How to remove oil stains from leather

how to remove oil stains from leather

It’s challenging to get rid of oil stains from leather without damaging it. There are a few safe homemade remedies from removing oil stains that use talcum powder, cornstarch, dish soap, and vinegar. Commercial oil stain removers work effectively as well.

Read on for some simple hacks and say goodbye to oil stains, bringing back the integrity of your leather.

Remove oil stains from leather with oil-absorbents

Dealing with oil spills on leather furniture requires oil-absorbing agents to remove these stains effectively, giving you back your beautiful leather furniture, minus the mess. In this method, you can use talcum powder (baby powder) or cornstarch as oil-absorbents.

Perform this method with these steps:

  1. Use a paper towel to blot excess oil from the leather surface of the furniture.
  2. If a lot of oil is present, use a new paper towel and discard the used one. Do this until no oil is visible on the leather surface.
  3. Sprinkle the talcum powder or cornstarch on the stained area of the leather. Make sure that you cover the entire oil-stained area.
  4. Allow it to sit on the leather overnight.
  5. In the morning, scrape the talcum powder or cornstarch off the leather using a soft-bristled brush.
  6. Use a microfiber cloth moistened with water to clean the area and remove the remaining talcum powder or cornstarch.
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The application of this method is best to use for fresh oil spills. It isn’t ideal for removing old stubborn stains and are already absorbed into the fabric.

Using dish soap to get rid of oil stains on leather

You can use dish soap to remove oil stains from leather, just like how you eliminate grease and oil stains from plates and utensils. The only difference is that leather is much more delicate.

Wash away oil stains from leather by following these simple steps:

  1. Prepare a solution with one tablespoon of mild dish soap and one cup of water. Mix well.
  2. Soak a clean sponge in the soapy solution.
  3. Use the sponge to wipe the oil stains away.
  4. Use a dampened cloth to wipe the bubble residues from the sponge.
  5. Make sure all dish soap residue is removed.

When performing this method, refrain from doing excessive wiping because you might end up losing the natural shine of your leather.

Eliminate oil stains from leather using vinegar

Distilled white vinegar can ruin leather, so it’s very important to dilute it to minimize its acidity. In this method, you have to dilute the vinegar with water to avoid ruining your expensive leather. Aside from getting rid of oil stains, this method also conditions your leather with linseed oil.

  1. Prepare a solution by mixing one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and one cup of water.
  2. Grab a microfiber cloth and soak it in the solution.
  3. Use the microfiber cloth to dab the oil stains on your leather.
  4. Afterward, rinse the leather with a dampened cloth.

To condition your leather to maintain its natural shine and softness, perform these additional steps:

  1. Create a leather conditioner mixture by combining one tablespoon distilled white vinegar and two tablespoon linseed oil.
  2. Apply the mixture on a clean cloth and rub it on the oil-stained area circularly.
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In this method, it’s important to follow the correct measurements to keep your solution mild enough and not ruin your leather. It’s a good idea to do a spot test in an inconspicuous location on your leather, in case the solution is not compatible with it.

Use a homemade stain remover to remove oil stains from leather

As an alternative to commercial stain removers, you can use baking powder, white flour, and salt. This homemade stain remover can provide the same results as commercial ones.

Follow these steps to create a homemade stain remover to remove oil stains from leather effectively:

  1. Form a paste by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of white flour, ⅜ cup of water, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Apply the paste on the oil-stained leather.
  3. Start gently rubbing the leather until the stain disappears.
  4. Rinse the area with a clean cloth soaked with water.
  5. Allow it to dry.

Just a reminder, don’t exaggerate the rubbing because it might strip the colorants or dyes used on your leather. And always do a spot check before you rub a new solution on your leather.

Free your leather from oil stains with cream of tartar and lemon juice

This method can remove oil stains and nourish your leather, leaving you with stained-free leather that’s good as new. The lemon juice helps dislodge dried oil while the cream of tartar absorbs the remaining oil stains.

Follow these steps to achieve stain-free leather:

  1. Prepare a mixture of a tablespoon of cream of tartar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. 
  2. Apply the mixture to a clean cloth, then dab it on the oil stains.
  3. After five minutes, wipe the area with a dampened cloth.
  4. If oil stains are still present, repeat the entire process.
  5. Make sure to do a spot test before proceeding in the beginning.
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Commonly questions about oil stains

What is the fastest way to remove oil stains from leather?

The fastest way to get rid of oil stains from leather is to use commercial oil stain removers. These ready-made stain removers contain chemicals, including acetic acid, ammonia, alcohol, and acetone, which speed up the removal process. It’s also the most convenient and safest method to remove oil stains on leather.

How do you manage oil mixed stains on leather?

There are times that you see oil stains mixed with other types of stains. When this happens, you need to first deal with the oil stain in order to remove the mixed stains entirely without damaging your leather. The recommendation is to scrub-wash with warm water and liquid dish soap. After removing the oil stain from your leather, try dealing with the second stain.

Are oil stains permanent?

Fresh oil spills can’t instantly stain your leather, but unnoticed oil stains on leather can leave a dark discoloration and become permanent. And removing deep-set or old oil stains will only damage the condition of your leather. That’s why you need to quickly get rid of fresh oil stains to avoid ruining your expensive leather.

Final thoughts

You can always remove the stain from your leather, but you can’t bring back the good condition it had before the oil stains. Even with gentle oil stain removal methods, there’s still a chance for your leather to get damaged. Continuous maintenance will save your leather. But you need to perform this one with caution. Remember that the fragility of the leather makes it difficult to clean.

how to remove oil stains from leather

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