I love cleaning with rubbing alcohol. To me, it’s that special ingredient that can make any cleaning project easier. We recently moved out of our apartment because we’re expecting another child and had to leave behind our old couch. It was the perfect opportunity to upgrade to something much, much better; Leather!
I have always used rubbing alcohol to clean our previous furniture, which was faux leather, and have had great results. I have always had the opinion that using alcohol of any form is not safe for leather as you can see from the article I publish a few months ago.
While this was a biased viewpoint at the time and I still stand by most of what I said in the article, I have recently come to the conclusion that it is okay to use rubbing alcohol on leather as long as you do not use it too frequently and you take the proper precautions.
In the rest of this post, I’m going to share with you a couple of things;
- What type of alcohol you can use on leather,
- The reasons why you can clean leather with alcohol,
- Precautions you should take when cleaning leather with alcohol, and
- How to safely use alcohol on leather.
Let’s get started!
What Type Of Alcohol Can Use On Leather?
As I rightfully mentioned in my previous post, there are different types of alcohol. However, the main two types are denatured alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.
Denatured alcohol is a type of ethanol that has been treated with chemicals to make it undrinkable. This is the type of alcoholyou’lll find in rubbing alcohol and is whatwe’lll be discussing today.
On the other hand, isopropyl alcohol is a type of alcohol thatyou’lll find in things like nail polish remover and cleaning products.It’s also the type of alcohol that’s used in hospital settings as it’s great for sterilization.
Idon’tt recommend using isopropyl alcohol on leather asit’ss too harsh and can damage the leather. Alcoholic drinks like vodka, gin, and tequila are also off-limits as they will dry out the leather.
Reasons Why You Can Clean Leather With Alcohol
So, now that we know what type of alcohol we can use, let’s talk about why it’s okay to use rubbing alcohol on leather.
1. You Can Use Alcohol To Disinfect Leather
With proper precautionary measures, you would be able to disinfect your leather surfaces using rubbing alcohol.
This is great news if you have kids or pets, as leather can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs due to its porous nature.
Cleaning your leather with rubbing alcohol will kill any bacteria or germs that may be present on the surface.
Just make sure you’re using a clean cloth and that you’ree not overdoing it, as too much rubbing alcohol can damage the leather.
2. Alcohol Cleans Color Transfer From Leather
One of the common defects you’ll find on leather furniture, bags, or shoes is color transfer. This usually happens when color from a dark-colored material gets transferred onto a light-colored leather material.
A good example is having color from your denim jeans rub off your white leather sofa or seats. Color transfer can be frustrating to deal with but you can easily remove it by using rubbing alcohol alone.
The color transfer usually happens because the dyes in the fabric are not colorfast. By using rubbing alcohol, you’re essentially breaking down the dye molecules and removing them from the leather surface.
You can remove color transfer from your leather items using alcohol by following these simple steps;
- Saturate a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol.
- Gently rub it over the affected area.
- Use a second clean cloth to remove any excess rubbing alcohol from the surface.
- Repeat the process until the color transfer has been removed.
- Onceyou’ree happy with the results, apply a leather conditioner and let the leather air dry.
3. Alcohol Cleans Stains From Leather
Another common reason why people use rubbing alcohol on leather is to remove stains.
Leather is a porous material, which means it’s susceptible to staining. The good news is that most stains can be removed using rubbing alcohol.
Whether it’s a coffee stain, ink stain, or grease stain, you can remove it by following these simple steps;
- Saturate a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol.
- Gently blot or rub it over the affected area and wait a few seconds or minutes.
- Use a clean damp cloth to remove any residue.
- Dry the area with a clean, dry cloth.
- Apply your regular leather conditioner and leave to air dry before use.
4. Alcohol Can Be Used To Clean Mold & Mildew Off Of Leather
Mold and mildew can plague leather, and if not carefully and effectively removed, they can cause long-term damage.
Mold and mildew love leather becauseit’ss a porous material with a warm, humid environment.
While there are many ways to kill and remove mold and mildew from leather, using rubbing alcohol proves to be the most effective in killing and removing mold.
What makes it effective is the fact thatit’ss a solvent, so it can penetrate the leather and kill the mold spores. To clean mold and mildew off of leather with rubbing alcohol;
- Simply pour two parts of rubbing alcohol and one part of water into a spray bottle.
- Mist the affected areas.
- Let the alcohol sit for about 15 minutes to give it time to work its magic.
- Because the rubbing alcohol is mixed with water, it will take a few minutes to dry.
- So no need to worry about the rubbing alcohol drying very fast.
- Once the alcohol has had a chance to work, use a dry, clean cloth to wipe away the mold and mildew.
- Finish by wiping down the leather with a damp cloth to remove any residue. And there you have it! Your leather is now mold and mildew free.
5. Alcohol Is A Great Way To Clean Grease And Oil From Leather
Another thing that can be very difficult to clean from leather is grease and oil. If you have a spill on your leather furniture or clothing, alcohol is a great way to remove it quickly.
Rubbing alcohol, apart from being a powerful disinfectant, is also great at breaking down grease and oil. This makes it perfect for cleaning leather.
- Simply apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and rub it into the affected area.
- The rubbing alcohol should be able to degrease your leather of any oils, and you should see the grease and oil start to break down immediately.
- Once it’s all gone, wipe away any excess alcohol with another clean cloth.
- You can also use a clean damp cloth.
- Condition your leather.
- Allow the leather to air dry
Tips For Cleaning Leather With Alcohol
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of cleaning leather with alcohol, here are a few tips to help you get the best results;
- Always test your leather in an inconspicuous area before using any cleaners, including rubbing alcohol.
- This will allow you to see how your particular leather reacts to the cleaner.
- When using rubbing alcohol on leather, always dilute it with water. This will help to prevent any damage to the leather.
- Use a clean, soft cloth when applying rubbing alcohol to leather. This will help to prevent any scratching.
- Be sure to condition your leather after cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. This will help restore the natural oils and keep them looking their best.
- And lastly, air dry your leather after cleaning with alcohol, and do not use any heat source like a hair dryer as this can damage the leather.
Now that you know how to clean leather with alcohol, you can keep your leather looking its best for years to come. Just be sure to follow these tips and take care of your leather, and it will last you a lifetime. Thanks for reading!