Can You Use Disinfectant Wipes On Leather? (7 Pros & Cons)


In a busy world, it’s tempting to want to clean everything with disinfectant wipes. But can you use disinfectant wipes on leather? In this article, I’m going to take a look at the pros, cons, helpful tips, and the absolute best ways to disinfect your leather surfaces without damaging them.

So can you use disinfectant wipes on leather? Disinfectant wipes are generally not made for the porous surface of the leather so if they are used too often or in excess, they will remove the essential natural oils in the leather and cause your soft and supple leather to turn dry and brittle. However, if you carefully wipe down your surfaces using disinfectants every once in a while, then this may not be an issue at all!

To learn more about the pros and cons of using disinfectant wipes on leather, tips, and the best alternatives to disinfecting your leather surfaces, keep reading this article.

The Pros Of Using Disinfectant Wipes On Leather

Below are some of the key advantages of using disinfectant wipes on leather goods.

1. Disinfectant Wipes Are Easy To Use

When you find the perfect disinfectant wipes it’s going to be one of the quickest and easiest ways you to clean your leather without using the traditional leather car products such as leather cleaners and the whole ensemble of cleaning tools and materials.

This is perfect for those who want the convenience of being able to wipe down their surfaces as they please, but do not have time to use soap and water every day. All you do is take a piece of wipes and start cleaning the surface of your leather items.

Wipes specially made for leather will contain moisturizing properties and will not contain any harsh chemicals.

2. Disinfectant Wipes Will Kill Germs On Leather

Dabbing on disinfectant wipes on your leather will kill any germs and bacteria that may be dwelling on your leather item.

Disinfectant wipes are made mainly for one thing and one thing alone and that is to get rid of bacteria and germs in general.

Essentially, just like the way the disinfectant wipes will kill germs on other surfaces is the same way it will on leather as well.

The trick is not to apply too much pressure and also using the disinfectant wipes only on leather surfaces that has been finished.

Not all leathers are finished. With that said, some leather will come highly porous and this can allow the disinfecting agents to seep deep into the leather to cause damage to it.

To know if your leather has been finished, simply put a drop of water on an inconspicious part of the leather and give it a few seconds.

If the water droplets bead on the surface of the leather without seeping through to form a dark spot, then your leather is definitely finished.

3. Disinfectant Wipes Are Cheaper

Disinfectant wipes are also a lot cheaper than buying specific cleaning products geared at leather like saddle soap which can cost up over $50!

A pack of disinfecting wipes will only set you back about $30-40 bucks with others being a lot less cheaper.

One of the best ways to get the cheapest disinfectant wipes for your leather is by buying them in bulk at a store like Costco.

Cons Of Using Disinfectant Wipes On Leather

Now that we have taken a look at the advantages of using disinfectant wipes on leather, let’s now head over to the downsides to using disinfectant wipes on leather goods.

1. Disinfectant Wipes Are Not Suitable For Deep Cleaning Leather

Using disinfectant wipes on leather would not be the best method for deep cleaning them.

A lot of dirt and grime will still remain on leather after being wiped with a disinfectant wipe.

But this should not happen if you use it as directed – to quickly clean up spills or handprints without soaking your furniture in soapy water.

Leather as a material requires deep cleaning from time to which the disinfectant wipes will not do much justice in that aspect.

Most disinfectant wipes are also mostly water and detergent-based which means they will not remove any of the oils that have been trapped in your leather. 

2. Disinfectant Wipes Can Cause Odor On Your Leather

Leather is actually made from animal skins and wipes can leave a strange odor to it if you use them too often on leather items made from something like sheepskin or deer hide.

Disinfectant wipes can be a quick fix for some of the spills and stains on your furniture but as mentioned earlier won’t remove any of the oils trapped in it.

These wipes are usually just water or some form of detergent. So that means you should only use them as needed since prolonged usage will not do much good to leather.

If used too often, disinfectant wipes may leave an odor on your leather because these fibers are made with animal skin and using disinfectant wipes too often can leave traces of such odors.

So as much as you can, you would want to use disinfecting wipes only when there’s a need for it.

3. Disinfectant Wipes May Cause Water Spots

Disinfectant wipes may cause water spots if left sitting for long periods of time without being wiped off with a dry cloth first.

Also, water spots will particularly appear after using wipes if the leather is not dried properly.

Generally, you would want to air dry your cleaned leather instead of drying it on the sun or using a heat source.

4. Disinfectant Wipes May Contain Harsh Chemicals

One of the key and active ingredients in most disinfectants is bleach and because of this most disinfectant wipes may contain bleach which is bad for leather as a material.

Leather as a material contains moisturizing properties and does not contain any harsh chemicals that is too acidic or alkaline.

With that said, anything applied to leather material must be pH neutral to help maintain and keep the leather in a healthy condition.

If the disinfectant wipes is not pH neutral, it may be harmful to the leather material.

Additionally, if you are using bleach-based wipes on your leather furniture, this can potentially cause damage because of the chemical reaction that occurs between oxygen and water being in contact with each other over the surface of your leather items.

This chemical combination causes a release of chlorine gas which will affect other materials that are used together with leather to make items like wood or plastic.

How To Properly Disinfect Leather Leather Items

One of your best and easy bets when it comes to disinfecting your leather items is by using mild dish soap and warm water. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively disinfect leather items.

Things Needed:

  • Dish Soap
  • Lint-free Cloth/Rag or Microfiber Cloth
  • Warm Water
  • Leather conditioner


Step 1:

  • Put 2-3 drops of mild dish soap in to your warm water. Use water that is slightly hot.

Step 2:

  • Soak your microfiber rag into the solution and wring it out. Now begin to scrub or wipe the surface of your leather item. You would want to be as gentle as possible.
  • Make sure the temperature of the water is safe for your leather as too much hot water can cause your leather to wrinkle.
  • You also want to be as thorough as possible so that the leather item is cleaned completely.

Step 3:

  • After wiping, rubbing, or scrubbing the surface of the leather with the leather cleaner, use a hot-water-damp microfiber cloth to gently remove all of the soap residues from the surface of the leather.
  • From time to time, you want to wash the cloth in clean hot water, wring it out and continue to wipe the surface of the leather to completely remove all soap residues.

Step 4:

  • Use a dry clean microfiber cloth to wipe the surface of the leather to remove any excess water or moisture.
  • Be as thorough as possible but you also want to be as gentle as possible.

Step 5:

Apply a leather conditioner on your leather items to help nourish and restore any lost natural essential leather oils.

Tips On Disinfecting Leather Items

  • Always remember to condition your leather items after disinfecting them.
  • Always air out the leather items you wear and avoid taking them straight into your room.
  • Put your leather items under the sun for about 5 to 10 minutes as viruses like coronavirus are not able to survive too much heat. You, however, do not want to leave your leather goods in the sun for too long.
  • Dampen a soft microfiber cloth into a solution of mild soap and hot water and rub it over the surface of your leather items. This can help to kill and remove germs, bacteria, and even viruses. Make sure the soap is pH balanced and be careful with the hot water.
  • Try as much as possible to avoid using bleach on leather in the name of disinfecting leather items. It can cause the leather item to lose its color. Always go for solutions or mixtures that are pH neutral and non-toxic to your leather.
  • This is not to say you cannot use any form of bleach. You can use bleach-based wipes to disinfect your leather items. If you do, just make sure to follow up with an alcohol solution to remove the formation of any chlorine gas that could have dried out your leather surface.
  • You can also turn up your house heater and makes sure all your leather items experience the heat in one way or another. This can help kill viruses like COVID-19.


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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