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Can You Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather? (How To)

A photo of a texture of leather

When it comes to cleaning things around the home, there are always going to be plenty of recommendations from well-meaning friends and even from do-it-yourself blogs. It is important, however, for you to trust the professionals when it comes to cleaning leather. That is especially true if alcohol is involved.

Alcohol can permanently damage leather if it is not cared for properly. The most important factor for getting your leather back to good condition again is to get as much of the alcohol off of the leather as you possibly can. Dab the leather with a dry cloth to remove most of the alcohol and then continue with the cleaning process.

There are two different types of chemicals that should never be used on leather. These include acetone and alcohol. Unfortunately, many people will tell you that alcohol can be used for cleaning leather but that is absolutely not true!

In fact, if you get alcohol on leather, regardless of whether it is rubbing alcohol or alcohol from an adult beverage, it can stain the leather and you will never get it back in shape again. Fortunately, acting quickly and taking the proper steps can help you to overcome this hurdle.

Can You Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather?

A photo of a person in pink gloves cleaning leather

An important factor to understand about leather is the fact that not all leather is created equally. Some leather is very high quality and others are low-quality or perhaps even synthetic.

If you spill alcohol on synthetic leather, such as what you will find in many vehicles or on some furniture, it is not as big of a deal. You still need to work quickly to wipe up the alcohol and clean it, but it is not as likely to stain.

On the other hand, if the leather item that experiences the alcohol spill is a type of genuine leather, then it can be problematic. Even genuine leather, however, comes in many different varieties, and each will have its own set of issues.

If it is labeled as top grain, genuine, or corrected grain leather, it means it is not from the uppermost part of the hide. As you get further down into the hide of the animal, the leather becomes lesser in quality.

On the other hand, if you are dealing with full grain leather, then that is of the highest quality. It is from the outermost portion of the hide and includes the protective layer that is naturally going to repel the alcohol to a certain extent. All other types of leather are more likely to stain.

One other thing to bear in mind is that water and alcohol do not mix. You can see this clearly if you put both in a glass, as they will separate.

Water also does not mix on leather and using too much water on genuine leather is going to cause problems. Yes, the alcohol will also cause problems and could make leather brittle or stiff but too much water is going to pull the natural oils out of the leather and stain it permanently.

As you will see, acting quickly is the most important factor in cleaning your leather properly. You can also follow a step-by-step process that will work well in keeping you from permanently damaging the leather while cleaning it.

How To Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather (Step By Step Guide)

A photo of a person cleaning leather

If alcohol spills on leather, it is probably going to begin to stain almost immediately. If you can clean it up just as quickly as its spills, that can help but you’re still likely to have to clean it properly.

The best way to clean alcohol from leather is to use a leather alcohol cleaner. These commercial products will remove the alcohol stain along with many other types of stains, dirt, and oils from genuine leather products. Alcohol will damage leather permanently so you must use the proper product or you are running the risk of damaging your leather item in the process.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have the proper leather cleaner available for such an emergency. It’s a good idea to plan in advance, but let’s consider some steps that can be taken in case you don’t have this cleaner available.

1. Act Quickly – Alcohol is going to stain leather very quickly so you have to remove as much of it as possible as early as possible. Dab the leather with a dry cloth to dry the alcohol. It will dry quickly on its own, but dabbing it will help to keep the alcohol from soaking into the leather where it will do further damage.

2. White Vinegar and Water – I would very rarely recommend that you use any type of vinegar or water on leather but this is an emergency. A mixture of white vinegar and water can be used to further clean the leather and remove more of the alcohol before the stain sets in.

It is important, however, for you to use a minimal amount of vinegar and water on the stain. You also need to dry the stain quickly so that it doesn’t cause problems.

When leather gets wet, it is often stained because of the natural oils within the leather. That is true when water or vinegar comes in contact with it. The natural oils will create a ring that is almost impossible to remove.

As long as you use a minimal amount of vinegar and water on a clean rag, you can wipe at the area after removing most of the alcohol.

3. Dry – Drying the leather is important as well. You can air dry it or use a hairdryer on a cool setting to dry it quickly if you had to apply water and vinegar. You still may have a stain, but it is more likely to clean out when using a commercial product or if you have it done professionally.

4. Conditioning – After cleaning up a heavy stain, it is important to condition the leather. You can condition the spot or condition the entire item, regardless of whether it is a sofa or a leather bag. Conditioning the leather helps to bring back some of the natural beauty and keeps it from further damage.

The sad reality is that you are likely to experience a permanent stain if you get alcohol on a leather item. If you act quickly, however, the stain is less likely to be as visible.

Can You Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather Bag?

A photo of leather bag

Do you have an alcohol stain on a leather bag? You may be able to remove it with some TLC.

Alcohol stains are difficult to remove but if they are on the leather bag, you may be able to fade them so that they are not as visible. Mix white vinegar and water and lightly soak the area around the alcohol stain. You should then dry the bag completely. Brush the bag softly after this process.

Leather bags are typically made from genuine leather, which is more durable than other types of leather in many cases.

There are also times when the leather bag may be made from some type of synthetic or fake leather. If that is the case, it might not stain. Wiping the bag quickly may do the trick.

Check the tag to see what type of leather you are dealing with. That will make a difference in how much you are able to work with the bag to remove the stain.

Can You Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather Shoes?

A photo of leather shoots

It’s not uncommon to get alcohol stains on leather shoes. What can you do to remove the stain?

This content is owned by Wabi Sabi Group and was first published on Aug 22, 2022..

Leather shoes are likely made of either synthetic leather or, if they are true leather, they are probably genuine leather. That is good news because you can wipe the stain with a mixture of vinegar and water and then dry the shoes quickly. Doing so will remove some of the alcohol stains without creating more stains in the process.

Anytime you are dealing with real leather, you need to handle the item very carefully. That being said, alcohol stains on leather are an emergency and need to be handled quickly.

Alcohol is one of the items that can permanently damage leather, so remove as much alcohol as possible from the area with a dry cloth and then start cleaning.

Can You Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather Boots?

A close up photo of a person in leather boots

Do you have leather boots with alcohol stains? You may be able to get them back in good condition again.

Leather boots are typically made from full-grain leather, so you can work with the leather and its natural ability to repel any spills. If you can catch the alcohol spill quickly, it may not stain so readily. Dry it as quickly as possible using a dry cloth and dabbing the area.

This article was first published on Aug 22, 2022 by Wabi Sabi Group..

If additional cleaning is necessary, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water. This is not something that should be done on every stain but alcohol stains are an emergency.

Can You Remove Alcohol Stains From Leather Sofa?

A photo of a leather sofa

Leather sofas are likely to experience alcohol stains at some time or another, especially if you entertain. What can be done when it happens?

Look at the tag on your leather sofa quickly to see if it is genuine leather or some type of synthetic material. Synthetic materials can be treated by wiping them with vinegar and water but genuine leather will have to be treated by drying the area as much as possible with a dry cloth and then gently rubbing the area with a rag lightly dampened with vinegar and water.

After you clean your leather sofa, it is probably going to have some discoloration. This isn’t necessarily a stain but it is a lack of color from where you are cleaning.

A professional can recolor the sofa and bring it back to a good look again.

Do you have alcohol stains on leather? If you can dry the area by dabbing it with a dry cloth quickly it may keep the stain from setting in. If a stain becomes evident, use a lightly damp cloth with a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the area.

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WabiSabi Group is the owner of this article and was published on Aug 22, 2022 and last modified on .

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