Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol On Faux Leather? (10 Pros & Cons)

Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol On Faux Leather

The next time you are looking to clean your faux leather, don’t panic when you see that rubbing alcohol is the recommended cleaner. This article will help answer any questions about whether or not you can use rubbing alcohol on faux leather.

Can you use rubbing alcohol on faux leather? You can use rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based cleaner to clean the faux leather items because it is non-abrasive. You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove stubborn stains. Finally, you can also use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your faux leather items without causing any damage.

Be sure to test the rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area of your faux leather before cleaning the entire surface of your faux leather with it.

My wife and I have a small faux leather couch in our bedroom. With everyone being very conscious lately due to the COVID pandemic, we use alcohol-based disinfectants every day to clean our faux leather couch.

In the rest of this article, I’m going to share with you the pros and cons of using rubbing alcohol on faux leather items based on my experience using it to either disinfect or treat stains.

If you’re like me, I usually prefer the bad news first so let me start with the cons of using rubbing alcohol on faux leather.

The Cons Of Using Rubbing Alcohol On Faux Leather

1. Rubbing Alcohol Can Cause White Residue To Form

If you’re not careful, rubbing alcohol can cause white residue to form on your faux leather. This is especially true if you leave rubbing alcohol streaks or if you use too much.

What this means is that when you leave rubbing alcohol streaks or excess rubbing alcohol on your faux leather surface, the rubbing alcohol will dry leaving behind white-ish residue.

This is also very common with faux leather goods with a matte finish. This is one common thing I noticed with our leather couch.

When we used any rubbing alcohol-based cleaners or disinfectants on our faux leather couch and we do not carefully buff off the excess, this white-ish residue forms.

The good news is that you can easily fix this problem by simply using a damp cloth and gently buffing off the residue.

However, if you do not have a damp cloth around or if it’s too late to buff off the excess rubbing alcohol, then you can try using a small amount of vegetable or olive oil to help remove the residue.

If the white residue is persistent, you may need to use a leather cleaner or polish to remove it.

2. Rubbing Alcohol Can Cause Dark Colors To Bleed

Another downside I notice over the last 2 years of using rubbing alcohol on my faux leather couch was a slight color bleed of the darker colors on the couch.

Upon a closer at our faux leather couch, I’ll notice that there are some dark color stains like black and brown on the surface of our couch.

When I first used rubbing alcohol to disinfect stains, this dark color bleed was not very noticeable.

However, as time went by and I continued to use the rubbing alcohol a lot more frequently, these dark color bleeds became more noticeable.

My theory is that the rubbing alcohol was causing these dark colors to bleed into other parts of our faux leather couch without being able to properly remove the stain.

Again, this is not a big deal if you’re just using rubbing alcohol as a disinfectant.

However, if you’re using rubbing alcohol as a stain remover on faux leather, then this dark color bleed might become an issue for you.

3. Not To Mention The Bad Odor Of Rubbing Alcohol

Another con of using rubbing alcohol on faux leather is the bad odor it leaves behind.

Although the smell dissipates after a few minutes, a lot of people find the smell of rubbing alcohol to be very pungent.

In our case, our 2-year-old son loved the smell of the rubbing alcohol so much that he would ask us to spray some on his toy cars – probably because he was born in an era where hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol was the norm due to Covid-19

But my wife on the other hand always complained about the smell of rubbing alcohol and would ask me to use it when she’s not around. The reality is, a lot of most people will not have a problem with this smell.

4. Rubbing Alcohol Can Damage The Finish Of Faux Leather

Another significant thing I noticed after a few applications of rubbing alcohol was a bit of a dull finish on our faux leather couch.

I notice that the color and sheen of the surface were starting to fade which made our faux leather couch look a bit older than it was.

Again, this is not a big deal if you’re just using rubbing alcohol to remove stains. However, if you’re using rubbing alcohol to disinfect your faux leather, then this might become an issue over time.

The bottom line is that if you’re not careful, rubbing alcohol can cause the beautiful finish or shine on your faux leather couch to fade over time.

5. The Alcohol Will Dry Out Your Faux Leather Over Time

And lastly, another thing that I found to be a con of using rubbing alcohol on faux leather is that the faux leather develops cracks and started to crack on the parts of the leather I often sprayed with alcohol.

Although this didn’t happen to all parts of the faux leather couch, it did develop on some parts – especially on the seat cushions of our couch.

While faux leather cracks are something I know to be inevitable over time, it was accelerated by the use of rubbing alcohol.

The Pros Of Using Rubbing Alcohol On Faux Leather

Now that we have taken a look at the cons of using rubbing alcohol on faux leather, let’s look at the pros.

1. Rubbing Alcohol Is A Safe Disinfectant For Faux Leather Goods

The first pro I want to mention is that rubbing alcohol can be used as a disinfectant for your faux leather goods.

Since the main reason for using rubbing alcohol on faux leather is to disinfect stains, it works well in this regard.

Rubbing alcohol contains a high amount of alcohol which evaporates quickly and can disinfect a lot of common household germs.

If you don’t have any other options, then using rubbing alcohol is a better alternative than not disinfecting at all.

2. Rubbing Alcohol Is Cheap And Easy To Find

We can all admit that one of the pros of using rubbing alcohol is that it’s cheap. It can be found in most pharmacies and stores for a very low price.

It’s also very easy to find in the United States. Most people have this readily available at home and chances are you also have some sitting in your home right now.

It’s also easy to find even in third world countries or developing nations because most people use it for cleaning purposes. This makes it a perfect solution for cleaning stains, and quick stain removal.

3. Rubbing Alcohol Can Be Used To Treat Stubborn Stains From Faux Leather

We have a 3-year-old son who likes to explore – as we have been told by his teacher. His adventures always leaves our couches, carpets, etc with a lot of stains.

One day, I came home from work and he had a big chocolate stain on our faux leather couch. My wife was really upset because she thought she could never get it out.

But I was determined to find a solution and thank God, rubbing alcohol worked great in getting that stubborn chocolate stain out.

I found that rubbing alcohol is also a great solution for stubborn stains on faux leather and can be used to remove them with ease.

This has been our go-to for dealing with tough stains on our faux leather sofa.

4. Rubbing Alcohol Is A Good Cleaner For Faux Leather

Lastly, one of the pros of using rubbing alcohol is that it functions as a great cleaner.

What I usually like to do is to mix 1 part of rubbing alcohol with 1 part of water and then use the solution to clean the faux leather item.

This has worked great for me in removing dirt, dust, and other types of residues that can build up on your faux leather furniture or goods.

This rubbing alcohol solution is tough on stains and dirt and leaves your faux leather looking shiny and new.

5. Great For Removing Grease And Oil Stains

Ever tried to clean grease, oil, sticky, or sticker residue from your faux leather goods but couldn’t find anything that can help you remove them?

Well, one thing I love about rubbing alcohol is that it works great in removing grease and oil stains.

I usually mix it with a little water and then use the solution to clean the affected area. Or I use raw rubbing alcohol to directly remove the grease or oil stain.

In both cases, it has worked like a charm in removing these types of stains from my faux leather goods.

How To Use Rubbing Alcohol On Faux Leather

Now that you know the pros of using rubbing alcohol, let’s now take a look at how to safely use rubbing alcohol on faux leather goods such as jackets, shoes, couches, etc.

How To Use Rubbing Alcohol To Clean And Remove Stains From Faux Leather

Let’s begin with how to use rubbing alcohol to clean and remove stains from your faux leather items.

Things Needed:

  • Rubbing Alcohol (High Concentration)
  • Distilled Water
  • Q-tips
  • Paper Towels
  • Microfiber Cloths
  • Mild Dish Soap

Procedure:

Step 1:

  • First of all, make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area because the fumes can be quite strong.

Step 2:

  • Mix 2 drops of mild dish soap with a cup of water and then mix.

Step 3:

  • Dampen the piece of microfiber cloth with the soap solution and then clean the stained or dirty area.

Step 4:

  • Dampen your microfiber cloth with cloth water and wipe away the soap residue after your faux leather item is clean.
  • If you have any tough stains such as ink stains, grease, or oil stains, you can use a cotton ball or qtip and soak it with rubbing alcohol and then rub it over the stain.
  • Wait a few seconds and then wipe the faux leather surface using a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Continue rubbing the stains until the stain comes out.
  • Repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the results and then wipe the faux leather surface one last time.
  • After that leave the faux leather to air dry.

How To Use Rubbing Alcohol To Disinfect Faux Leather

Another great use for rubbing alcohol is that it can be used to disinfect faux leather items. This is perfect if you have a kids’ playroom with faux leather furniture or if you have a pet that likes to lay on your faux leather sofa.

Things Needed:

  • Rubbing Alcohol (High Concentration)
  • Distilled Water
  • Microfiber Cloth or Cotton Ball

Procedure:

Step 1:

  • Mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.
  • Shake the solution well.

Step 2:

  • Spray the rubbing alcohol solution on your microfiber cloth and then use it to wipe the surface of your faux leather surfaces such as furniture, jackets, shoes, etc.

Step 3:

  • Once you have thoroughly wiped the surface of the faux leather item, use a dry clean microfiber cloth to buff off the rubbing alcohol residue.
  • That’s it!
  • With just a few simple steps you can now disinfect your faux leather surfaces without any problem.
  • Now leave your faux leather item to air dry.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Damage Faux/Fake Leather?

Another common question that people usually ask is whether or not rubbing alcohol damages faux leather.

While this depends on a lot of factors such as the quality of the faux leather, how you use it, and if there are any other chemicals involved, in general, rubbing alcohol should not damage faux leather.

2 Simple Ways To Remove Creases From Faux Leather

However, if you are unsure or have any concerns, it is always best to test a small, hidden area of the faux leather before using rubbing alcohol on a larger surface.

Also, if you use rubbing alcohol to treat stains, clean, or disinfect your faux leather is you begin to notice any adverse effects such as discoloration, change in texture, or cracks, etc – stop using it immediately.

How To Remove Rubbing Alcohol Stains From Faux Leather

Sometimes rubbing alcohol may leave behind a stain on your faux leather items. This is typically caused by using too much rubbing alcohol or using a high concentration of rubbing alcohol. But there is an easy way to fix this issue.

Things Needed:

  • Rubbing Alcohol (Low Concentration like 70% – 80%)
  • Distilled Water
  • Microfiber Cloth or Cotton Ball

Procedure:

Step 1:

  • Mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.

Step 2:

  • Spray the rubbing alcohol solution over the stain and let it sit on the stain for about a minute.

Step 3:

  • Then take a clean microfiber cloth or cotton ball and blot the stain until it starts to come out.
  • Keep blotting the stain until it’s completely gone and then wipe away any residue with a clean, damp microfiber cloth.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! A complete guide to using rubbing alcohol on your faux leather items.

Rubbing alcohol is one of the most versatile items you can have in your home. Use it to disinfect surfaces, clean kitchen counters, remove stains from clothes, and more.

So the next time you have a faux leather item that needs some attention, don’t worry – rubbing alcohol is here to help.

While using rubbing alcohol on faux leather is a safe alternative, you have to test an inconspicuous spot before using it. If any changes occur, discontinue use and try a dedicated faux leather cleaner.

Kwabena

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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