How to Remove Oil Stains from Leather

What You'll Need
Talcum powder
Vacuum cleaner

Knowing how to remove oil stains from leather materials is important. This knowledge can leave your furniture looking good even after an accidental spill. Generally, small oil stains can be removed from leather quite easily. Larger ones will end up needing professional treatment.

Step 1 - What Type of Stain?

It’s important to act quickly when you find a stain. The steps you need to take to remove oil stains depends largely upon the speed at which you act. It’s important to remove the oil before it can soak into the leather and leave a mark.

If you’re too late, the oil stain will need professional treatment. Part of knowing how to remove oil stains is knowing what you can and can’t accomplish yourself.

Step 2 - Powder

As soon as you spot the stain, pour talcum powder on it, enough to cover the entire stain. Once you’ve done this, start to rub it into the stain with your fingertips. The idea is to have the powder absorb the oil. This will work better if the powder is warm, which is why you need to rub it in. Doing this creates friction and, as a result, heat to pull the oil away from the leather.

You need to be patient doing this, as you'll have to rub the powder in for quite a while, and you may have to try adding more talcum powder as you go.

Step 3 - Cornstarch

There are alternatives to using talcum powder. If you don't have powder, try cornstarch instead. It works in exactly the same way as talcum powder. Apply it in the same way, pouring it onto the stain on the leather and rubbing it into the materials to heat it up.

Once again, it’s vital to be patient and keep working the cornstarch slowly. It will take time to work out all the oil, so keep going. There’s no need to rub hard, just make sure you cover the entire stain area.

Step 4 - Removing the Powder

After working the powder or cornstarch for a while, take your vacuum cleaner and vacuum away the powder. You should see that most, if not all, of the stain has been removed. If there is still some of the oil stain remaining, use more powder or cornstarch on it. Keep going until you’ve removed the last of the oil stain.

Once you’ve done this, vacuum away the rest of the powder or cornstarch. If necessary, repeat until all the stain has disappeared. The vital thing is to work on the stain as soon as possible. If left for any substantial length of time, it will soak into the leather, and this treatment won’t remove it. Apart from removing the stain, this method generally won’t remove any color from the leather, so it will look as good as new when you’ve finished. Complete by wiping lightly with a damp cloth, then drying with a clean cloth.