Nothing is more aggravating than getting home after a night out with friends only to realize your favorite leather jacket has a stain on it. Before you shell out money for the dry cleaner or decide to live with it, why not try removing the stain yourself. Many stains can be removed using products you already have in your home.
The key to effective stain removal is doing it as soon as possible. The more time the stain is left untreated, the more difficult, if not impossible, it will be to remove it. Whenever possible, treat stains as soon as they happen or as soon as you find them.
When treating oil or grease stains, blot the area with a clean cloth to remove as much as possible. Take care that you do not rub the stain as this can work it deeper into the leather, making it more difficult to remove. Once you've removed as much residue as possible, pour talcum powder over the stain, covering it completely. Allow to sit overnight and wipe away in the morning.
For gum, fill a plastic bag with ice cubes and rub over the stain. Once the gum has hardened, pull off. If any residue remains, use a hair dryer to warm the gum and wipe off with a clean cloth.
Mildew stains can not only be unsightly, but also carry an odor. Make a solution of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Take a clean cloth, dip it into the solution and then wring out. Make sure there is no excess water. Wipe the stain with the cloth and allow to dry completely.
Ink is one of the more difficult stains to remove. Lightly dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and blot the stain. Let dry completely. If stain remains, you can also try non-acetone nail polish removed on a clean cloth.
For salt stains, make a solution of three parts white vinegar to one part water. Lightly moisten a clean cloth with the solution and wipe clean. Air dry.
If your leather is light colored and the stain is dark, make a paste using a little bit of water and cream of tartar. Rub lightly into the stain and let sit for ten minutes. Follow with a second paste application. Wipe away paste with a lightly dampened sponge and allow leather to air dry.
When treating stains, it is always a good idea to do a spot test in an inconspicuous location. This will allow you to see if the treatment will have an adverse effect on your leather. While most treatments are safe, it is better to know for sure that your leather will safe.
Once you have removed a stain, you may want to clean the leather. If it is finished leather, you can use a gently soap such as Dove. Apply a small amount of the soap to a damp cloth and work it in, creating a light lather. Using a separate damp cloth, wipe away lather. Buff dry with a clean cloth. Finish with a leather conditioner once the leather has dried completely.
For unfinished leather, you will need saddle soap. Rub soap into leather with a damp cloth. Clean away lather with a damp cloth. Let air dry. Finish with a leather preservative like mink oil.
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