Can You Use Baking Soda On Leather? 9 Pros & Cons Explained

Can You Use Baking Soda On Leather

The idea of using baking soda to clean leather seems like a good one, right? It’s a natural product that you can find in your kitchen. But does it actually work and is it safe for your leather items? I’ll discuss the pros and cons below so you know whether or not this is a good idea for you!

So can you use baking soda on leather? Baking soda is a naturally occurring compound that can be used to remove stains, dirt, as well as remove smells from leather goods. This is because baking soda is pH suitable for leather – making it is tough on stains, dirt, and smells but will not harm the leather. One of the most common downsides to using baking soda is the residue it leaves behind.

If you came for a short answer then there you have it. However, the longer answer involves some considerations. Let’s get into the meat of this topic!

The Pros Of Using Baking Soda On Leather

I’ll start with the pros of using baking soda on leather articles!

1. Baking Soda Can Remove Stubborn Stains From Leather

Another pro of using baking soda on leather is that it can help to remove stains. This could be from anything such as spills, pet accidents, or natural aging over time where your leather shoe becomes stained.

For example, you can get rid of grease stains from your leather goods by simply sprinkling some baking soda on the surface of the leather where there is a blemish and then dust it off after a few hours.

The way the baking soda will work will be to absorb the oil or grease and leave your leather item looking clean and fresh. You can use baking soda to target stains on your leather items due to how easy it is to apply.

You can use baking soda to help bring the leather item back to its original color by getting rid of any stains that might be distorting the look of the leather item.

“It’s worth noting though that this really only works well for lighter-colored shoes since dark colors are more difficult to remove.”

2. Baking Soda Can Be Used To Clean Leather Goods

All leather goods need to be cleaned from time to time depending on how much wear the leather item sees. This is because leather is a delicate material and it will eventually break down if not cleaned from time to time.

When baking soda is combined with warm water, it can be used as an effective cleaning solution. It is by far a great alternative to cleaning your leather items and then bringing them back to their original color.

The use of baking soda can help remove stains from light-colored leather shoes that might be hard to reach with a basic cleaning solution or soap.

If you want your shoe to last a long time, then it’s important not just using baking soda as an alternative cleaner but also to wash them properly with another cleaner if needed – because regular water and soap will eventually break down the delicate material over time too!

The way the cleaning process with baking soda will take place would be by combining a cup of water and two tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle. This can as well be used as an effective cleaner for any surface being cleaned.

All in all, this solution should generally not have any negative effect on the leather material and might actually even help bring back some color that has been lost over time from wear and tear.

3. Baking Soda Is An Economical Cleaning Solution For Leather

Baking soda can be an economical choice for those who want to clean their leather goods at home and save money in the process. You’re likely to have baking soda wherever you are or go.

It is something that virtually everyone has on hand in their kitchen pantry or under the sink. It’s also relatively easy to find it at any grocery store, so you don’t have to worry about running out and being unable to purchase one for your cleaning solutions.

Because of this, baking soda is very accessible and cheap, especially when compared to other leather cleaning solutions. It can also be used for a variety of other things, such as cooking and laundry to name just two examples.”

4. Baking Soda Can Be Used To Get Rid Of Smells From Leather

One thing that baking soda does well is getting rid of smells from leather. It will help to neutralize the smell so it’s not as strong and doesn’t linger for too long after you’ve cleaned your leather items with it.

Most of the time, it can be very tricky to remove smells from leather as most other deodorizing solutions could ruin the leather.

Baking soda, on the other hand, is safe to use and will only help to remove the smell from the leather and not worsen it.

This can be especially useful if you are using a product on your furniture or clothing, such as cologne or perfume, which leaves an odor behind.

Baking soda is also effective when it comes to getting rid of food odors in general- whether those originate from cooking or just sitting out on counters and tables waiting to be eaten later without washing.

The way leather gets smells that linger blows the mind of most people. But the truth is that the way this happens is a very simple process that takes place over time.

Leather is a porous material that has fibers that can absorb anything from liquids to gases. For example, the oils and fats from your skin, anything you might have spilled on the leather, or even just daily use of items like shoes can all contribute to the odor lingering on your leather.

Since baking soda is safe for most surfaces while still being effective at removing smells and stains, it is a good idea to try using baking soda on leather as well.

One downside is that you’ll need to apply baking soda on a regular basis in order for this method to be effective and really make an impact.

If you do want some type of natural cleaning solution that could cut through the smell on your leather articles, then this might just be what you’re looking for.

But the best part still remains that baking soda will remove any bad smell from the surface of your leather item and will not leave behind any unpleasant smell that may linger for a while like white vinegar does when used on leather.

5. Baking Soda Is A Natural Product

This is the number one pro of using baking soda on leather, but it also has some cons which I’ll cover later in this article.

The idea that you are cleaning your household items without using chemicals can be really appealing to people who want to maintain their homes with as little effort and exposure to toxins as possible.

Baking soda is a natural product that you should have in your home already. So no need to go out and buy something new.

6. Baking Soda Is pH Suitable For Leather

Baking soda is pH suitable for leather, meaning it won’t damage the surface of your item. When you mix baking soda with water and scrub on a contaminated area of a leather item, this will break down any dirt or grime that has built up over time without damaging the finish of your leather item’s exterior.

Allowing too much exposure to acidic substances can cause discoloration as well as other problems like peeling off the top layer which may affect the leather item’s durability in ways we don’t want at all.

Leather requires a pH level between six and seven. So no matter what you use on it make sure not to change that ratio (Cleaning Supplies).

All in all, baking soda has a pH level of around 11 which is ideal for use on most materials including leather. Because of this, baking soda will help balance the pH levels while removing dirt without damaging the leather material much (and this includes color).

The Cons Of Using Baking Soda On Leather

1. Baking Soda Leaves Behind Residue On The Surface Of Leather

Unlike saddle soap and other leather care products, baking soda when used on leather can leave behind some residue which you need to clean thoroughly to stop the baking soda from reacting with the surface of the leather.

2. Baking Soda May Be Too Messy To Use On Leather Goods

While baking soda is not messy when it’s dry, you will find that the powder can be a little bit of work to handle.

This means that if you use too much of this on your leather goods, there could be some messiness which may make cleaning more difficult and time-consuming.

For instance: If baking soda doesn’t completely dissolve in water and starts to clump up instead – then this becomes problematic.

3. Baking Soda Can React Chemically With Some Leather

Depending on the type of leather that you are using, this can cause an issue. For example: if your bag is made from Nappa leather which has a very high-gloss finish, then the baking soda could react with it by dulling it up or darkening the surface of these types of leathers.

This may not be something that you want happening because even though there’s no way for us to know how well your product will tolerate when baking soda is used on your leather goods – we do know that some products won’t react well at all!

For instance: I have seen in some forums people mentioning or reporting on how their patent leather reacted negatively when it was exposed too frequently or for an extended period of time to baking soda.

Short advice, make sure not to leave the baking soda for too long on your leather items and remove any excess (this includes using a damp cloth) so that it doesn’t have time to react chemically.

Final Thoughts

So it is clear the pros of using baking soda on leather clearly outweigh the cons. So if you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to clean your leather, then baking soda is the perfect thing.

But this is not to say you have to disregard the downsides that come with its use. Make sure to always test the baking soda on an inconspicuous part of the leather item you intend to apply the baking soda to and observe how it reacts to your leather. Happy cleaning!


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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