How To Remove A Stain From Leather Furniture

sofa stain

Odds are that something will eventually spill or fall onto your leather furniture and create a mark – but, don't despair!  

The good news is that for most spills, you can usually remove or minimize the stain with just water.

Any water-based liquids won't typically stain a leather sofa – especially with the types of dyes and protectants used in leather furniture today.  

If you have a spill, whether its soda, or coffee or wine, just blot up as much of the liquid as you can utilizing any sort of microfiber towel.  

Whatever you do, don't rub it!  Rubbing the liquid can help embed the spill into the leather, especially if your furniture lacks any heavy protectant. 

Keep blotting the stain until the towel is completely dry and then let the leather air dry.

If that doesn't work, try some leather cleaner.

How Do I Get Ink Stains Out Of Leather?

Once you get away from liquids, things get a little bit trickier. If you have a kid, there's a very high likelihood that a pen with ballpoint ink might ultimately meet your leather sofa. 

Now, I'm no chemistry expert, but I've heard that hairspray or rubbing alcohol are the best treatment for ink on a leather sofa.

However, based on my research, these chemical-based products should never be used for any sort of leather products. Why?

The chemicals will potentially remove the color of the leather and will not remove the ink. 

As shown in the video below, Pamela Villagomez of Leather Solutions says to avoid things like rubbing alcohol and instead paint over the leather. 

There are also commercial products available such as Amodex, which say that they can remove sharpie a stain from a sofa, but I'm quite hesitant to recommend any of these products. 

Note, if you have used Amodex or any other ink removal product please let me know at or in the comments below.

How Do I Remove Chocolate Stains From Leather?

So I know first hand about this one. 

We have a super nice leather chair we bought at Macy's


Somehow, someway, I sat in a piece of chocolate that smushed into our beautiful leather chair. I'm still blaming my kids for this one.  

Whatever the case, I panicked, as I had no experience in removing chocolate from leather and it looked pretty messy. I started by dabbing it with water to no avail, and then I read some stuff online about mixing dish soap with water, and that worked a bit, but didn't entirely remove the stain. 

I kept dabbing with the soap. Ultimately, it didn't entirely remove the stain, and I probably rubbed it too hard, but the chocolate basically blended in with the leather. And if you have a darker leather sofa, that's what will happen - the spill and the stain will ultimately just become a part of your furniture.

So, the best advice, do your best to blot it up.

But you might not get it all, and it's probably okay, because no one is really going to notice anyways. 

What About Removing Butter Or Grease Based Stains?

If you've spilled butter or anything with grease on your sofa, do not use water!

I would just keep blotting the spill until the stain is dry.  Many leather experts recommend allowing the stain to "settle" for a day or two before re-evaluating, however, this will certainly depend on the type of leather and type of protectant used on the sofa. 

This actually was my experience with my chocolate stain - the stained area actually started to look a little bit better over a few days.  

Often the oil will re-settle in the leather and not be noticeable. However, if the stain is very noticeable, it could make sense to try and degrease your leather. 

This involves turning the cover of the cushion inside out, adding a spray leather degreaser, and then scrubbing the stain.

If that fails, contact a leather repair person in your area to see about a professional cleaning or repair. 

I should also note that the first step should always be to consult with your leather furniture manufacturer to see if they have any recommended tips or guidance surrounding your issues. 

About the author Tom

When I started shopping for a leather couch two years ago, I was confused and overwhelmed by the information available to me. I decided to launch Best Leather Couches in order to create the best resource for shoppers looking for a new leather couch. I hope you enjoy the site. Feel free to drop me a line anytime at

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