Can You Use Dish Soap On Leather? 10 Pros & Cons

Can Use Dish Soap On Leather?

There are a lot of alternatives to specially formulated leather cleaner products but can you use dish soap on leather goods? This blog post will cover both sides of this debate so that you can make the best decision about whether or not dish soap should be used on your leather items.

So, can you use dish soap on leather? Dish soaps are gentle and safe for leather surfaces, especially when used in a small amount. Dish soap is effective when it comes to removing stains, discolorations, kill germs, bacterial, mold, and viruses on leather. However, dish soap has a downside of sometimes stripping natural oils from leather when used on it.

To learn more about the pros and cons of using dish soap on leather, keep reading this article.

Pros And Cons Of Using Dish Soap On Leather

Whether or not you should use dish soap on your leather items is a controversial topic that encompasses both the pros and cons of doing so.

Some people say yes, some people say no but at the end of the day it’s up to you which side of this debate you want to take part in. Below I will explore both sides for more clarity.

The Pros Of Using Dish Soap On Leather

Dish soap has been used as a way to clean all types of things such as clothes, dishes, floors, and furniture in households around the world and there are many reasons why using dish soap could be beneficial when applied correctly on leather goods. Let’s get into it.

1. Dish Soap Is An Effective Stain Remover

Dish soap is an excellent stain remover meaning that if there are any stains on your leather, dish soap can easily help to remove them.

Diluting the soap with water and then applying it to the stained area should do the trick in most cases as long as you scrub until all of those pesky marks disappear from sight.

For tough stains put a few drops of dish soap into warm water, and then start to scrub the stains away. This is an effective way to deal with stains on your leather goods.

For example; It also works well at removing salt stains, which are usually left behind after products like shoes or purses are brought into contact with snow and ice in harsh winter weather.

The dish soap will dissolve the salt crystals and keep the leather surface looking fresh for much longer than it would without it.

2. Saddle Soap Removes Grease And Oil Stains

We have all been there. That moment when we get something spilled on our leather and it takes forever to clean up.

Dish soap can be an effective way of taking away grease stains from your leather items, or any type of oil stain for that matter!

The best thing about dish soap is that you don’t need a lot of it in order to see the effects. Just put a few drops into warm water and start scrubbing until those oil and grease spots are gone!

There’s no need to worry if your soapy mixture doesn’t mix well because the grease should dissolve fairly easily with time.

If you want to use more than just dish soap then try using a little bit of vinegar as well since this also has excellent cleaning properties for breaking down oils and grease that may have built up over time on your leather products.

For example; when you use dish soap, not just any old kind of dish liquid, but good ol’ fashioned blue Dawn Dish Soap – meaning there’s no need to worry about leaving an oily residue or damaging our beloved leather goods.

3. Dish Soap Can Remove Discoloration On Leather

If you’re looking for an easy and safe way to get rid of stubborn yellowing or discoloration without buying expensive products, dish soap will work just fine too!

Mix up one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water and pour over brown spots or discoloration that may have occurred as a result of dirt or mold.

Leave it on for about 20 minutes before washing off. This technique of using dish soap on leather also works great on delicate leather materials like suede which many people might not know about because they don’t think you can use dish soap on leather.

4. Dish Soap Can Kill Mold, Bacteria, Fungus, And Viruses

We all know that dish soap is a powerful cleaner, and it’s not just for dishes! It can kill mold, bacteria, fungus, and viruses on leather surfaces.

It works by dissolving the lipids in these organisms which are fatty compounds found within cells of living things such as plants or animals. This kills them because they cannot build up resistance to this type of chemical reaction.

These chemicals also create an acidic environment which helps prevent any new species from growing in your leather items like shoes or bag again. Most dish soaps are potent enough to get rid of bacteria and even the viruses like the coronavirus. 

5. Dish Soap Is Suitable For All Types Of Leather

Dish soap is great for all types of leather. Whether it’s delicate leather like suede or tough shoes that get a lot of wear and tear, dish soaps are perfect because they’re gentle on the material yet still effective in removing dirt and stains.

This is possible because the pH level of dish soap is low enough to dissolve dirt without weakening the material. Higher pH levels might cause damage because they can change the strength of leather.

So it’s important to only use a dish soap that has an appropriate level for your leather surfaces.

6. Dish Soap Is Gentle On The Skin

The first pro that comes to mind is how gentle dish soap can be on the skin. This might not seem like a benefit when it’s used in dishes, but for leather shoes and other items, this trait makes them an excellent choice as well.

Dish soaps are formulated with moisturizers which make them more desirable as a cleaner because they remove dirt without stripping away natural oils from your skin or on the leather surface.

This is essential because leather goods often have a lot of contact with our skin so using something like dish soap is a great way to clean our leather items while still maintaining good and healthy skin.

Another great thing benefit of using dish soap is that you most likely won’t have any need to condition and re-moisturize your skin afterward, making the dish soap even better suited for use on leather items than most other alternatives available today!

7. Dish Soap Is An Economical Option For Those With Limited Budgeting

Some people may not be able to afford the more expensive leather cleaners on the market. Dish soap is a good affordable alternative for those who are looking to keep their wallet intact while still maintaining healthy skin and quality leather goods.

A bit of dish soap can go pretty far when it comes to cleaning your leather items, so this makes dish soap an even better option than other detergents because you’ll use less product!

Plus, if you have any leftovers after washing your leather items (which we all know happens), then you can always use that leftover amount for some extra house chores before recycling or throwing away what’s left – no waste here!

The Cons Of Using Dish Soap On Leather

1. Dish Soap Can Sometimes Strip Leather’s Natural Oils

One common downside to using dish soap on leather is that it can often strip away the natural oils found on your leather pieces which can cause the leather item to dry out over time.

This will particularly happen if you’re not careful with what you choose to clean them with.

Activities like conditioning and protecting the leather item after cleaning it with dish soap could help prevent the leather from drying, cracking, and peeling with time.

2. Some Dish Soaps May Change The Appearance Of The Leather

Another downside is that some types of dish soap are not designed with color protection in mind and may alter the appearance of light-colored materials over time as well as dark ones if you have too much exposure.

You should look out if there is any type of specific pigment or dye present in your dish soap. You would find this listed somewhere on the packaging or label for reference purposes as well.

While some people may not mind the color difference this will cause, others won’t want it no matter what. In those cases, I would always recommend doing a spot test before you go full force with the dish soap you pick out.

3. Sweet Scented Dish Soaps May Affect The Leather

Another downside is that some types of dish soap may have a sweet or flowery scent.

While this may not be too much of an issue for you, if the natural leathery smell of leather is important to you, then it would need to be taken into consideration before using anything with a strong fragrance on the leather material.

This is because there are different scents used in these soaps and while they can’t necessarily alter the appearance of light-colored materials over time, they will definitely change how the leather smell

This could make it difficult for people who want their home to have one singular signature aroma at all times.

While not everyone cares about what their furniture smells like, those who do should always take note when using something with a fragrance on natural leather.

All in all, you would want to avoid using scented varieties of dish soap on lighter colors like white or cream since their fragrances could transfer onto them after every wash cycle.

Final Thoughts

From this article, one thing is pretty clear and that is the benefits of using ordinary dish soap on leather outweigh many of the demerits that you might have seen in this post and beyond.

Nevertheless, before you decide anything, I would like that you take the time to examine how dirty or grimy your leather is, the type of stain you have on the leather, and also your budget.

If the dish soap can handle the stains, dirt, or grime you’re trying to get rid of and you do not have enough cash or you’re simply not ready to spend any money on leather cleaners, then you can go for the dish soap.

However, if you can afford the special leather cleaners, then I will always recommend going for them since they will do a much better job at safely cleaning your leather items without any guesswork.


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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