Buying a leather item like a belt, a jacket or a handbag is an investment that pays dividends for years to come. But spots and paint splatter can ruin your leather items and cut their lifespan short. The worst part is that most people don’t know how to treat these stains. AS the result, they commonly use solvent or paint thinner which only makes things worse.
(RELEVANT: How To Get Stains Out Of Leather)
The good news is that you don’t have to give up on your leather items just because they’re stained. Sure, it might take a bit of time and meticulous attention to detail to remove the stain. However, it is possible. Even if the paint has dried, you can still remove it. The most important thing is to find out what type of paint it is. That’s because oil and water-based paint require different types of cleaning methods.
Why is Rubbing Bad?
The first rule of thumb when it comes to removing paint from leather materials is to eschew rubbing of the paint. That is because that will only entrench the stain onto the leather. Contrary to popular belief, leather is a fragile material and it requires a lot of care. Therefore rubbing and scrubbing it with a sponge, brush or cloth is a no-no. For the best results, get a clean paper towel or soft cloth and gently blot the paint off without using any rubbing movements.
You should apply this fix as soon as the incident happens. Waiting for the paint to dry will make it even more difficult to get rid of the stain. Again, it’s important to be gentle and work slowly and meticulously. Rubbing the stain rigorously will only make things worse and even increase your workload in the long run. Plus, it has been proven that rubbing and scrubbing leather stains can actually damage the material for life.
Dealing with Wet Paint
Paper towels are by far the most effective and convenient material to use when removing a wet paint stain from a leather item. Try rolling the paper into a tube as that will make it easier to handle. And whatever you do, don’t spread the paint around while dabbing it away. This means you’ll have to use a piece of paper that is the same size as the affected spot.
Wet paint responds well to being cleaned with a water-based solution. That’s why most people mix an ounce of mild detergent with a quart of hot water to create a gentle yet effective cleaning agent. But, this step should come after you’ve dabbed most of the stain away using a paper towel. And you’ll have to use a sponge to apply the water solution to the paint residue. Again, apply gentle pressure when doing this to avoid further damage.
Lastly, dry the area off with a paper towel and use a silicone-free leather conditioner to gently rub the area down for added strength and shine.
Dealing with Dry Paint
You can remove most of the dry paint stain using a pin or the tip of a small sharp knife. Be very careful when doing this to avoid accidentally cutting through the leather material.
If there’s still dry paint residue left behind, spray some citrus cleaner on the area with a plant spray bottle. Be sure to spray a generous amount until the entire area is completely soaked. It’s important to note here that you should stick to the affected area only and avoid any contact with other parts of the material.
Allow the cleaner to soak for at least one minute before you wipe it off with a dampened piece of kitchen scrubbing pad. Be sure to use gentle force while rubbing the paint away. The last thing you want is to leave a nasty mark or tear on your prized leather.
Lastly, wipe the area using a clean cloth until it’s dry. Wait for another 60 seconds before you check the final result. If you still notice residue left behind, repeat the above process starting with a generous spray of a gentle cleaner and only stop when you notice that there’s no more paint left behind.
How to Remove Paint from Leather
As you can see, it’s much harder to remove dry paint than it is to remove wet paint from leather material. But the best way to beat both is by dealing with the problem right away. Don’t wait until the paint hardens. Place a wet cloth over the stain as soon as it happens to keep it moist so that it’s easier to remove later.
If you choose to use alcohol on the stain while treating it, be sure to follow it up with a good quality leather conditioner to prevent your leather from drying up.