Bleach is a chemical that can be used to clean many different types of materials like tile, grout, and fabric. But can you clean white leather with bleach? In this article, we will discuss whether or not you can use bleach to clean white leather.
While you can use oxalic acid (which is a type of bleach safe for leather) to clean white leather, you should never use bleach like chlorine bleach or ammonia bleach on your white leather or any type of leather as it can cause it to dry out and crack.
While oxalic acid is safe for leather, you will achieve the best results if you dilute it with some distilled water.
What Does Bleach Do To White Leather?
The answer to this question depends on the type of bleach you are using. Chlorine bleach, ammonia bleach, and other household bleaches are very harsh chemicals that can cause white leather to dry out and crack. Oxalic acid is a type of bleach that is milder and safer for use on white leather.
So I’m going to divide this answer into two different parts: one that has to do with the effects of using ammonia or chlorine bleach and oxalic acid on leather.
Using Oxalic Acid On White Leather
Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring acid that is also known as wood bleach. It can be found in many different types of fruits, vegetables, and plant leaves.
Oxalic acid is essentially one of the safest chemicals you can use to bleach or clean white leather.
Below are the benefits of using this type of bleach on your white leather items;
Removes Discoloration From White Leather
White leather can be susceptible to discoloration over time. This is because anything that gets onto white leather will be easily noticeable.
But oxalic acid can help to remove any unsightly blemishes and return them to their original or a color that is close to the original.
You will be able to use oxalic acid to remove discolorations from ranging from sun discolorations to sweat stains, to ink marks – among other things.
Removes Stubborn Dirt And Stains
Another benefit to using oxalic acid to clean white leather is that it can remove stubborn dirt and stains.
This means that if your white leather item has been stained with something like coffee, tea, or red wine – oxalic acid can help to get rid of the stain.
However, you should test this on a small area of your leather item before you start to treat the entire thing, as some bleaches can still cause leather to become dry and brittle.
Can Be Used To Lighten Leather
If you would like to further lighten your white leather, oxalic acid can also be used to do this.
Applying a thin layer of diluted oxalic acid over the surface of your leather can help to achieve a lighter color.
Using oxalic acid is one of the best and safest ways to clean white leather.
Can Be Used To Remove Stickiness From White Leather
Leather can sometimes develop sticky gunk on the surface that is difficult to remove.
However, if you are able to use oxalic acid on your white leather item it will help to break down the sticky residue so that it can be wiped away easily.
This helps to restore your leather to a nice luxurious feel.
Can Be Used To Remove Mold & Mildew From White Leather
Last but not least, oxalic acid can also be used to remove mold and mildew from white leather.
If your white leather has been affected by mold or mildew, oxalic acid can help to get rid of it quickly and easily.
You can use it to kill mold spores and prevent them from coming back.
Using Ammonia Or Chlorine Bleach On White Leather
Unlike the benefits of using oxalic acid, the effects of using ammonia or chlorine bleach on white leather are much more severe.
In fact, using these bleaches can actually cause the following effects to your white leather:
Leather Becomes Brittle And Dry
If you use ammonia or chlorine bleach on white leather, it can cause the material to become brittle and dry.
The way this happens is that the bleach seeps into the fiber of the leather and dries out all of the essential oils and moisture from the leather material.
What this means is that it essentially breaks down the leather to the point where you might as well throw it out.
Your White Leather Would Develop Cracks
One of the most common damages that can occur from using ammonia or chlorine bleach on white leather is that it can cause the material to develop cracks.
This is because as the leather becomes brittle, it also starts to become more fragile and susceptible to breaking.
When this happens, you might not be able to repair or fix the cracked leather – meaning you would need to replace the entire item.
Your White Leather Would Develop Fuzz
Another effect that can be caused by using ammonia or chlorine bleach on white leather is fuzzing – which sounds like a similar concept to cracking, but it’s not quite the same thing.
What this means is that the surface of your white leather will become covered in a layer of fuzz, which is unappealing to look at and can also make it difficult to clean.
Leather Becomes Dull And Scratched
Leather can also be damaged by using ammonia or chlorine bleach on white leather, and become dull and scratched over time. This happens because of how abrasive these bleaches are.
So instead of turning your white leather item into a new piece, you will find that it looks worse for wear with scratches and blemishes all over the material.
Leather Becomes Discolored
In other instances, your white leather will become discolored when you use ammonia or chlorine bleach on it. This happens due to how these bleaches react with the natural fibers in the leather.
So instead of your white leather item returning to its original color, you will find that it has become stained with a new shade – which may not match the rest of your white leather item or decor in general.
Bleaches can cause the colors in the leather to become faded and muted. You could also have yellowing on the surface of the leather which can be hard to remove.
Leather Can Darken Over Time
There are instances where ammonia or chlorine bleach can react with the oils or conditioners in the leather and cause the leather to darken instead of lightening or cleaning it.
This means that using these bleaches on white leather can cause the item to become stained and discolored over time, rather than making it look better.
The Leather Will Lose Its Durability
In addition to this, using these bleaches on white leather will also result in a loss of strength and flexibility for your material – meaning that it won’t last as long as you would expect from good-quality white leather.
This is because these types of bleaches are very harsh and will strip away the natural oils in the leather – leading to a decrease in its durability.
In severe cases, the leather might even rip or tear when it’s subjected to any kind of pressure.
All in all, oxalic acid should be your go-to when trying to clean white leather. It is a gentle but effective bleach that will not damage your leather items like ammonia and chlorine bleach.
From the above, you can see, using ammonia or chlorine bleach on white leather is not a good idea – and can actually lead to a lot of damage and problems for your material.
Instead, try using a gentler cleaner like oxalic acid or better still, leather cleaners that are specifically designed for use on white leather.
It’s important to remember that not all commercial cleaners are suited for cleaning and maintaining white leather items – and you need to be very careful when using the chemicals above, as they can cause a lot of damage if used incorrectly.