How to remove water stains from leather car seats

If you have invested in a high-end car with leather seats, it is important to protect your investment as well as keeping it in top shape. When your leather seats end up with water stains, it is vital to use the right cleaning methods to effectively remove any stains. Read further to learn ways on how to remove water stains from leather car seats.

Steps on how to remove water stains from leather car seats

When the leather car seats of your vehicle end up with unappealing water stains, you should remove them properly. 

When water spills, use a microfiber cloth or towel and slowly dab, starting at the middle and move in a circular motion to the outside. Dab gently and switch to different dry sections of the microfiber cloth. Sadly, if the water has already been dry for some time, it will probably leave a stain behind.

Let’s take a look at the steps on how to remove water stains from leather car seats. You can use vinegar in this mixture to effectively deal with hard water stains.

  • With a cloth moistened in the water and vinegar solution, start rubbing at the center and move outwards. 
  • Rinse by dabbing the site with a cloth moistened with plain water. 
  • Allow the seat to dry.
  • Wipe the site with a dry cloth and apply a leather conditioner. 
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Regular cleaning for leather car seats

When your vehicle has leather seats, they add a “luxe” factor. Generally, they can be quite pricey, so you need to take good care of them. Let’s take a look at this method on how to clean leather seats to maintain their appearance and make them last for a long time. 

  • Vacuum the seats to remove any lingering debris or dirt from the crevices. 
  • Dab a cleaning solution to the seats. Avoid using bleach or ammonia-based agents since they can harm the leather. You can use a commercial leather cleaner or prepare one at home by mixing 5 parts warm water and 1-part liquid dish soap or Castile soap in a bucket. 
  • Moisten a cloth with this solution and wipe down the surface of the car seats. Avoid saturating the leather, since extra water can penetrate the seat seams and into the cushions. The excess water can also stain the leather. 
  • Wipe the surface with another damp cloth.
  • Use a towel to wipe down the car seats thoroughly until dry.

The ideal way to clean leather car seats is to prevent stains. Once a spill occurs, wipe it away immediately. 

Dos and don’ts with leather car seat stains

With the help of these tips, you can readily deal with stains on your leather car seats. 


  • Always start by blotting the stain with a dry, clean microfiber cloth. This type of cloth is highly absorbent which makes it ideal in getting rid of the moisture on leather seats. 
  • Always vacuum first before cleaning. This can remove any abrasive debris or materials, making it easier to clean. 
  • Work in small areas so that you can focus on the stain but also help lessen any discoloration. 
  • Use the right products for leather. 
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  • Avoid using petroleum or wax-based conditioners. 
  • Don’t allow any liquids to dry. When liquids, oils or grease dry on leather, they might be impossible to remove without causing damage to the material.
  • Avoid using bristles for deep cleaning. It is recommended to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. 

Does vinegar remove water stains on leather?

White vinegar can effectively get rid of water stains on leather.

  • Add a few drops of vinegar to soapy water. An alternative is mixing equal parts of water and vinegar for a stronger solution.
  • Soak a cloth into the solution and wring out the excess water. 
  • Use the cloth to spot treat the stain. 
  • Check the cloth after a few swipes. If it looks dirty, rinse it with plain water.

As for light-colored leather, especially white or beige, you can mix equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply the paste and leave in place for up to 10 minutes, before wiping it away using a moist sponge.

Does dish soap remove water stains on leather?

You can get rid of water stains on leather by using dish soap. Simply follow these steps.

  • Mix warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap in a basin. 
  • Soak a sponge into the basin and wring out the excess water.
  • Wipe on the stained area carefully. Do not rub vigorously since it can damage the leather.

Generally, using dish soap is suitable for mild water stains. 

How do you condition leather seats naturally?

You can condition your leather seats naturally by preparing a mixture of ½ cup of olive oil with ¼ cup of vinegar in a spray bottle.

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Spray on the leather seats and leave in place for up to 5 minutes, then wipe the surface. This is a natural technique to condition your leather seats. 

Final thoughts

Leather car seats require proper care and maintenance to preserve their appearance. Once you discover water stains on your leather seats, you must deal with them quickly. With the techniques described on how to remove water stains from leather car seats, you can effectively deal with the water stains in no time. 

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