How to Remove Grease Stains from Leather

To remove grease stains from leather follow the simple techniques outlined in this article. Grease stains are oil-based stains that typically come from food or petroleum sources, such as furniture polish, salad dressing, butter, lotion or makeup. Improper cleaning techniques and solutions can often cause further damage that is irreversible.

Remove Grease Stains from Leather

Remove Grease Stains from Polished Leather

Polished leather features a slick surface. Often found in jackets, purses, couches and cars, polished leather is smooth and often glossy. While most people assume that you can simply wipe up all spills from this durable leather finish, grease stains often require special treatment for thorough removal.

Start by removing any excess food or greasy product by lifting it carefully from the surface using a paper towel. Do not rub or smear, as this will enlarge the stained area. Use paper towels to absorb any excess grease from the surface of the leather. If a grease stain still remains, apply a thick coating of white talcum powder to the surface of the stain. Allow to sit overnight to draw the grease or oils from the leather. Gently wipe clean using a lint-free cloth. You can then polish the leather using a commercial leather condition for polished leather.

Remove Grease Stains from Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is a natural leather that has a soft finish. Frequently used for furniture, it is very absorbent and stains easily. In many cases, removing a grease stain from aniline leather requires the use of a cleaning solution. Because of the ability to absorb, soaking the leather with water or a household cleaning solution often leaves a bigger stain than the original grease stain. Many furniture manufacturers recommend specific leather cleaners. In an emergency, a clear, mild dishwashing detergent may safely remove a grease stain from leather

  1. Remove excess food or greasy product from the surface of the couch by gently lifting it away using a paper towel.
  2. Blot the area with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
  3. Dampen a clean, white cloth with water.
  4. Apply a small amount of the liquid detergent to the cloth.
  5. Test in a small hidden area by gently rubbing the soapy cloth on the leather.Mist lightly with a spray bottle of water and quickly blot with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess moisture. Allow to dry. If no stain occurs, proceed to clean the grease-stained leather
  6. Gently rub the soapy cloth over the stained area working from the outside of the stain towards the center. Avoid rubbing in a circular motion as this may damage the grain of the leather.
  7. Lightly mist the stained area with water from the spray bottle, blotting quickly to remove excess moisture. Repeat several times to remove all detergent from the area.
  8. Allow to dry and treat with a commercial leather condition recommended by the manufacturer.

Quick action produces the best results when removing grease stains from leather. Allowing a stain to remain for more than an hour can often leave you with a permanent dark, greasy spot on your favorite loveseat or jacket. Leather is difficult to clean, but many manufacturers recommend specific cleaning products designed to work with their leather. Special degreasing products, water-based foam leather cleaners, leather protectants and specialized conditioners all work to clean and protect leather products. Assembling a leather-cleaning emergency kit before an actual spill occurs saves you valuable time and worry. When you don't have time to find the recommended cleaner, test alternative cleaners on a inconspicuous area before applying them to the actual stain. Fast action and proper cleaning techniques can safely remove grease stains from a variety of leather surfaces if you proceed with caution.