Can You Use Magic Eraser On Leather? (6 Pros And Cons)

can you use magic eraser on leather

Do you have stains, dirt, or grime on your leather sofas, car seat, or garment, and wondering if you can use the magic eraser to clean it? Well, if this is your dilemma then you’re in luck as I’m going to share with you the pros and cons of using the magic eraser on your leather items.

So can you use a magic eraser on leather? You can use magic erasers that are soft and non-abrasive to prepare your leather for dyeing, remove scuffs, and stubborn stains or dirt. You are, however, required NOT to use a lot of pressure when using magic eraser on leather. Using a magic eraser on your leather will come with some downsides such as removing dyes or protectants from the surface of the leather item.

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

The Pros Of Using Magic Eraser On Leather Items

Magic Erasers are made from a special type of material called melamine resin. The melamine is ground and combined with other materials to form a mild or aggressive sponge you can use to clean most things around the home, outdoors, and workspaces.

The magic eraser is very similar to very fine grit sandpaper, which when you think about it is a bit scary when you think of applying it to leather.

But it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to using the magic eraser on leather. There are instances where using the magic eraser will be ideal and below are some of the advantages and scenarios you will find the use of the magic eraser very useful and practical.

1. Magic Eraser Is Great For Preparing Leather For Dyeing

One of the best ways you can use the magic eraser on your leather is when you’re going to re-dye or refinish the surface of your leather items.

Although leather as a material will naturally become richer and darker with time, there are instances where you would need to retouch the color of your leather item to suit a particular appearance of your choice.

Leather will with time take up dirt and grease on its surface and it’s important to get rid of that dirt and grease before applying new dyes on it.

Enters the magic eraser! With a suitable magic eraser in hand, and by suitable I mean very soft, mildly aggressive magic eraser, you should be able to remove any form of gunk, finishes, and polishes that may affect the even penetration of the dyes you’re going to be applying.

So in your next leather restoration project, you can use the magic eraser to help you prepare your leather surface for dyeing or refinishing.

The magic eraser is particularly useful because it is a less aggressive alternative against using actual sandpaper and other harsh chemicals like acetone on leather that can potentially destroy the leather surface before redyeing.

2. Magic Eraser Is Great For Dulling Glossy Leather

Another great benefit to using a magic eraser on leather is that it can be used to remove an unwanted shine from the surface of leather.

Some leather products when they are especially new can sometimes have a very glossy overlay on their surface making them too shiny – and sometimes cause the leather product to have a very cheap look.

In this case, the magic eraser can be used to gradually remove the shine from the surface of the leather and make it have a matte appearance.

This is because the magic eraser is mildly abrasive and can be used to effectively dull the surface of the leather item while giving it some kind of a distressed look.

The best part is that it is a simple process. All you do is to pick up magic erasers from the cleaning supplies section of a grocery store or online store and look out for the ones labeled “mildly abrasive”.

After you have gotten the right magic eraser, rub it back-and-forth over the surface of your leather item. You can use a circular motion on particular spots of the leather item where you would want to have an aged effect.

You would want to go as slowly as possible and observe the amount of distress you’re creative while trying to remove the shine from the surface of the leather.

Also, although the magic eraser may be labeled mildly abrasive you do not want to rub it too much on the leather as it can gradually puncture the leather if the leather is very light and thin.

Finally, you should be aware that this approach to dulling your leather is abrasive and can damage the leather. So you would want to make sure to test the magic eraser you pick out on an inconspicuous area of the leather item before applying it all over.

3. Can Be Used To Remove Scuffs And Dirt From Leather Items

If you’re going to use the magic eraser to clean, matte, or distress your leather, you’re going to generally have the best results on light-colored leather items.

When you use a magic eraser on leather, the magic eraser will put micro-scratches on the leather which can sometimes be pretty obvious on darker-colored leather surfaces.

No matter how abrasive the magic eraser you pick out is going to be, it will have very little to no negative effect on your light-colored leather items.

So in this case, you would be able to use the magic to remove scuff marks, clean stubborn stains, and dirt from the surface of your leather without any issues.

Although light pressure can be used on dark-colored leather so as not to damage or get any color slurs off from the leather, many detailers will comfortably use a magic eraser on light interiors than dark ones.

The Cons Of Using Magic Eraser On Leather Items

1. Removes Leather Coating Or Protectants

Leather as a material is very durable and has the right elasticity that allows it to withstand a lot of pressure and stress.

Although leather is very durable, it is porous and has to be protected to prevent liquids and other forms of stains from seeping into it very easily.

And because leather is used for making hardwearing products, it is important its protectant remains in place.

Protectants are also applied on the surface of the leather to also prevent UV damage among other things. Leather protectants will generally in the form of polishes, conditioners, cleaners.

When you use the magic eraser, in most cases, it will erode the protective coatings on the surface of the leather. This will then leave the leather unfinished and making room for body oils and dirt to get in and deteriorate the leather itself.

One of the best and safest ways to clean leather will always include using clean water and microfiber cloth to wipe the leather surface or a pH balanced cleaner and a good leather brush, but if you find using the magic eraser particularly useful, as mentioned above, then you would want to make you reapply the leather protectant after you have used the magic eraser on your leather.

Again, almost all leather will come protected in some way and if you want to know if indeed your leather is protected, you can put a drop of water on the leather surface.

If the water droplet seeps into the leather, then this will mean the leather has no protection or the protectant has already worn out. Otherwise, if the water beads on the surface of the leather, then the leather definitely has a clear coating on its surface.

This will help you know whether you need to reapply a protective coating on the surface of a leather item you intend to apply the magic eraser to. Personally, either way, I will always protect my leather items after each treatment.

2. Magic Eraser Can Remove Leather Colorants

One of the common ways leather gets its beautiful luxurious look is through dyeing and painting. Among the two leather coloring methods, leather is commonly dyed as dyes usually form a permanent chemical bond with leather as opposed to the physical bond paints will form with leather.

The chemical bond leather dyes create with leather allows the dyes to seep deep into the pores of the leather to permanently color the leather.

There are some good water and oil-based leather paints that are also used to give the leather a nice beautiful colored finish – which we often see on modern sneakers.

With that said, when you use the magic eraser on leather goods, it can remove the top layer paint or dye right off. In most cases, the magic eraser’s effect when it comes to removing dyes will not be as severe when compared to leather that has been painted – due to the chemical bond between the leather and the dyes.

3. Magic Eraser Can Remove Patina From Leather

One of the best characteristics of leather is how it develops a beautiful patina over time. Leather patina is a soft subtle overlay sheen that develops over the surface of leather items through use.

Patina will generally include the wear and tear that occur on the leather surface such as scuffs, scratches, body oils, stains, etc.

Over a period of time, these bodies of wear come together to give the leather item character that is generally appreciated in the leather fraternity – Patina.

The magic eraser is abrasive and when used on leather can remove the beautiful patina buildup on the surface of the leather over the years.

Although patina can be created unnaturally, the best patina will always be the one that has happened naturally over a long period of time – which is hard to replicate in a factory or a weekend DIY project.


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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