Cleaning Water Stains from Leather

person wiping a leather couch
  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20
What You'll Need
Leather care product
What You'll Need
Leather care product

Cleaning water stains from your leather furniture is an effective and inexpensive way to keep your leather furniture looking new and lovely. Common stains such as those caused by water can cause permanent damage and can ruin your furniture’s appearance.

Inevitably, your leather furniture will get water stains on it, and it's easy to panic and assume that caring for the leather will be costly and difficult. But it's actually quite easy. You just have to know exactly what you're doing, especially since removing these stains incorrectly can cause further damage to your leather. The four tips below will tell you in detail the right way you need to remove water marks or spots from your leather upholstery.

1. Sponge or Wipe off the Water

If you catch the water spill as soon as it happens, immediately and carefully wipe off the water with a clean sponge or cloth. Sometimes wiping the water off without delay will prevent a stain.

2. Avoid Using Saddle Soap as a Cleaner

Avoid the use of saddle soap to remove water spots, as the harsh chemicals in certain types of products can actually worsen staining.

3. Remove the Outline of a Water Spot

red leather chairs

Whether the water spot is from a messy spill or condensation from a glass that has been left on your leather, these spots can evaporate and leave an outline on your leather. Be sure to remove these outlines. Ironically, these same types of outlines can occur from your own efforts during cleaning. For this reason, it's important that you avoid using too much water when wiping off these surfaces.

4. Use a Damp Sponge

At times, you can use a clean damp sponge to wipe off a spot on your leather surface. Soak the sponge in a container of room temperature water, making sure before using it that it is clean and free of material such as food or beverages that might create an additional stain. Wring enough water from the sponge that it will be only damp, not wet.

5. Begin Cleaning

white leather sofa

To remove a water stain, begin moving your damp sponge lightly across the surface of the stained area you are working on. Start at the stain and wipe gently outward. If you are cleaning a cushion, an arm of your furniture, etc., use your sponge to gently moisten the entire area you are cleaning. In using this procedure, you are less likely to drag moisture and smear the stain onto other areas of the furniture. Consequently, you will be less likely to leave new stains.

6. Let the Leather Dry

Once you have cleaned a stained area with warm water and a damp sponge, wipe the leather with a clean, dry cloth, and let the surface dry.

7. Moisturize Leather

Only when the leather has thoroughly dried, is it then safe to apply leather care products to moisturize, soften, and condition your leather. Here is our guide on how to apply leather moisturizer.