Leather Cleaning 101: Learn All You Need to Know

Leather cleaning is a popular subject. We are often asked, what is the best way to clean stains on leather? The answers vary, depending on the type of leather in question and what caused the stain. Regardless of the leather or the stain, quick attention is always essential.


Semi-aniline leathers receive a protective finish on the surface, so these types of leathers are the easiest to clean and maintain. The best course of action depends on what caused the stain. It is always recommended that liquid spills are blotted up immediately with a clean, dry cloth, with minimal rubbing. The spill should be allowed to air dry and dissipate without the use of heat dryers. For spills that may leave a stain, such as red wine, a mild cleanser may be used to remove the excess residue and remove the spill completely. Cleanser should not be applied to oil or grease stains. Ink stains and lipstick may also be removed from semi-aniline leather with the proper tools, such as Ink Remover. Again, fast action gives the best results. Always ask your leather vendor what cleaning products are recommended for your particular leather.

leather cleaning care products

Leather Cleaning Kit and Mild Cleanser from Garrett Leather

Pure Aniline

Pure aniline leathers have less protection than semi-aniline leathers, however, the leather cleaning tips are similar. Act fast to blot up spills and use mild cleanser as recommended.


Nubuck leather has the fibers exposed, so these types of products require special attention. Nubuck Cleaner and Nubuck Protector are often recommended and a nubuck brush is used to revitalize the nap of the leather and keep it looking fresh.

nubuck leather cleaning care products

Nubuck Care Kit from Garrett Leather

Permanent Stains

While leather is well-known for its durability and easy maintenance, there are some cases when leather simply cannot be cleaned. For example, permanent marker typically cannot be removed from leather, even when Ink Remover is applied to the stain immediately.

Dye transfer is another type of stain that often cannot be cleaned from leather. Dye transfer occurs when the color from one material  rubs off onto another material. The most common example of dye transfer occurs when dark blue dye from denim jeans rubs off onto light colored leather. Sometimes a cleanser will remove the offending dye, but often the dye is so dark that the original color cannot be restored.

Learn More About Leather Cleaning

Learn more about leather cleaning and Leather Care Products. If you have additional questions, feel free to Contact Us. We’ll be happy to help.

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