stock.xchng.]