Can You Use Baby Shampoo To Clean Leather? (7 Pros & Cons)

Can You Use Baby Shampoo To Clean Leather

We all know that baby shampoo is great for softening and moisturizing the hair of babies. It’s also a staple in many homes for cleaning up little messes without having to use harsh chemicals, but does it work on leather goods such as your couch, jackets, shoes?

While there are especially leather shampoos for cleaning leather products, you can also use your baby shampoo to clean your leather items because baby shampoos contain gentle ingredients that can help retain the natural oils of your leather.

You should always test a small area first to ensure that the shampoo does damage or discolor your leather. If you see any negative changes in the color of the leather, discontinue use immediately and try a different product instead.

To learn more about using baby shampoo to clean your leather goods, keep reading this article.

Why Is Baby Shampoo Great For Cleaning Leather?

There are several reasons why baby shampoo is a great alternative to cleaning your leather goods.

Some of the main reasons that make baby shampoo a viable cleaning solution for your leather items such as your couch, jackets, shoes, etc include;

1. Baby Shampoo Is Gentle And Won’t Damage Your Leather Goods

One thing that makes baby shampoo great for babies is how gentle it is on a baby’s skin.

Most baby shampoo contains natural and gentle ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile extract which will help clean your leather without damaging.

Since a baby’s skin is so delicate, any harsh chemicals in the shampoo could potentially damage their skin and cause irritation or rashes.

This is one of the best things that make baby shampoo suitable for natural leather items.

Leather, although a very durable material is very sensitive to harsh cleaning chemicals so it is important to always use gentle and safe products with ingredients that will not damage the leather.

So if you have run out of your leather cleaning solutions and need something right away, baby shampoo is a great alternative you could use.

Just make sure to test it out on an inconspicuous area before doing a full-on clean.

2. Baby Shampoo Removes Odor From Leather

Baby shampoo is also good for cleaning leather because it can help to remove the odor from your leather furniture or clothing.

Odor is a common problem with leather goods because of sweat and dirt build-up on the leather.

Leather is a porous material and absorbs sweat, dirt, and dust very easily which can cause it to smell bad over time if not cleaned on a regular basis.

Since baby shampoo is a gentle and effective cleanser, it can help to remove the odor from your leather goods.

If you particularly use a baby shampoo that is fragrance-free, you will be able to restore your leather to a luxurious leathery smell free from the harsh chemical smells some leather cleaners leave behind.

By using baby shampoo, you can help your leather to stay cleaner for longer which will reduce the need to clean it often.

3. Baby Shampoo Contains Natural Oils

Since baby shampoo is gentle and safe, it will not strip away the natural oils from your leather like how most cleaners will.

Leather is a natural material that needs to be oiled or conditioned to maintain its essential oils. This is so that the leather does not dry out, crack, or become stiff.

If you use an aggressive cleaner, it will strip away the essential oils and cause your leather to dry out and become very rough to the touch.

This is why baby shampoo can be a great alternative to other leather cleaners because it will not remove the natural oils from your leather.

Most baby shampoos contain up to 70% soap or clean agent and about 30% natural or mineral conditioning oils.

So when you clean your leather items with baby shampoo, not only are you cleaning away any dirt or odor, but you are also replenishing the natural oils that have been lost.

This will help to keep your leather looking and feeling luxurious and soft. That way, you will not have to worry about your leather drying out and becoming stiff or cracked which is very common with aged leather.

4. Baby Shampoo Is Great For Removing Stains From Leather

One of the most common complaints people have with leather is how quickly it can stain or get dirty.

In addition to cleaning general dirt, baby shampoo can also be used to remove stubborn stains from your leather goods.

Stains can be a real headache to remove and often require specialized stain removers or can take hours to remove.

In some cases, the cleaning solution can cause serious damage to the leather.

However, baby shampoo can be a great and safe solution to removing stains from your leather without any of the risks.

So, if you’re ever in a pinch and need to get rid of stubborn stains quickly and you happen to have some baby shampoo, then this can be a great solution.

5. Baby Shampoo Is Affordable

Last but not the least, baby shampoo is actually very affordable.

If you are on a budget or just want to be frugal in general, this can make it much easier for you to afford the best products out there without having to spend too much money.

Chances are you might already have baby shampoo lying around your house so you don’t even have to go out and buy a new product.

This is definitely a plus because leather goods can get quite expensive, so it is nice to be able to save money where you can.

Downsides To Cleaning Leather With Baby Shampoo

While there are many advantages to using baby shampoo to clean your leather, there are a few downsides that should be considered as well.

Baby Shampoo May Not Be Able To Remove Tough Stains

One of the main downsides to using baby shampoo on leather is that it might not be able to remove tough stains as well as other more specialized leather cleaners.

In most cases, you may not be able to use baby shampoo to remove oil or grease stains from your leather.

This is because baby shampoo may not be abrasive enough to cut through those grease or oil stains.

If you have tough stains that you need to remove, then it might be better to try using a more specialized leather cleaner.

Some Baby Shampoo May Have Alcohol

Many commercial baby shampoos contain sulfates. You’d be surprised that most of our personal care products, including those for babies, have alcohol as one of the components.

While this helps the product to dry a bit quicker and feel light on the skin, it can also dry the sensitive skin of the baby.

The alcohol content will also do a lot of harm to your leather by causing it to dry out and will cause the material to crack.

So before reaching for the baby shampoo to clean your leather, check the ingredients to make sure that it doesn’t contain any alcohol.

How To Clean Leather With Baby Shampoo

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of cleaning leather with baby shampoo, it’s time for a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Things Needed:

  • Baby Shampoo
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1:

  • Mix some baby shampoo with warm water in a container.
  • You’ll want to use about 4-5 drops of baby shampoo in a bowl of water.

Step 2:

  • Dampen your sponge or microfiber cloth from the soapy water and start cleaning the leather.
  • Make sure to gently rub at the dirt or stain until it’s gone.

Step 3:

  • Rinse the leather with a clean damp cloth and then let it air dry.
  • If you need to, you can gently apply some lather to the cloth and wipe over the leather again to remove any excess soap residue that were left behind.
  • Repeat until you’ve thoroughly clean your leather.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, baby shampoo is a great alternative to other leather cleaners because it is gentle, safe, and contains natural oils that can help to nourish your leather goods in addition to cleaning it.

Just make sure to test it out on an inconspicuous area before doing a full-on clean. You may be surprised at how well it works!

Thank you for reading today’s article. If you have benefited anyway from this article, I will urge you to share it with your friends and family. Let them know about this wonderful alternative to harsh leather cleaners!


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!

Recent Posts