7 Easy Home Remedies for Cleaning Faux Leather Items


Faux leather items, due to their stylish appearance and cost-effectiveness, have become a popular choice among consumers worldwide.

From furniture to fashion, faux leather has carved a niche in various industries. However, like other material possessions, these items require regular cleaning and maintenance to uphold their aesthetic appeal and longevity.

Neglect in this area can lead to dullness and degradation, detracting from their initial allure. Fear not, as maintaining your faux leather doesn’t have to be complicated or costly.

This guide will introduce seven easy and effective home remedies for cleaning faux leather, ensuring your items always look their best.

Common Stains and Dirt on Faux Leather

Before we dive into the cleaning solutions, let’s take a moment to understand the nature of faux leather and the most common types of stains and dirt we encounter.

Nature of Faux Leather

Faux leather, or synthetic leather, is a material that mimics the look and feel of genuine leather but is made from a plastic base.

It’s a fantastic alternative for those who want the leather look without the price tag (or the cow!). But just like real leather, it can attract a variety of stains and dirt.

Most Common Stains and Dirt Encountered

1. Ink Stains

We’ve all been there. You’re scribbling down your shopping list on the sofa, and whoops, your pen slips and leaves a mark on your beautiful faux leather couch. Ink stains can be tricky, but don’t despair!

2. Food and Beverage Spills

Whether it’s a splash of wine or a blob of ketchup from that late-night burger, food, and drink can leave unsightly spots on your faux leather items.

3. Grease and Oil Marks

After a day of tinkering in the garage, it’s easy to accidentally transfer some of that grease or oil onto your faux leather upholstery. Trust me, I’ve been there.

4. Dirt and Dust Accumulation

Over time, dirt and dust can accumulate on the surface of your faux leather items. This is probably the most common issue but also the easiest to tackle.

5. Mold and Mildew Growth

If your faux leather items are kept in a damp environment, you might notice some mold or mildew growth. It doesn’t look pretty, but it can be dealt with.

6. Ink Stains (Again!)

Did I mention ink stains already? Well, they’re such a common offender. They’re worth mentioning twice. Plus, different types of ink can require different treatment methods.

7. Scratches and Scuffs

You might find scratches and scuffs on your faux leather items if you have pets or kids in the house (or if you’re just a bit clumsy, like me!). But don’t worry! There are some great solutions for these, too.

Home Remedy 1: Gentle Soap and Water Solution

This is probably the most straightforward and accessible remedy for faux leather stains and dirt. It’s as simple as it sounds!

Soap and Water Mixture

You’ll need some mild dish soap and warm water. That’s right, just the ordinary dish soap you likely have sitting right there by your kitchen sink.

The trick is to make a mild solution, so you only want to use a tablespoon of soap per quart of water. The warm water helps the soap dissolve and can also aid in removing certain stains.

Step-by-Step Application Process

  • Mixing the Solution

Start by combining your dish soap and warm water in a bowl. Stir it until you have a consistent, soapy solution.

  • Testing in an inconspicuous area

Before you apply this all over your faux leather item, you’ll want to test it in an unseen area.

Apply a small amount of the solution using a soft cloth, then wipe it away with a clean, damp cloth. You’re good to go if you don’t notice any discoloration or adverse effects!

  • Application with a Soft Cloth

Dampen your cloth with the solution, then gently wipe the stained or dirty area. Remember, you’re not scrubbing the dirt off, but gently lifting it. Afterward, wipe down the area with a clean, damp cloth to rinse.

Advantages and Limitations of this Remedy

The major advantage of this home remedy is that it’s cheap, easy, and uses items you likely already have on hand. It’s also safe for most types of faux leather.

But remember that anecdote I shared about the ink stain resurfacing on my faux leather couch?

Well, gentle soap and water aren’t always enough for more stubborn stains like ink or oil. Sometimes, you might need to try a stronger cleaning solution, but remember, always test first!

Home Remedy 2: Vinegar and Water Solution

Another remedy that I have found to be effective in cleaning faux leather is a vinegar and water solution. It’s no secret that vinegar is a cleaning powerhouse and easily accessible in most homes.

It’s a simple solution — no pun intended — that can help lift stubborn stains from your favorite faux leather items.

Step-by-Step Application Process

  • Proper Dilution of Vinegar

First, you’ll need to prepare the solution. The vinegar can be a little strong, so dilution is key here. I usually recommend a 50/50 mix of vinegar and warm water.

Just like the dish soap solution, the warm water helps to dilute the vinegar and can also aid in lifting the stains.

  • Application Using a Sponge or Cloth

Once your solution is ready, dampen a soft cloth or sponge. Remember the rule: we’re gently lifting the dirt, not scrubbing it off. Rub the stained or dirty area softly, ensuring not to oversaturate the faux leather.

  • Wiping and Drying

After applying the solution, wipe down the area with a clean, damp cloth to rinse. Make sure you dry the area thoroughly afterward to avoid any watermarks.

I usually use a clean, dry cloth for this, or sometimes even a hair dryer in a cool setting if I’m in a hurry!

  • Sensitive Faux Leather Types

While the vinegar solution can be a highly effective cleaning method, it’s important to remember that not all faux leather is created equal.

Some types may be more sensitive to acidic cleaners like vinegar. So, just like with the soap solution, always test this in an inconspicuous area first.

If you notice any discoloration or texture changes, opting for a milder cleaning method is best.

Home Remedy 3: Baking Soda Paste for Stubborn Stains

Sometimes, you come across stubborn stains that refuse to budge with the usual cleaning methods.

This is where a baking soda paste can be your faux leather’s savior! Baking soda, with its gritty texture and natural cleaning properties, can help lift those tough stains.

  • Creating the Paste

Making the baking soda paste is as simple as mixing equal parts of baking soda and water in a small bowl until it forms a thick paste.

I remember the first time I tried this; I was amazed by how quickly the two ingredients blended into a thick paste, ready to tackle those stubborn stains!

  • Gently Scrubbing the Stain

Once your paste is ready, it’s time for a little gentle scrubbing. Take a soft sponge or cloth and apply a small paste directly onto the stain. Then, using circular motions, lightly scrub the affected area.

It’s important to remember not to scrub too hard; the aim is to lift the stain, not to damage the faux leather.

  • Wiping off Residue

After scrubbing, let the paste sit on the stain for about 10-15 minutes – enough time to binge a short episode of your favorite show!

Then, using a clean, damp cloth, wipe off the paste to reveal the cleaned faux leather beneath.

Remember when I told you about my favorite white faux leather jacket? Well, this method saved it from a stubborn coffee stain!

  • Suitable Stains for this Remedy

This method is particularly effective on darker, more stubborn stains such as coffee, wine, or mud.

Remember to test your paste in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor your faux leather. With this baking soda paste method, no stain stands a chance!

Home Remedy 4: Cornstarch for Grease and Oil Marks

You might be surprised that cornstarch, a common kitchen ingredient, can double as an effective cleaning agent for your faux leather.

Like it thickens your soups and stews, it can soak up grease and oil stains from your precious faux leather items.

It’s a lifesaver, especially when you accidentally spill some pizza grease on your favorite faux leather sofa!

  • Applying Cornstarch to the Stain

The application process is straightforward. Just sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch directly onto the oil or grease mark.

I usually make sure a thick layer of cornstarch covers the entire stain. I remember one time I spilled olive oil on my faux leather boots. The stain seemed impossible to remove, but cornstarch came to the rescue!

  • Allowing it to Absorb

Once the cornstarch is in place, give it time to work its magic. Let it sit on the stain overnight. This gives cornstarch enough time to absorb the oil or grease.

You’ll be surprised at how effective this is. It certainly was the morning after the olive oil incident!

  • Brushing off Residue

The next morning, brush off the cornstarch using a soft cloth or brush. Be gentle to avoid scratching the faux leather. You’ll most often see that the cornstarch has lifted the stain, just like it did with my boots!

  • Precautions and Best Practices

While cornstarch is a great stain remover, remember to spot-test it on an inconspicuous area of your faux leather to ensure it does not harm.

Also, don’t rush the process. Allow ample time for the cornstarch to absorb the stain. And remember, cornstarch works best on oil-based stains.

With cornstarch in your cleaning arsenal, you’re well-equipped to keep your faux leather looking pristine!

Home Remedy 5: Using Commercial Faux Leather Cleaner

There are several commercially available cleaners that I can personally vouch for. The Weiman Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner is a top-notch product I’ve found particularly effective.

Its balanced formula cleans faux leather surfaces without causing any damage. Another product I swear by is the TriNova Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner, which not only cleans but also extends the life of your faux leather items.

  • Guidelines for choosing the right product

When choosing a commercial faux leather cleaner, it’s important to consider a few key factors. Look for a cleaner that’s specifically designed for faux leather.

Also, check the product reviews and ratings. I spent hours reading reviews when I purchased my first faux leather cleaner, which paid off!

The cleaner I chose worked wonders for my faux leather bag. Don’t forget to consider the cost and quantity too. Buying in bulk might save you money if you have many faux leather items at home.

  • Application instructions and precautions

While using a commercial cleaner, follow the instructions on the label. Typically, you would apply a small amount of the cleaner onto a cloth and gently wipe the surface of your faux leather item.

Always test the product on a small, hidden area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the material. This advice saved my jacket once when a cleaner I was about to use would have discolored it!

Last but not least, avoid using too much cleaner at once. It’s better to apply a small amount and reapply if necessary.

Home Remedy 6: Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar for Mold & Mildew

Let me share another secret from my arsenal of home remedies: Lemon juice and cream of tartar. This combination is a game-changer when dealing with mold and mildew on faux leather.

I remember the first time I discovered a mold spot on my favorite faux leather jacket. My heart sank. But this simple yet powerful home remedy came to my rescue.

  • Mold and Mildew Issue on Faux Leather

One of the major issues with faux leather is its tendency to develop mold and mildew, especially when stored in damp, poorly ventilated areas.

The first time I had to deal with this, I was quite taken aback. I’d left my jacket in a damp basement over the summer, and when I retrieved it, it was, speckled with greenish-black spots. Panic set in, but then I recalled a home remedy a friend had once shared.

  • Step-by-Step Application Process

Creating the Solution: To create this miracle solution, mix equal parts of lemon juice and cream of tartar to form a paste. I usually use about a tablespoon of each for a small mold spot.

Application with a Soft Brush: Gently apply the paste to the moldy area using a soft brush. I typically leave it on for about 10 minutes, allowing the mild acidity of the lemon juice to kill the mold while the cream of tartar helps lift the spots.

Wiping and Drying: After 10 minutes, wipe off the paste with a damp cloth. Then use a dry cloth to remove any moisture. Always dry your faux leather item in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

Home Remedy 7: Olive Oil for Scratches and Scuffs

Here’s a secret from my kitchen that works wonders on faux leather – Olive oil! This pantry staple is not just for drizzling over salads or sautéing garlic but also works wonders on scuffs and scratches on faux leather.

I accidentally discovered this remedy when I was cooking dinner, and a bit of olive oil splashed onto my faux leather boots, and the scuff marks vanished!

Step-by-Step Application Process

  • Applying Olive Oil to the Affected Area

To use this remedy, apply a small amount of olive oil directly to the scuff or scratch on your faux leather item, using a cotton ball or a soft cloth. Just remember, less is more!

  • Buffing with a Soft Cloth

After applying the oil, grab a clean, soft cloth and gently buff the area in a circular motion. This helps the oil penetrate the faux leather and blend away the scuff or scratch.

  • Potential Drawbacks and When to Avoid This Remedy

Although olive oil can be a lifesaver for minor fixes, it’s not the solution for everything. Be cautious when applying it on light-colored faux leather, as it might darken the material. Also, a professional repair might be a better option if your item has deep cuts or tears.


So there you have it, my friends – seven easy home remedies for taking care of your beloved faux leather items, from using vinegar and baking soda for general cleaning to baby wipes for spot cleaning, and the surprising benefits of lemon juice, cream of tartar, and olive oil.

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your faux leather items looking great and lasting longer. Don’t wait for a stain or scuff to set in before taking action.

If you’ve found these tips helpful, please don’t keep them to yourself. Share this post with your friends, family, or anyone who might benefit from these easy, cost-effective faux leather care tips. After all, sharing is caring!

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