Can Faux Leather Be Stained? (Everything You Need To Know)

Can Faux Leather Be Stained

Faux leather is a material that looks like the real thing, but it’s cheaper and somewhat environmentally friendly. Real leather stains easily but can faux leather be stained?

While it is possible for your faux leather items such as jackets, couches, car seats to get stained, it will however depend on the type of stain.

Faux Leather is made of plastic materials such as vinyl or polyurethane so it does not stain easily due to its stain-resistant finish. However, as stated before, faux leather getting stained will also depend on the type of stain.

While stains like mud, juice, and coffee are easy to remove from faux leather goods, other stains like grease, oil-based food items (soy sauce, salad dressing), and ink will be harder to remove.

Does Faux Leather Stain Easily?

So yes! It is possible for faux leather to get stained but it’s much harder when compared to real leather that gets stains easily.

Faux leather does not get stains easily because most plastic-based materials are stain-resistant and will not get stained easily.

Even if your faux leather gets stains, it is a lot easier to clean them when compared to cleaning stains from real leather items.

While simple stain removal solutions like soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or vinegar can be used to clean stains from faux leather items, it will usually take a more abrasive cleaner, special or professional leather cleaners to remove stains from real leather items.

Reasons Why Faux Leather Does Not Stain Easily

This then begs the question why is it that faux leather does not get stained easily? Some of these reasons include;

Faux Leather Materials Are Plastic-Based

Faux leather is made from plastics. This makes the faux leather surfaces resistant to many types of staining. Faux leather is made up of plastic materials like polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and others.

When stains come into contact with these plastics, the stains usually bead up and can be easily wiped away.

This is because plastics are hydrophobic or water-resistant materials. So even if you spill wine on your faux leather couch, the wine will bead up and can be easily wiped away before it has a chance to set in.

Stains that dry over the surface of your faux leather items will usually be removed with plastic scrapers or a dull blade.

Faux Leather Is Finished With Stain-Resistant Coating

Another reason is that faux leather is usually finished with a stain-resistant coating. Some finishes that are used on the surface of faux leather items include paraffin wax, silicone, and acrylic.

These finishes make it difficult for liquids to penetrate the surface of faux leather and as a result, make it resistant to staining.

In general, faux leather is a material that is resistant to staining because of the materials it is made from and the finish that is applied to it.

While faux leather can be stained, it will usually depend on the type of stain and how hard it is to remove – as stated before.

Most Faux Leather Has A Glossy Finish

The surface of faux leather is usually a glossy finish, making it difficult for stains to adhere to the surface.

The shiny or glossy surface you usually see on faux leather materials is a type of finish that makes it resistant to staining.

The shiny surface will usually repel stains and as a result, make them easier to clean. These smooth-surfaced faux leather items make it easier to clean with simply a damp cloth.

I’m particularly not a fan of faux leather that’s also shiny. It usually gives away the fact that it’s fake and isn’t as luxurious looking in my opinion.

Although this is the case, the benefit of shiny faux leather is that it’s not as likely to stain compared to real leather. I guess this is an important upside!

What Can Stain Faux Leather?

Although faux leather is stain-resistant to a lot of things, it is still possible for stains to get onto your faux leather items. Below is a list of the things that can pose a risk to your faux leather items.

Non-Water Based Liquids

Staining from non-water-based liquids is the most common way to get stains on your faux leather. This is because most water-based liquids will usually bead up and can be easily wiped away when they come into contact with faux leather.

Examples of non-water-based liquids include; coffee, tea, soda, juice, and alcohol.

When these liquids come into contact with your faux leather items, they will usually leave behind a stain mark that can be difficult to remove.

So if you have any of these liquids on your clothing, be sure to clean it off as quickly as possible.

Oil-Based Liquids

Another type of liquid that can stain your faux leather is oil-based liquids. This will usually be the most difficult type of liquid to remove stains from because they have the tendency to penetrate the surface of faux leather and affect the material itself.

Examples of oil-based liquids include; cooking oils, motor oils, and lotions. If you happen to spill any of these liquids on your faux leather, be sure to clean it off as quickly as possible and dry the area immediately.

Food And Dirt

Another type of liquid you need to be aware of is food and dirt. If these types of liquids come into contact with your faux leather, they can be difficult to remove and can leave behind a stain.

While this type of stain is often not permanent, it’s still a hassle to have to clean it off.

The best way to avoid these types of stains is by keeping your faux leather items away from food and dirt. This way, you can avoid any potential accidents from happening.

Pigment Based Stains

The final type of stains that can affect your faux leather are pigment-based stains. These types of stains usually occur from paint, ink, and dye.

Since pigment stains are usually hard to remove, it’s best to avoid getting these types of stains on your faux leather items. You can do this by being careful when you’re using any materials that have these types of stains.

What To Do When Your Faux Leather Gets Stained?

If you do happen to get any type of liquid onto your faux leather items, be sure to clean it off as quickly as possible. The longer the liquid sits on the surface, the more likely it is to stain your faux leather.

If you’re not sure how to clean a particular type of liquid off your faux leather, be sure to check the care label or contact the manufacturer for tips.

While it may seem difficult to clean faux leather, it’s not impossible. With the right tools and knowledge, you can clean your faux leather items like a pro!

How To Clean Stains From Faux Leather

In order to clean stains from faux leather items, you will need to figure out what type of stain it is;

How To Clean Oil Or Grease Stains From Faux Leather

Grease is one of the tough stains to remove from faux leather. While there are many ways to clean this type of stain from your faux leather items, rubbing alcohol and using mild soap and water tend to be the most effective.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

Using Rubbing Alcohol To Clean Grease Or Oil Stains From Faux Leather

Things Needed:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1:

  • Dampen your microfiber cloth with some rubbing alcohol.

Step 2:

  • Clean the stained area by gently rubbing back and forth with your dampened microfiber cloth until the stain is removed.

Step 3:

  • Once the oil stain is gone, dampen your microfiber cloth with clean water and wipe the area clean.
  • This will help remove the rubbing alcohol residue from the faux leather item.

Step 4:

  • Now leave the faux leather item to air dry.

You can also use rubbing alcohol or acetone to clean ink or paint stains from your faux leather items.

Using Mild Dish Soap To Clean Grease Or Oil Stains From Faux Leather

The second method you can use to clean grease or oil stains from faux leather is by using mild dish soap.

Things Needed:

  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Warm Water
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Sponge


Step 1:

  • Mix 2-3 drops of mild dish soap with some warm water to create a cleaning solution.

Step 2:

  • Dampen the surface of the faux leather with the mild dish soap solution and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the grease or oil stain.

Step 3:

  • Use your sponge to gently scrub the stained area with the mild dish soap solution.
  • Continue dabbing the sponge in the soap solution and continue scrubbing the area until the stain is removed.

Step 4:

  • Once the grease or oil stain has been removed, use a clean, damp microfiber cloth to wipe the area clean.

Step 5:

  • Use a dry clean cloth to now dry the faux leather surface.

Step 6:

  • Leave the faux leather to air dry.

This method can also be used to clean dirt, food, and drink stains from faux leather.

Tips On How To Prevent Staining On Faux Leather

  • Always check the care label before cleaning any faux leather items.
  • Be careful when using any materials that could potentially stain your faux leather, such as ink, paint, and dye.
  • If you do get a stain on your faux leather item, be sure to clean it off as soon as possible.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents to clean your faux leather items, as they could damage the surface.
  • Try to keep your faux leather items out of direct sunlight, as this can cause the faux leather to become discolored.
  • Always allow your faux leather items to dry completely before use.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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