How To Remove Stains In Leather Seats

You left the car window down or the sunroof open and there's a water stain in your car's leather seat....or your girlfriend spilled here red wine in your leather car seat on a night out on the town....or your kids decided they were a soon to be artist and tried their techniques out on your leather car seat with a pen, arrggg. Got kids myself, so feel your pain. Stain removal in leather seats can be tough, heres a few tricks to help get you going.

As a professional leather repair specialist I'm here to tell you that there are not to many products that can be used on a leather car seat that won't remove the finish before removing the stain. Most leather in todays cars is a finished leather with a water borne urethane leather dye applied to it and is pretty susceptible to chemicals and can be removed pretty easily with a solvent cleaner. So when in doubt call a professional.

Water stains in Leather Seat....this is a pretty hard one to get rid of. I recently had reader send me an email on how he could get the water stains out of his car after leaving his sunroof open. This part is kinda for him considering I think I lost his email with pictures, I did get to see them though, so not all was lost. The pictures showed a crease that ran along the middle of the leather seat where the water had puckered the leather. In this type of situation there are two things we could do, one is sand the crease out and with some fillers and dye make the seat new again, this is where a leather professional comes in to play, or replacement of the section that is creased, that's where an upholstery shop comes in. In these type of situations there aren't any leather conditioners or cleaners in the world that will remove a creased or puckered leather, what happens is the actual structure of the fibers in the leather have been altered and what you see is what you have.

If the water hasn't puckered the leather and has just left a stain, a little trick I learned from my good friend Dwain Berlin with Leather Craft Secrets, and you go to your bread box in the kitchen for this one. Take a piece of bread and roll it up into a ball and rub and blot the area with the bread ball, works pretty good. Dwain has a lot of great advice for leather care, and if your interested in some great fun with leather go check out his book, it's quite impressive and I myself learned a few things.

Most of the time water will just evaporate and with no problems and the stains will disappear. If your car leather gets wet dry it as best you can with a towel and then condition it with your Lexol Conditioner. One way to dry the cars leather is by leaving the windows down and setting it in the sun to dry, or crack the windows and turn your car on with the heat on full blast and let it run for about 30 minutes. I'm not real hip on that one cause it's a waste of gas but it does work to dry things out better. But always condition, some rain waters are pretty dirty and harsh and the leather needs those extra nutrients to keep it soft.

If the stains are just too bad then new leather dye is the only way to bring it back then call your local leather professional like me to come and make it new again.

Mold Stains in Leather Seat....Or mildew which ever. This one kinda goes along with the water stains. Take and mix a cup of water and a cup of rubbing alcohol and mix them together, take a towel and rub a small amount of the solution onto the stained areas, until the spot is gone, again watch for dye lift, this trick works pretty well and usually removes the mildew pretty quick without dye removal.

Food Stains in Leather Seat....This one can be an easy one if you just don't eat in your car, but I'm just as guilty as most and eat on the run. A mild dish soap and warm water with a rag or scotch brite pad will do the trick in most cases. Most automotive leather is finished and food stuffs usually will wipe right off. If you run into a stubborn one though try a little all-purpose degreaser on a rag, don't rub too much or dye may lift. If the stain on your leather car seat from food doesn't come up with this then the dye from the food has penetrated the fibers of the leather and has dyed it, so it's time for a professional leather dye job.

Aniline leather or NuBuck leather is a different story though, thats the soft stuff you see as an inserted piece usually in the middle of the seats. You can use the soapy solution but water spots sometimes show up, so a special cleaner works best for this kind of leather. One I suggest is from the guys over at Leather Magic, they have a NuBuck Leather Care Kit that is the answer to all your NuBack needs. This kit includes cleaners and conditioners for the soft stuff, this type of leather is delicate and should be treated as such. Don't use your usual leather cleaners and conditioners on this type of leather due to fact of the oils in them will damage the look of the leather, then no more soft feeling NuBuck, so definatly check out Leather Magics NuBuck Kit.

Ink, Marker, and Crayon on Leather Seat....Urgent!!! Get to it as soon as you can! If the ink is fresh you have a better chance of removing it from the leather then not. Rubbing alcohol, with a little bit of acetone added will sometimes get it. I've heard of hairspray, tried it with not much luck. Usually when an ink pen and leather come together they marry and don't split to easily. Ink is a dye and is made to penetrate whatever it comes into contact with. Most ink spots I've ran into I've usually had to dye the leather to cover the spot.

Crayon on a leather seat can be a booger if it's melted in the seat, you can try this but be careful not to burn or pucker your leather. Take an iron and a paper towel and lay the paper towel over the crayon and with a low heat rub the iron over the paper towel over the crayon. The crayon will melt into the paper towel, move the towel around to clean spots until the crayon is gone, a little of rubbing alcohol should remove the remaining. This trick works on carpet and cloth too. If they're just marks on the leather seat a little soap and water should do the trick or even a little rubbing alcohol on a towel works good to. If all fails there is a product from Protective Products Corp. that is all natural with no solvents that will remove crayon and lipstick it's called Solv-It, but just like anything try a spot in an unsuspecting spot to see if it removes dye.

One last trick that I've read about around the net and am in the process of testing it, but it the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, they do work around the house, so why not the car too. I've removed crayon and marks on my walls before with them, I do notice it take a little paint with it though, but they do work. If you use one, be careful and don't go ape sh$#, rub it then look, rub it then look, they will remove dye, so when using it take your time and check it as you go.

Sweat Stains in Leather Seat ....Salt stains from sweat can be pretty gross looking, but there is a little trick. Take and make a solution of 3 parts vinegar and one part water and wet a towel and rub the area clean, the vinegar breaks down the and helps to remove the stain.

Paint on Leather Seat....Paint removal on a leather car seat, well that ones a hard one. If it has dried it's probably there to stay. If it's a water color, just use soap and water to remove it. Latex house paint, you can try a little Goof Off but keep in mind this is a solvent and can damage the leather seat and remove dye. I have in the past been able to take my pocket knife and scrape it off. Wet the area first with a little water and lightly try to lift the paint off with your knife or even a razor blade, but don't cut the leather. Mostly though this really doesn't work without removing the dye underneath, but I have had luck sometimes. If its car paint, try a little paint reducer on a rag, but just wipe lightly and don't soak the area with the reducer. Solvents and leather seats just don't mix.

My best advice to all when it come to stains in your leather car seats, and that is to be conscious of what you do, try to keep our little Picasso's pen free, keep our food out of our cars, roll the windows up and sunroofs closed, and always remember to treat the leather with your Lexol Conditioner on a regular basis, this helps to keep the leather car seats protected and soft and makes it easier to get the spills and accidents from turning into disasters.

But always remember that we leather repair professionals are here to save those leather car seats and bring them back to there original state. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me for all your leather repair needs.


hey, i have a brand new convertible with tan leather and now some black marks on them from im assuming me throwing various heels/boots/shoes in my backseat and then my friend cramming in and sitting on top of all of it. i have tried EVERYTHING, literally, everything. spent over 100 dollars on so many different products at every auto store i know. finally, this guy at a hardware store told me to use denatured alcohol solvent, and i rubbed it on, and now i feel like it just rubbed off the finish of my seats, and the stains are STILL THERE. i take such good care of my seats (when im not being dumb and throwing things into the backseat) and always rub them down in leather conditioner and clean them regularly but these marks are killing me! i really dont want to spend like 2000 dollars having them restored. any suggestions???

Well denatured alcohol is a little harsh but not a bad thing to use, I've used it before to remove marks and to prep leather before I dye.
When you say it took the finish off, are you saying the dye. Do you see raw leather, like a darker spot where you rubbed, or is it just kinda dull looking or clean looking?
Black marks on leather can be a pain. Most of the time I can remove them with my prepping solution, you can find the mixer at, and a scotch brite pad. Now when doing this I will spray the whole area and scrub sometimes the whole seat bottom to get the right sheen. Otherwise I have a spotted seat or an area that just looks funny. Then I condition after wards.
Now keep in mind I dye seats, and if this solution takes the color off when I'm scrubbing a black spot, then I know it was just not meant to come off and I have to dye it anyways.
This solution can take the color off so if you use this stuff be careful. Don't scrub to hard with the scotch brite pad. Sometimes a lighter touch with the pad helps and works better anyways.
When you use harsh chemicals like alcohol, acetone, ect. you remove all the oils on the top layer of the leather so if you just clean a spot then you will have a spot left by the cleaner, you know what I conditioning after you clean will bring the sheen back to your seats.
There are times when a mark will just not come out and that's where I come in as a mobile leather repair professional. The seat may have to be dyed to remove the marks in the leather, and $2000, well I wish I could charge that, but a leather seat to be dyed by a professional should only cost you at the most a $100-$150 depending on whether you want the front ones to look new too. If you use a professional make sure they use a water based dye system, and check references. You don't want the dye peeling off or cracking your seats 6 months from now.
If your in the Springfield, Missouri area look me up, just go to my contact page. I'd be happy to make those seats look like they did when you bought the car.

Good Luck and Talk to ya soon,
Mike "TIG"

I just bought a 2009 Nissan Murano, it came with cloth, but had a leather package put in it, and when i got it back i have doubts that it infact really is leather....or is it a leatherette? Can you tell me how to tell if it's really NOT leather!?
Thanks! :)

My guess is that it truly is leather. Most leather kits that I have seen are true leather. Now with most all leather kits, not all is leather though. The face of the seat is the only leather. The sides and back of the seat are vinyl. Sounds like you kinda get ripped off when they say they just put a leather kit in your car, but they do this for cost and durability reasons. Leather hides are not cheap and to have an entire seat wrapped in leather would cost you a fortune, so the manufactures use vinyl where needed. In fact in some of the newer vehicles they are even using vinyl on the face of the seats. With the high rise bolsters in some cars, leather doesn't wear as well as vinyl, the new Corvette is one example, the only leather in those are a small strip down the center of the seat. Vinyl has come along way and some wears, feels, and looks even better then leather.
If you looking to make sure you have leather, then you almost have to remove the covers to really tell, unless you can feel the difference. Leather and vinyl do have a different feel. You almost have to be able to see the backside of the material to really tell, leather will have a raw leather showing where as vinyl will have a cloth backing. So with that said, feel pretty confident that you got leather. But also feel confident that you made a good choice by putting a leather kit in you vehicle. Not only does it add value to your car and a great look, but you will enjoy the fact of being able to keep it looking cleaner longer. The cloth in the new Nissan's hold stains like a magnet. I've seen 2008's with next to no miles on them with unremoveable stains in the cloth, the new cloth is terrible.
Well I hope this helps and enjoy your new Murano those are really nice vehicles.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike "TIG"

I have Brabus Leather seats in my smart roadster but the passengers one got moldy on the side i tried cleaning off the mold with just a damp cloth got most of the mold but its ripped through the seat is there anyway to bring it back i have a pic to show you what i mean:

Looks like from the picture the dye has come far as a rip I couldn't see it. If the leather is torn an upholstery repair tech could mend the tear or an upholstery shop can replace the sections that are damaged. Now if there's no holes, resurfacing the seat is no problem. If you want to do it yourself let me know and I'll get you the supplies, if not your local upholstery repair professional should have no problem resurfacing it for you.
So how do you like your smart roadster, their pretty cool looking, a little small, but neat. Send me a pic of the whole car, I'd like to see it. Well hope this helps and let me know if you need some supplies.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike "TIG"


I stupidly put a slip on cover on my leather steering wheel of my 07 Silverado to prevent wear. I went to change out the cover and found a brown stain around the perimeter of my light gray wheel. I have tried Meguires leather cleaner/conditioner with a micro fiber cloth with no luck. I just had the truck detailed and noted this problem. They claimed to have got it out but did not. Any ideas of how to safely remove this stain?


Great to hear from you...
Unfortunately you might be in trouble as far as just cleaning it off and having a perfect steering wheel again. Since you took it to a detail shop and they couldn't get it out, considering they probably used a pretty strong cleaner, about the only other option I might have for you is you might try a little acetone/nail polish remover on a rag and see if that may break it...try it a spot first because you might lift color too. Once done condition, because the acetone will pull the oils out of the leather.
This is the biggest reason I totally discourage using covers unless the wheel is bad to begin with. They just do more damage then good on leather, in fact I wrote a post about it here . I redo more steering wheels with damage from covers, in fact did it leave little rig's in the leather from the backing to the cover? I've even seen numbers and letters imprinted into the leather from steering wheel covers...pretty sad, I think they should put a disclaimer or something on them.
If the stains don't come out then your only solution is to have it resurfaced (dyed). You can contact your local car dealer and ask them who they would recommend. Or if your willing to tackle the project yourself. Then let me know and I'll send you instructs and the hook up on supplies. Orrr...if your in the area give me a shout and I'll redo it for you.
Well Marc I hope the acetone works, but I have a feeling your going to have to dye the wheel to be happy. So let me know if I can help in any way.

Talk to ya soon....Mike "TIG"

Hi Mike
I have a 06 Ford Explore with two tone leather seats, tan with light tan or cream in the center. They looked great until one of my boys( I have three so this won't be the last time I write to you.) left a orange crayon on my seat. My wife must have got to it when it was still melted. So she got up most of the crayon, But I'm left with a nice orange stain on my cream colored leather. Please help me this is our first really nice car and I want to keep it that way. What other suggestions do you have to keep my nice leather seats looking that way and don't suggest selling the kids, because I already tried that after the orange crayon thing and my wife told me no. lol


Yeah believe me there are times I'd like to sale my kids
hmmm, hopefully the crayon hasn't penetrated the dye on the leather. I'd first try some dawn dish soap mixed with the hottest water you can stand, then with a small brush scrub the area and wipe with a micro fiber towel. What we're trying to do with the hot water and soap is to break down the wax in the crayon. If this doesn't break it you might try a little finger nail polish remover on a towel, the acetone should cut through it pretty quickly. Be very careful with this though it can remove the dye from the seat. Just put the acetone on a towel and rub gently, don't soak the area, rub it a little then let it dry a few seconds before rubbing again.
One last trick, but I really don't like these things on leather due to they can remove dye really quickly, is the Magic Erasers by Mister Clean. Just get the thing wet and rub gently over the stain, it will take the top layer off hopefully leaving you stain free.
Now if all fails and the stain is still there, don't freak out it can be resurfaced by a professional for around $50 or so. They should be able to prep and re-dye the seat and leave you with a new looking seat.
If your in my area just give me a call or check with your local car dealers and find out who they would recommend, most of my work I do is for Car Dealers and I get a lot of recommendations from them.
Let me know how things come out.

Talk to you soon,
Mike "TIG"


Your tip to use acetone followed by leather conditioner work great in removing the stain left by a steering wheel cover. After 3-4 applications and some elbow grease with a microfiber towel all is good now. No need for a dye job.

Thanks a million!


You are very welcome! Glad to hear it worked!

Later...Mike "TIG"


Thanks for the advice, the Dawn soap worked great. Besides not letting the kids ride in the Explore, What are the best tips for keep my leather seats looking good for many more years? What is the best cleaner and conditioner to use? I also bookmarked your web page, because with light colored seats and three boys I have a feeling we will be talking



Great to hear from you :)
Well we can't leave the kids out that's for sure, but there are measures we can take to keep our vehicles looking great for years to come.
As far as the cleaning part, Dawn dish soap and warm water is probably the best and the cheapest to use...The conditioning part is a little different though, there are so many products on the market that are well OK, but there are two that stand out from the crowd and are ones that you really need to consider. One is called Lexol and can be purchased from the links on my site, the other is made by my supplier of Leather Reconditioning Supplies ( the guys I buy all my supplies from ) they are located at, just give them a call and tell them I sent you and they will get you set up with right conditioner to use.
Now as far as how to apply and how often...just use a clean cloth to apply it, apply a liberal amount to the face of the seat (this is leather, the sides and back are vinyl so no need to waste the leather conditioner on the vinyl) let it set for say 15-30 minutes, then buff with another clean towel. This will need to be done every 3-6 months and or after every cleaning, it's that easy.
Thanks again for your comment and let me know if there's anything else I can do to help :)

Talk to ya,
Mike "TIG"

Help is here hopefully...ouch! Sorry to hear for your dilemma .
Depends on where on the door panel it is...if it is on the plastic part then just taking a little Vinyl Dressing to the area and replenishing the oils back to the plastic should work. Now if it has hit an area that has been dyed then the only resolve is to have the area resurfaced.
Acetone can do wicked things to an interior of an automobile.
If you can get me a picture or two that would give me a little better idea as to a solution...

Talk to you soon,
Mike - The Interior Guy

Help - my mother dropped a tad of nail polish remover on the inside of a borrowed car - and the color came out of a small panel on the side door - is there anything we can do?

Nail polish was spilt on my passenger seat and a little on the side of the door a year ago--I was told it couldn't be removed from leather--I tried some mild soap (I didn't use only the suds) but had no luck---Now I want to sell it but I really need to remove that polish--my car is a 2005 Mercury, Montego and I don't have the slighest idea what kind of leather the seats are.
Do you have any idea's that could help me; or has the passage of time been too great?
I'd appreciate any help you can give me.

Well as far as your door panel goes you might still be in luck. All you'll need is what you remove the nail polish with and that's your nail polish remover. You can try the non acetone first and if needed then acetone should do the trick. Then spray a little Armor All over the area to return the shine.
Now as far as the leather seat goes we might have a bit of a problem. More then likely the nail polish has penetrated the surface dye of the leather which means when you remove the nail polish you might remove the dye also leaving you with a spot of raw leather. Which if you want to attempt it can be redyed back, which I can help you with. Do the same thing to your seat as you would with the door panel, but use a Q-tip to gently take the nail polish off. Just work slowly and try not soak the Q-tip prior to rubbing the area, maybe dab it a bit with a paper towel first. Work slowly and take your time, you might get lucky and remove the nail polish without removing the dye from the seat. Just take layers off at a time and let the acetone dissipate a bit between applications. Sometimes just lightening it can take the eye away from it by just not being so intense.
One thing you will notice is the area you removed the nail polish from will be cleaner then the rest of the seat, leaving you another spot. So to take of that you might want to get a bucket of warm water, add some dish soap and scrub the seat with a nail brush. Wipe them down as you go with a terry towel then condition them really good with a leather conditioner like Lexol, this will make your seats nice and soft again and look great for the sale.
Adds value to your ride if it's top notch and clean from top to bottom, people in today's economy really want a lot for the value. So I wish you luck with this and let me know if you need any help with getting a color for the re dye if needed.
If at anytime you think your not up for the task then check in with your local dealer and see if they have a person that they could recommend to have your seat repaired by a professional like myself. Most of the work I do is for dealers, I am an independent vendor, which means I go around from car dealer to car dealer and work on their cars to get them ready to sell. Basically I work for myself, and there are probably guys just like myself in your area. Just call the used car department and ask, they should have no problem getting you to a great interior repair professional.

Talk to ya soon...
Mike - The Interior Guy
Automotive Interior Professional

I just bought a new Ford F-150 truck with leather tan interior. I can already notice on the drivers seat a stain from my black leather belt, this stain is located near the lumbar part of the seat. What can I use on these seats to get rid of this stain? What can I do to prevent this in the future?

This is an ongoing problem with a lot of the new leathers on the market today. Part of it is they are putting less dye on the seats to give it a softer feel which in turn makes the dyes from belts, blue jeans, suits, and other clothing to actually dye the leather too. It's crazy but can be solved.
You can try to remove the belt dye first by using just some warm water and soap. Take a little nail brush and towel and scrub the area on the seat and see what happens. This sometimes will work if the dye from the belt was a water based dye.
Now if this doesn't do it then something a little stronger may be used but be warned this might remove the dye from the seat too, but if the water trick didn't work then a resurface may be the only way to hide the spot. Take a little acetone on a towel and lightly rub the area in a circular motion. It should remove it pretty quickly if it's going to work, if you have to really work at it then your going to remove dye.
Once the stain is removed then there is a product I can get you that can be applied to the seat that basically seals the dye so not to be so susceptible to these kind of stains. It's a new product and in fact I haven't even had a chance to try it out yet. I'll let you know soon on this one though I have to make an order this week with the guy anyways and I'll get some and get back with you.

Talk to you soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

Unfortunately there may not be anything to do but have the seat resurfaced. What happens is the blue dye from your jeans has actually dyed the leather, and I mean a penetration dye too. The dyes on the leathers in the newer vehicles today are so thin to give us that soft feeling that its leaving them very susceptible to dye transfers from our clothing. And on the other side the clothing manufactures are using cheaper dyes which are bleeding out. There is a product that I can get that will seal the leather off that prevent this from happening but unfortunately your past that point now. My recommendation to you would to be contact your local dealer and see if they can have the seat dyed. Most of the work I do is for the local car dealers which refer me onto customers like yourself. So they should be able to get you to someone like myself to have your seat resurfaced. Sorry for not having a cleaner for this but I have tried just about everything and have yet to find something that doesn't strip the original dye too. Well I hope this helps and let me know how things turn out.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

Sounds like you may have taken the topcoat off the leather. One thing you can try is to clean the seat with Dawn dish soap in a bowl of hot water. Use a scrub brush, like a nail brush and scrub the entire seat bottom really well, getting a good lather. Wipe it down with a clean micro fiber towel or terry towel as you go. Then condition with Lexol. This sometimes will eliminate a ring like that, the alcohol will force the dirt down on the leather causing the ring. If this doesn't work then you can go one step further and use a little Nail Polish Remover on a towel and with your finger rub the area around the ring and see if it disappears, but be real careful with the area of the ring the dye will be thin there and you could rub it to the raw leather. Then condition again. You will be wiping some of the dye away and the topcoat, but it's either that or a ring. The Lexol will help to seal it slightly. I have done this before with cleaners and preps of my own, like a drop on a seat while doing a repair on a console in the middle of the car. Granted I have dyes and sealers to fix my screw up but mostly it just takes a little cleaning to rid the droplet marks.
If these little tricks don't work then an Automotive Interior Professional like myself will need to resurface the seat back to new.
I just thought of something too, if the ring has actually puckered the leather and you can feel the ring then the only fix to this is replacement. There really isn't a way to fix something like that. Just contact your local upholstery shop and have them replace that section of the seat, they shouldn't have to replace the whole seat bottom.
Well good luck to ya and let me know what you come up with.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy
Automotive Interior Professional

I borrowed my mother in laws car while mine was in the shop. I tossed my work bag in the back seat, and I had a bottle of Body Spray in my bag. Well needless to say, some got out of the bottle and has not made a stain on the leather. Is there any way to fix this mess??? The body spray is made up of mostly alcohol, but not sure how to get rid of the ring it left in the seat. Any Suggestions PLEASE...



We purchased a ford escape in november of this year and it has light tan leather seats and they are staining from our blue jeans.

Any advice on what to use and what I could use to clean them and is there anything I could put on them to seal them so the stain would not set


First, thanks so much for this website. I'm buying a used 2008 Volvo XC90 tomorrow and the only problem I'm worried about is the stain on the steering wheel (yes, I have the numbers and all!) that came from a previous owner's steering wheel cover. Ahh! I'm so worried I won't be able to get it out and I don't like the look of any covers I've seen on the internet, so another cover isn't looking like a great option for me. This is my only hope. Would you suggest anything other than the acetone, followed by leather conditioner? Should I use straight-up acetone, or nail polish remover? And, got any preference for leather conditioners? Looks like Marc (above) had some luck with this method. Would love to know what he used! (sounds like he used Meguire's leather conditioner).

If this doesn't work and you don't have other ideas, how much would re-dying the leather cost? I live on the east coast.. not sure who to trust and how much to pay for this sort of thing if I had to.

Many many thanks,

I would definitely get a hold of a professional to resurface the wheel or even consider replacement. I hate this for you, I ran into an 07 Ford truck today that had the same thing, and this was a nice truck too! It just doesn't make since to me for someone to put a steering wheel cover over a brand new steering wheel.
I wouldn't suggest taking acetone to the leather though unless your planning on dyeing it after wards. A professional might be able to resurface the wheel if its not to bad for around $75-100 (that's around what I would charge to do it for you). Go to your local new car dealer and find out who they would recommend, a lot of the work I do is for car dealers so they should be able to steer you in the right direction (no pun intended, lol)
Well I wish you luck in your venture :)

Talk to ya soon,
Mike - The Interior Guy

Thanks, Mike. It worked just fine. The patina is returning quickly and we a very happy and relieved! Thanks again.


I have a 2010 Ford Expedition with tan leather interior. I have started to notice a black faded area appear near the lumbar area on the driver's side seat as if the dye transferred from my black belt onto the seat. I have tried Meguiar's Leather Cleaning/Conditioner, Soap/Water, Magic Eraser, Hand Santizer, and even asked the dealership and local detail shop for help. Of course, I stumbled across your page because none of the aformentioned worked in removing the stain (only lightned it some). Would you be able to suggest anything?

The local detail shop suggested buying leather dye from the local auto shop, however, I am afraid I may not be able to find the exact color to match perfectly.

Any help would be great.


Unfortunately your going to have to resurface the leather to get rid of the darker spot you have going on. The problem is that whatever it was has actually dyed the leather, the ink or dye has penetrated the leather and the only way to get rid of this is to have the seat resurfaced. You can buy the dye at the auto shop but the stuff you will get could damage the leather further or like you said not match very well. My suggestion to you is to contact the a few car dealers around your area and ask them if they have an Automotive Interior Professional like myself to that works on their cars for sale. Or you can get a hold of your local upholstery shop and see if they have someone they use. Its an unfortunate thing going on here with the new leathers soaking up other dyes as such. I run into this on a daily basis and have tried numerous products and even used lacquer thinner to try to break through it. But the only thing I usually end up doing is removing the existing dye on the seat exposing raw leather underneath before the stain is gone and have to dye it anyways. So put away the cleaners and try to see if you can get a hold of a professional before you end up in a real pickle and ruin the leather on your seat.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

Hi, I recently bought some lillies and had placed the plant in my back seat, some of the flower rubbed off on the back of my seat and I cannot get it off, wondering if you had any tips, have tried rubbing alcohol with no luck Thank you for your time, frustrated car owner Tiffany

The kids were applying sunscreen in the car on the way to the Memorial Day I have dullish patches on the leather interior everywhere they touched it with sunscreened hands and the backs of their legs. What to do?

Wow, never heard of this. I'm wondering if it just basically cleaned the top surface of the leather and what may need to be done is just to finish the job. Your leather isn't shiny naturally, from the factory your leather had a dull finish and over time oils from your skin and conditioners that have been applied have basically buffed the leather to a shine. A suggestion would be to take a bucket of warm water with a little dawn dish soap and 1/2 oz. of ammonia mixed in and scrub the seats with the mixture with a scrub brush working a section at a time wiping clean with a clean micro fiber towel. Next wipe the seat with a mixture of 2 oz. vinegar and quart water, this will neutralize the cleaner you just put on to clean the seats and helps to preserve your leather. After clean, neutralized, and dry condition them thoroughly with Lexol leather conditioner. If this doesn't work like I think it will then resurfacing them may be your only option. Hopefully just a good cleaning and conditioning will do the trick though. Hope this helps out and let me know how things go for you.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

Hi Mike!

Please help....

My brown leather belt, got a bit warm, while I was sitting in the car wearing it and stained the beige leather seats in my brand new VW Eos. :( I have tried soapy water with the soft side of a sponge and leather wipes to remove the stain, but with no luck.

I see you have a post further up about using a small nail brush with soapy water or "a little acetone on a towel and lightly rub the area in a circular motion. It should remove it pretty quickly if it’s going to work, if you have to really work at it then your going to remove dye." Is that all I can do? Should I try the soapy water again? or just go ahead with the acetone? What about Oxiclean spray away? Or what do you think of the magic eraser?

What about that product you mentioned to seal in the dye, so it doesn't happen again?

Thanks for your help,


I'm running into this a lot Tanja and unfortunately there's usually only one solution and that is to have the seat recolored. You can try warm water and a brush with soapy water and then maybe the acetone, one thing I will say not to use and that is the Magic Eraser, it will remove the dye from the seat for sure, so no eraser. But really there might not be a clean for this. As far a the sealer I have talked about, I am in the works on getting my hands on some for testing. I do use a tougher clear for all my customers and have not had any complaints so far, but there is always something better and I'll let you know soon on that one. But back to your seat, try the things I recommend then if no luck then check with your local car dealers or upholstery shops and see if you can find a guy like myself to resurface the leather that is discolored. Wish you luck with this one, these stains can be a pain....

Talk to you soon,

Mike Warren - The Interior Guy


Bought a new Silverado last Friday with tan leather interior. First day back to work this week and some how I managed to get automotive grease on my pants. Now there are a few streaks of it on the drivers seat. Any ideas on how I can remove them. Great BLOG you have here.

Sounds like a good degreaser would work to get the oil off, something like Simple Green. You can also use a brush to help get right down into the grain and a micro fiber towel for wipe up. Just be sure to rinse with some warm water and condition well after its dry.

Talk to you soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

you must use the best chemical for this

Hi Mike, I have a 2010 Jeep Liberty with tan leather seats. I had wiped my seats down with
a Clorox wipe, after some one with a contagious illness had been in my car. I did go back and
wipe the areas cleaned with Clorox wipe with a damp cloth. Everything was fine and the leather
did look great. But a couple of weeks later, I noticed a small area on my seat (right at
the area where the bend of my knee sits) it looked like a few white spots. At first I though
I must have missed wiping that area with the damp cloth, so I used a leather cleaner/conditioner
that I have used in the past. This time the cleaner/conditioner made the area very dark. But I
think it was dark because of the amount I used. To say the least it scared me. Instead of leaving
it alone and letting it dry, I started cleaning the are with other cleaners. Now there is a place
the size of my hand that is multi-colored. the best way to describe the color is the two toned UPS
symbol. I think I have removed the dye in that area. Can I dye this myself?