Does Tomato Sauce Stain Leather? Yes! Here Are 5 Easy Fix

Does Tomato Sauce Stain Leather?

Like most people, my family loves pizza night. We order a large pie with all the fixings, and everyone gets a slice. But no matter how careful we are, someone (hint hint: the kids) always gets tomato sauce somewhere. With that, I researched whether tomato sauce can stain something like a leather couch or a leather car seat.

It turns out tomato sauce can stain leather. Tomato sauce is made with tomatoes containing a natural dye called lycopene. When this comes into contact with leather, it can cause staining on leather. The best way to remove tomato sauce stains from leather is by using saddle soap.

Continue reading to find out more!

Reasons Tomato Sauce Stain Leather

Here are a few of the most common reasons tomato sauce stain leather;

1. Tomatoes Contain A Natural Dye Called Lycopene

Lycopene is a natural dye found in tomatoes. When this comes into contact with leather, it can cause staining on leather.

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Leather Care Tips

When the tomato sauce comes into contact with the leather surface, the natural dye from the tomato (lycopene) seeps into the fibers of the leather through its pores, causing either permanent or temporary discoloration.

Cleaning or removing the tomato sauce stain will depend on how soon the stain is removed.

2. Tomatoes Are Acidic

Just as the acids in tomatoes are known to cause heartburn, the same acids can also cause damage to leather.

When tomato sauce spill and sit on leather for a period of time, the acidic nature of the tomatoes will slowly eat away at the protective coating of the leather, causing it to break down and eventually lead to staining.

These sorts of stains are more difficult to remove and may require professional cleaning. So it is very important always to clean up any spills as soon as possible.

3. Tomato Sauce Is Greasy

Tomato sauce is also greasy, and when this comes into contact with leather, it can cause the leather to become darker in color.

The grease from the tomato sauce will seep into the pores of the leather and cause the leather to have a darker appearance.

Not only does this darken the leather, but it can leave a sticky residue on the surface of the leather, which can build up dirt and grime.

This will eventually lead to staining on the leather surface.

4. Tomato Seeds Contain Tannins

Tannins are a type of pigment that can be found in the seeds of tomatoes. When these come into contact with leather, they can cause staining on the leather surface.

The tannins in the tomato seeds will seep into the pores of the leather and cause staining. This stain can be difficult to remove and require professional cleaning.

This is because tannins are strong dyeing agents that can permanently change the color of the leather.

Effects Of Tomato Sauce On Leather

There are a few things that can happen when you spill tomato sauce on leather;

Tomato Sauce Can Leave The Leather Discolored

One of the first effects of tomato sauce on leather is ugly discoloration. Not to sound like captain obvious here, but the Lycopene in tomatoes can cause staining on leather.

The good news is that this type of staining is only cosmetic and will not affect the structural integrity or performance of the leather.

It Leaves A Sticky Residue On The Leather Surface

Another common effect of leather spilling tomato sauce on leather is the gummy and sticky residue it leaves on the surface.

This can be a pain to clean off and, if not removed, will attract dirt and grime, leading to further staining.

Tomato Sauce Can Dry Out The Leather

Leather is essentially skin, so it needs to be moisturized for it to stay supple and strong.

When tomato sauce comes into contact with leather, it can strip away the natural oils and cause it to dry out.

This will make the leather more susceptible to cracking and will shorten its lifespan.

Tomato Sauce Can Darken The Leather

Tomato sauce spills on your leather items will not always result in color changes, but in some cases, they can darken the leather.

This is due to the greasy and oily nature of tomato sauce, which can seep into the leather and cause it to darken.

However, this effect is usually only temporary and will disappear once the tomato sauce has been cleaned off.

The Tomato Sauce Can Etch The Leather Surface

Another possibility is that the tomato sauce can etch the leather surface.

This is because the acidity in tomatoes can react with the leather and cause permanent damage.

So, if you do spill tomato sauce on your leather, it’s important to clean it up as soon as possible. Right on queue, next up, we will discuss the best way to clean tomato sauce off of leather.

How To Remove Tomato Sauce Stains From Leather

If you’re wondering how to get tomato sauce out of leather, the good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Before you clean off tomato sauce stains from your leather, be sure to first of all, blot up as much of the sauce as possible with a clean cloth.

Once you have removed as much of the tomato sauce as possible, you can now move on to any of the methods discussed below;

1. Using Saddle Soap

Regarding leather, saddle soap is the best bet for removing tomato sauce stains or any fruit or vegetable with lycopene.

Saddle soap is a type of cleaning product that’s specifically designed for cleaning and removing tough stains.

It’s gentle enough not to damage the leather but strong enough to remove any stubborn stains.

Saddle soap contains oils, waxes, and surfactants, which can break down the tomato sauce and remove it from the leather.

To use saddle soap to remove tomato sauce stain from leather, here are the steps to follow;

Step One: Mix The Saddle Soap

  • Start by mixing a small amount of saddle soap with water to create a lather.

Step Two: Gently Rub The Stain

  • Use a clean cloth or sponge to apply the lathered soap onto the stained area in a circular motion.
  • Continue to rub until the stain is removed gently.

Step Three: Rinse The Leather

  • Once the stain is gone, rinse the soap residue by using a clean damp cloth
  • Follow up with a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.

Step Four: Let Leather Air Dry

  • Let the leather air dry for about 24 hours.

Step Five: Condition The Leather (Optional)

  • Finish off by applying a small amount of leather conditioner onto the cleaned area.
  • This will help replenish the natural oils stripped away by the saddle soap and prevent the leather from drying out.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean, dry cloth.

2. Using Leather Cleaner

Similar to saddle soap, leather cleaners also contain soap agents which can break down and remove the tomato sauce from the leather.

But unlike saddle soap, leather cleaners do not contain waxes and oil that can clean and condition the leather all at once.

Leather cleaners are also designed specifically for cleaning leather without damaging it. The best part is there are a variety of leather cleaners available on the market that you can choose from.

To use a leather cleaner to remove tomato sauce stains from your leather, here are the steps;

Step One: Choose The Right Leather Cleaner

  • First and foremost, you need to ensure you’re using a quality leather cleaner specifically designed for cleaning leather.
  • My go-to is this one here by Chemical Guys.

Step Two: Prep The Area

  • Once you have your leather cleaner, prep the area by blotting up any excess tomato sauce with a clean cloth.

Step Three: Apply The Leather Cleaner

  • Spray or apply the leather cleaner onto the stained area using a sponge or clean cloth.
  • Gently rub in a circular motion until the stain is gone.

Step Four: Wipe Off Excess Leather Cleaner

  • With the help of a clean, dry cloth, wipe off all the excess leather cleaner.

Step Five: Let It Air Dry

  • Let the leather area air dry for a few hours.

Step Six: Apply Leather Conditioner

  • Once the leather has completely dried, you want to apply a small amount of good-quality leather conditioner onto the area.
  • Buff and let the leather air dry before use.

3. Using Mild Dish Soap And Cold Water

If you do not have any saddle soap or leather cleaner on hand, you can also try using mild dish soap and cold water to remove the tomato sauce stain from your leather.

The thing that makes dish soap the perfect remedy for this tomato sauce stain is that it will not only cut through the grease from the tomato sauce but also help remove any residual color that may be left behind.

The best part is mild dish soap is gentle enough not to damage or dry out your leather, especially if you condition the leather right after removing the stain.

To remove the tomato sauce stain with mild dish soap and cold water;

Step One: Mix The Mild Dish Soap Solution

  • Start by mixing a small amount of dish soap with some cold water to create a sudsy solution.
  • 3-10 drops of mild dish soap will suffice based on the size of the stain that you are trying to remove.

Step Two: Apply The Sudsy Solution

  • Next, take a clean cloth and soak it in the sudsy solution before wringing it out so that it is damp but not dripping wet.

Step Three: Rub The Stained Area

  • Then, begin to rub the stained area of the leather with the damp cloth in a circular motion until the stain has been lifted.
  • From time to time, you want to rinse the cleaning cloth in the mild dish solution, wring it out, and continue to rub the stain until the stain is completely gone.

Step Four: Wipe Away Excess Suds

  • Once the stain has been removed, take another clean and damp cloth to wipe away any excess suds that may be left behind on the leather.

Step Five: Let The Leather Air Dry

  • Here again, you want to allow the leather to air dry.

Step Six: Condition The Leather

  • Finally, you want to condition the cleaned leather with a good leather conditioner thoroughly.
  • You want to apply two thin layers of leather conditioner.
  • Leave the conditioner on the leather for about 5 minutes and then buff to dry.
  • Make sure the leather air dry thoroughly before use.

4. Using Full-Strength White Vinegar

You can use full-strength white vinegar to remove the stain from your leather for tough tomato sauce stains.

White vinegar is so effective at removing stains because it is a natural acidic cleaner that will break down the tomato sauce and lift the stain in the process.

White vinegar can also help deodorize the leather if the tomato sauce that caused the stain was particularly smelly.

To use white vinegar to remove a tomato sauce stain from your leather;

Step One: Create The White Vinegar Solution

  • Start by creating a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water.
  • You can either pour this solution into a clean spray bottle or simply dip a clean cloth into the solution.

Step Two: Apply The White Vinegar Solution

Step Three: Let The Solution Sit

  • Allow the white vinegar solution to sit on the stain for about 3-5 minutes to really work its magic.

Step Four: Rub The Stained Area

  • After 5 minutes have passed, take a clean and damp cloth and gently rub the stained area of your leather.
  • As you rub, you should see the stain begin to lift from the leather.

Step Five: Wipe Away Excess Solution

  • Once the stain has been removed, take a clean and damp cloth and wipe away any excess white vinegar solution that may be left behind on your leather.
  • You don’t want any of the white vinegar solution to be left on your leather because it is an acid and could damage the leather if not removed.

Step Six: Let The Leather Air Dry

  • Allow the leather to air dry completely

Step Seven: Condition The Cleaning Leather

  • Finally, apply two to three thin layers of leather conditioner on your leather.
  • Make sure each application dries before applying the next one.
  • After the final layer of leather conditioner has dried, buff it to a shine with a clean and soft cloth.
  • You should now have a beautiful, stain-free piece of leather furniture or apparel!

5. Using Rubbing Alcohol

The next method you can use to remove tomato sauce stains from leather is rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is a powerful cleaning agent that breaks down any type of stain, including tomato sauce.

A good application of rubbing alcohol solution can reach into the leather fibers and pull out any lingering tomato sauce that may be causing the stain.

Use rubbing alcohol to remove a tomato sauce stain from your leather;

Step One: Make The Rubbing Alcohol Solution

  • Start by creating a solution of one part rubbing alcohol to one part water in a spray bottle for easier application.

Step Two: Apply The Solution

  • Next, apply the rubbing alcohol solution to the stained area of your leather.
  • Make sure that you are generously saturating the stain with the solution.

Step Three: Let The Solution Sit

  • Allow the rubbing alcohol solution to sit on the stain for about a minute so that it can really work its magic.

Step Four: Rub The Stained Area

  • After a minute has passed, take a clean and damp cloth and gently rub the stained area of your leather.
  • You should see the stain begin to lift from the leather as you rub.

Step Five: Wipe Away Excess Solution

  • Once the stain has been removed, take a clean and damp cloth and wipe away any excess rubbing alcohol solution that may be left on your leather.
  • You don’t want any of the rubbing alcohol solution to be left on your leather as it can damage the leather if not removed.

Step Six: Let The Leather Air Dry

  • Allow the leather to air dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step Seven: Condition The Cleaning Leather

  • Finally, apply two to three thin layers of leather conditioner on your leather.

Kwabena

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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