How to remove water stains from leather?

This page uses affiliate links. When you click an affiliate link, we get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. See Amazon Affiliate Program for more info.

In this article, we will tell you how to remove water stains from leather.

Water stains are a common thing in every household. This is because a simple spill is enough to leave a mark on any type of surface. On carpet or furniture, this can be even more troublesome, as the stain brings out dust and dirt very quickly. It often results in brown spots, that can be hard to clean if you wait too long.

Today, we will tell you how to clean leather items including furniture, garment, shoes, etc. Be sure to choose the most fitting cleaning detergents, so they work with your item. If you don’t want to purchase any professional cleaners, there are ways to tackle those stains only with household items.

However, we highly recommend taking care of your leather furniture at least once every 6 months. After all, leather needs proper care, in order to stay hydrated and vibrant.

Without further ado, let’s get into the proper part of this article.

How to remove water stains from leather?


While it may seem counterintuitive, water stains are quite common. Most of the time, they appear when you spill some water and fail to clean it in time. The spill attracts dirt and dust, leaving visible residue on the surface. To prevent water stains, it’s best to clean the spill as fast as possible.

That being said, water stains aren’t hard to clean. Actually, there are a few basic steps which you need to follow in order to get rid of them, in no time. To remove water stains from leather, you can use a simple detergent like dishwashing soap mixed with water.

  1. Choose your cleaning solution – The first step in removing water stains from a leather item is choosing the right cleaning solution. To be safe, you can go after a professional cleaner, however, solutions like water with dishwashing soap, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol will also work. 
  2. Start cleaning the dirty spot – You don’t want to rub in the solution too deep. Start by dipping a white cloth in the formula, and tapping the dirt area. Work from the outside, so the stain doesn’t get bigger. Excess can be removed with the dry side of the cloth. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.
  3. Wash out the excess – You don’t want to leave the detergent on your sofa, as it can damage the fabric very easily. After cleaning wash out the excess with a clean white cloth soaked in water.
  4. Dry the leather item – While airdrying is your safest bet, you can use a towel to remove excess water first. Keep in mind, that opening windows and doors will speed up the process.

Those four steps are more than enough to get rid of the water stain. Although, if you would like to make the item even more refreshed, you can apply a conditioner or a leather cream. Those steps aren’t necessary, but they can make your life easier in the future.

How to take care of leather items?

There are a couple of things, that you can do if you want your leather items to last longer. Additionally, they will look much better, thanks to saturated colors and hydrated fabric. To make it simple, we will list the most important tips below.

Always prevent the stains

Cleaning the spills right away can even prevent the stains from happening – This will also make the cleaning process much easier. Not using detergent and harsh chemicals will be good for the colors, and can make the item last longer.

Apply leather creams

Various leather creams can make the item waterproof, easier to clean, or just looking better. Leather creams aren’t that expensive, and investing in one can be beneficial. Although, remember that they aren’t necessary to keep leather items looking good (A simple care routine should be enough).

Use conditioner

Using conditioners will also help the colors stay fresh, what’s more, the fabric will last longer. Dry leather can get damaged with time, shortening the life of your item.

Keep it out of the sun

This can be sometimes hard to implement, however, if you have any furniture in sun, consider moving it to other areas of your household. Sun can make the fabric dry and colors desaturated, especially in the long term.

Frequently asked questions

Is it OK to use rubbing alcohol on leather?

Rubbing alcohol is completely OK to use on leather items, whether it is furniture, garment, or a tabletop. It serves as a great way to deal with the most stubborn stains. Keep in mind, that standard cleaning rules apply to this cleaning solution.

Is olive oil good for leather?

Olive oil is a good way to keep your leather item looking fresh. However, be sure to not put too much, and don’t do it too often. There are better ways to take care of your leather – That being said, it’s OK, if you don’t have anything better under your hand.

Will vinegar and water ruin leather?

While there are better cleaning formulas than vinegar and water, they will not ruin the leather. That being said, it can dry out the fabric, so using some type of conditioner would be a good idea. The solution won’t be harmful, only if you mix the right proportions of vinegar and water. 


In conclusion, removing water stains from leather isn’t hard. You can go after a professional cleaning solution, in order to be sure, that the fabric stays safe. That being said, there are some ways in which you can deal with the stain, using only household items.

Some of the most popular cleaning solutions, that we would recommend are water with dishwashing soap, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol. Mixing the right proportions will keep the leather safe, and easy to clean. Keep in mind to gently tap the stained area and work from the outside. After the cleaning, airdrying the item is your safest option.

We hope, that after reading this article, you won’t have any problems with water stains on your leather items.