How to Get Water Stains Out of Leather in 5 Steps

March 5, 2024

Treating water-damaged leather quickly is key to preventing stains, but it doesn't always happen. Here's how to get stains out of leather before they set in.

Water and Leather Do Not Mix

Leather is a durable choice for furniture in your business or home. It is easy to clean, is built to withstand wear and tear, and looks great. Leather is a big investment, but it can last longer than its upholstered counterparts. A high-quality leather sofa can last up to 25 years, while an upholstered sofa is past its prime after seven years.

Even with proper care and diligence, spills and damage are inevitable. When water gets on leather, it can cause discoloration, shrinking, hardening, and staining. After a spill happens, the molecules in the water bind with the natural oils in your leather furniture. As the water evaporates, it takes the oil with it and causes the leather to dry out. A water spill can lead to cracking and make your leather feel brittle. Water can also damage the dye in your leather item and leave unsightly stains.

CCI’s Tips to Banish Water Stains

Don’t despair! A small water spill should not damage your leather. In fact, most leather products and furniture come with a protective layer, so you’ve got plenty of time to grab a towel and wipe up the spill. If the water stain has set into the leather, there are still things you can do to remove it. Creative Colors International (CCI), the industry leader in leather and vinyl restoration, has some tips and tricks to solve the problem.

  1. Blot the stain: Use a clean, absorbent cloth to blot the stain. Be sure not to rub the stain, as this can spread it and make it worse.
  2. Use vinegar: Dilute white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio and apply it to the stain using a clean cloth. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then blot it up with another clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain is gone.
  3. Try rubbing alcohol: Dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and rub the stain gently. Be sure to test this method on an inconspicuous area of the leather first to make sure it won't cause damage.
  4. Use a leather cleaner: Purchase a leather cleaner designed for water stains and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the leather first to make sure it won't cause any damage.
  5. Call CCI. We Can Fix That! If the stain is particularly stubborn or you're not comfortable trying to remove it yourself, CCI can get the job done. CCI’s service technicians can come to your home or business to banish the stain and fix any damage. We repair rips, stains, tears, burns, and fading in leather and vinyl. Our service technicians have the tools they need to do the work in their mobile vans.

As an added bonus, we use environmentally friendly cleaners and dyes as part of our leather cleaning service to do our part to leave the world safe for future generations.

Prevention is Key

Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to leather. Try to keep leather items away from water and moisture as much as possible, and treat any spills or water damage immediately.

But, if you run a bustling business or live in a busy household with children and pets, spills happen. Taking steps to treat the leather will help stave off damage and increase the time you have to dry a spill before it causes a problem. Treat your leather furniture at least two times per year with a leather conditioner to help prevent future damage. A CCI technician can show you how to apply the leather conditioner thoroughly to keep your valuable leather pieces in like-new condition.

To learn more about CCI’s leather restoration techniques and connect with your local CCI technician, request a quote today.