Does Leather Cleaner Kill Germs? (Plus 6 Easy Alternatives)

Does Leather Cleaner Kill Germs

There are a lot of things a leather cleaner can do but can a leather cleaner kill germs? If you want to clean up some germs and you have nothing but a leather cleaner to use and you’re wondering if it could kill germs, this article is for you.

So does leather cleaner kill germs? Leather cleaners do not kill germs because they are only formulated to remove dirt and stains. While most leather cleaners may use alcohol as a way to maintain ingredients, it is not safe to say these cleaners have enough alcohol content to kill germs and bacteria on something like a couch or other piece of furniture.

It is clear leather cleaner does not kill germs. So what can you use to kill germs instead of using a leather cleaner?

1. Use Warm Water And Microfiber Cloth

Warm water is a powerful tool against germs. Not only is warm water effective at killing germs during handwashing but can be a great way to kill germs on your leather items as well.

Water is gentle enough not to damage leather and it can be used along with a microfiber cloth or even an old t-shirt to knock out germs from your leather items.

Simply dampen the cloth or t-shirt and gently wipe down the leather, removing any dirt and germs in the process. Make sure the temperature is consistent and not too hot or cold, which may damage the leather.

You can also add antibacterial soap into the water and wipe down your leather a second time. This will ensure all dirt, germs, bacteria, etc., are removed.

This is definitely a safe way to clean leather items but the only catch is that you will have to air-dry the leather item and then apply a good leather conditioner so that the leather does not dry out and crack.

2. Leather Disinfectant Wipes

Another way to kill germs on leather is through using disinfectant wipes. Disinfecting wipes are a quick and easy solution for killing germs on your leather items.

Just wipe down the surface of your item and you are done – no need to rinse or anything afterward. Most wipes will kill up to 99.99% of germs and they are perfect for killing the germs on your leather items that you use frequently, such as your handbag, shoes, or belt.

The downside to using disinfecting wipes is that they may not work as well on leather items if they are very dirty. They might leave a light residue on your leather item so I would recommend cleaning the surface before wiping it down with disinfectant wipes.

There are other downsides to using disinfecting wipes as well. You have to make sure you reseal the packaging so that it does not dry out and you also have to keep track of where the wipes are so that they do not dry out.

Also, some disinfecting wipes contain ingredients that can actually damage your leather items if you use them too often. So always make sure to test out your leather disinfectant wipes on an inconspicuous part of your leather item before using it on your leather item.

3. Use Rubbing Alcohol To Kill Germs On Leather

Another way to kill germs on leather is by using rubbing alcohol. Alcohol works in a similar fashion as water because it is a solvent.

However, alcohol works much faster than water and will evaporate quickly after use. This means there’s no need to air-dry your leather item after using rubbing alcohol.

One of the best ways to kill germs on leather is by adding about a teaspoon or two of alcohol into a spray bottle and spraying the surface. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area because there are going to be some tiny particles flying across your face.

After spraying, use a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe down the leather item. This will remove all dirt, dust, germs, and bacteria.

The only downside of using alcohol to clean leather is that it will dry out the surface so make sure you follow up by applying a good leather conditioner.

4. Use Baking Soda To Kill Germs On Leather

A third way to kill germs on leather is with baking soda. Baking soda has many different uses and one of them is cleaning.

It works well to remove dirt, germs, and bacteria from leather items because it can be mixed with water to create a paste.

Spray the leather item with water and then sprinkle baking soda on top of it, making sure to cover every inch of the surface.

Use a brush to rub the baking soda into the leather and then wipe it down with a damp microfiber cloth, wiping away all dirt and germs.

As with the other methods, make sure to follow up by applying a good leather conditioner so that your leather does not dry out and crack.

The downside to this is the amount of baking soda residue you will have to clean off after using it. This residue can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth but make sure you wipe down every inch of the surface so there is no residue left behind.

5. Use A UV Sanitizer To Kill Germs On Leather

One revolutionary way of killing germs now on leather is by using a UV sanitizer. There are many out there that are perfect for sanitizing your leather items including belts, shoes, and other small leather items.

UV Sanitizers expose anything inside of them or around them to a light source that will emit the same UV light like direct sunlight but without all of the heat and moisture.

This means your leather items won’t be damaged by the UV sanitizer and they’ll be able to go back into your home without being damaged.

Although this is not something I have personally tried out a lot of the reviews I read during my research states that using the UV sanitizer could lightly fade your leather items – especially the dark-colored items.

So you would want to condition your leather after using the UV sanitizer and make sure you only use it once every few months or so.

The biggest upside to using ultraviolet light is that it actually kills 99.99% of germs on your leather items – not just covers them up like the sprays, soaps, and alcohols.

6. Use A Steam Cleaner

Another way to kill germs on leather is by using a steam cleaner. A steam cleaner uses super-heated water to clean any surface, including leather.

The steam cleaner is actually an upright vacuum-type machine that has a hose attached to it with the ability to heat up the water inside of it.

The water is heated up to about 248 degrees Fahrenheit – just enough heat and pressure to kill the germs on your leather items without damaging them. But do due diligence and test out the heat on your leather and adjust if necessary.

Make sure you do a patch test on the leather item before using your steam cleaner because some of them can actually cause shrinkage or even discolor the leather.

As with all of the other methods to clean your leather items, make sure you follow up by applying a good leather conditioner so that your leather does not dry out and crack.

7. Use Vinegar Solution

Vinegar contains acetic acids and is one of the best solutions for killing germs on leather. Mixing vinegar with water will create a solution that can be sprayed onto your leather items and it will kill most of the germs on your leather.

Mix equal parts white vinegar with water, making sure to use enough so that the leather is thoroughly cleansed.

Use a microfiber cloth to lightly scrub your item and then wipe it down with another damp microfiber cloth to remove any residue.

The downside to this is that if you use too much vinegar on your leather it can cause the color of your leather to fade – which is not good and you will have to condition your item after using this method.

The upside of using vinegar solution is that it is cheap and easy to do at home. And you can use the leftover solution on your other surfaces after you are done cleaning and killing germs on your leather items.


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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