7 Simple Ways To Fix Sticky Patent Leather

How to fix sticky patent leather

Patent leather products are the bright shiny colored leather items that are very fashionable and attractive but one common problems you will face with a patent leather item is it becoming sticky. So in this article, I researched on some simple ways to fix sticky patent leather.

The 7 ways you can fix sticky patent leather are:

  1. The Vinegar Method
  2. The Vaseline Method
  3. The Saddle Soap and Mineral Spirit Method
  4. The Saddle Soap and Vaseline Method
  5. The Drying Out Method
  6. The Olive oil Method
  7. Using a Patent Leather Cleaner

To find out the details on the above mentioned ways of fixing sticky patent leather, keeping reading! But first, a little on what patent leather is and why it gets sticky.

What is Patent Leather?

Patent leather is basically a natural leather that’s processed and given a high sheen finish. The finishing of patent leather is done in the last phase of tanning process. This is done by applying a varnish or lacquer. You can check out my earlier article on how patent leather is made here!

Why Does Patent Leather Get or Feel Sticky?

There are a couple of reasons why Leather generally feel sticky. But with specific reference to patent leather there are 3 basic reasons why patent leather gets sticky.

The main reasons why patent leather get sticky are:

  1. High heat or Humidity
  2. When the patent leather item becomes old
  3. Bodily fluids and oil transfer & Spills

1. High Heat or Humidity

When patent leather is exposed to High heat or humid conditions as a result of it not being properly stored, the glue used for the leather item begins to break down over time, causing it to develop some stickiness. It will also begin to deteriorate and peel.

Patent leather items such as shoes, bags, belts, etc need to be cleaned, conditioned, and stored in a dust free, dry place. You can put shoetree in your patent leather shoes to maintain their form. For patent leather clothings, what’s best is to store them in garment bags.

2. When the Item Becomes Old

In most cases, patent leather will naturally develop stickiness and often, this happens when the patent leather item such as shoes, bags, etc becomes sticky with time due to decay.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a widely known solution to this problem. But the best that can be done is by using The Saddle Soap and Mineral Spirit Method.

This method, to sum, entails cleaning your old patent leather item with a mild leather cleaner and then wiping it with mineral spirits. What this does is not to completely remove the stickiness but instead diminishes the stickiness temporarily.

3. Bodily fluids, Bodily oil transfer, and Spills

Bodily fluids and oils can be transferred to patent leather items like bags and cause it to become sticky. This is one of the most primary ways patent leather will get sticky.

What you can do to prevent the stickiness from building up is by using regular baby wipes or pre-moistened wet wipe.

After you’re done wiping the patent leather item with the wet wipe, buff the patent leather with a clean soft cloth and make sure to follow up with a leather conditioner.

Related: Why Does Leather Feel Sticky?

Details on How to Fix Sticky Patent Leather

While trying to get rid of the sticky build up on patent leather can be a hopeless endeavor, but I have researched 7 effective ways to consider before thinking of buying expensive cleaning products or throwing away that patent leather item you love so much.

1. The Vinegar Method

This is one of the easiest ways you would want to try out before you decide to blow out some cash on some fancy expensive cleaning products. It’s possible you might have at least one type of vinegar, if not more, in your kitchen cabinets right now so why not give it a go and put it to use!

Vinegar indeed is a staple in almost all kitchens. From white vinegar to apple cider vinegar and a lot more other types in-between.

What makes vinegar particularly special and useful for cleaning is because of its acetic acid content. The acidity content is just about the right amounts that can counteract any kind of icky buildups. It can dissolve away brines left by hand, soap scum, and other forms of liquids, etc.

There are two possible ways to go when it comes to figuring out which vinegar types will make for the best cleaner for your leather: very acidic vinegar or vinegar with mild acidity.

Generally, white vinegar, is made of laboratory-produced acetic acid combined with water. White vinegar is the most acidic, and so make for the most potent form of cleaner.

In some cases the acidic content in white vinegar can be too strong in which case it can be diluted with water to make it just about ideal for cleaning. To be on the safe side, you can use a mild vinegar like apple cider vinegar.

The only source of worry when using vinegar on leather is it becoming over-concentrated on the leather because it can result in ugly stains.

The things you need to use to get rid of sticky patent leather are very few. Here are the 3 basic things you need to fix sticky patent leather with vinegar:

  • 2 pieces of clean soft cloth or rag
  • Water
  • Vinegar


1. Cleaning:

Before you’re able to effectively get rid of the stickiness off your patent leather item, you need to thoroughly clean your product with a clean cloth to remove debris or dirt that the leather item has accumulated over time.

Cleaning the dirt or dust off first from your leather is to get out as much debris as possible to ease the cleaning process.

2. Wipe and Rub With Vinegar

Now, the leather is ready for a complete wipe down of the sticky build up or residue. You can simply do this by dampening your soft clean cloth or rag with vinegar and then use it to rub the sticky areas of the patent leather item(s). You can repeat this till the stickiness is completely gone.

3. Buffing

The final step to this simple process is to now buff with a dry clean soft cloth or rag. This is to completely wide down any excess vinegar oil on the leather surface and in the process removing any remaining sticky substances. Voila! you patent leather should be as good as new.

2. The Vaseline Method

The general practice with vaseline and patent leather is to use it to give a long lasting luster. In addition to this you can also use vaseline to fix sticky patent leather.

While using vaseline will fix sticky patent leather perfectly, it’s also important to bare in mind that you can easily over-saturate your patent leather with vaseline. This is because vaseline like most petroleum jelly products will melt easily, almost at room temperature.

When this happens you can expect the leather fibers to expand and result in the overall strength and integrity of the leather breaking down and deteriorate much quicker over time.

However, the nice thing with patent leather in particular is that although over-saturation will happen on most leather if vaseline is applied, it will be a lot less on patent leather because patent leather is finished with a layer of paint or more commonly, a film is glued on or varnish.

Here’s what you need to clean sticky patent leather:

  • Vaseline
  • Mineral Spirits or white spirit
  • A clean dry cloth or rag
  • Brush


1. Remove Dirt

First, with help of your soft babble brush, brush off any kind of dust or dirt from the leather.

2. Apply Vaseline

With this method start by applying a thin layer of vaseline over the affected area of the patent leather. Make sure you don’t do this on the sun or anywhere with any kind of heat to further minimize the possibility of over-saturation that’s going to happen on your leather. After applying the vaseline, leave it for about 20-40minutes.

3. Clean With Mineral Spirits

After the leather has sat for a while dampen your cloth or rag with mineral spirit, and use it to clean the entire surface that’s covered with the vaseline.

4. Polish

Now, after you have thoroughly done mineral spirit cleaning and noticed the stickiness is gone you can now give the leather an all over polishing.

However, if you notice after wiping with the mineral spirit the stickiness did not completely get out of your patent leather item, you can wait a few hours and repeat the whole process.

3. The Saddle Soap and Mineral Spirit Method

The saddle soap and spirit method is a great method especially if the sticky condition of the patent leather isn’t that serious. Saddle soap is a common cleaning agent for most leather items because it’s good at removing unwanted foreign materials from leather while having little to not negative effect on the leather.

The items you would need to effectively use this method to completely clean or reduce the stickiness of patent leather are:

  • Mild saddle soap or any mild leather soap
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Clean cloth or rag
  • Warm water
  • brush


1. Clean with Saddle Soap

First, use the warm water with the brush to bring the saddle soap to a nice lather. Gently scrub the affected areas of the patent leather with the lathered brush. Be careful not to scratch the leather.

2. Wipe With Mineral Spirts

After you have thoroughly scrubbed the affected areas of the patent leather with the saddle soap, dampen a piece of clean cloth with mineral spirits and wipe the leather. This method will drastically reduce the stickiness temporarily as long as the sticky condition is not too bad.

3. Dry

Finally, after you have successfully finished steps one and two, you can now allow the leather to air dry.

4. Saddle Soap and Vaseline Method

Here’s another way to fix sticky patent leather using saddle soap and vaseline. While this is a very unconventional approach, it’s however proven to yield positive results and so it’s worth the try.

You will need:

  • Mild soap or saddle soap
  • Vaseline
  • Brush
  • Cloth


1. Cleaning

Dab a bit of warm water over the affected area, bring the mild soap to lather, and gently scrub with a sponge or soft brush. Make sure not to make the leather soaking wet. After you have thoroughly cleaned the leather item, wipe off the lather from the leather and allow to air dry for 24hours.

2. Apply Vaseline

After the leather is dry, apply a coat of vaseline to the affected area and rub it in using the clean soft cloth or rag you have. Now continue to buff the area till its looking nice and shiny. This method will work even more than most cleaners will.

5. Drying Out Method

Using the drying method to fix sticky leather can be a bit silly if you think about it. It’s almost as if you’re told to nothing. But really, this is absolutely workable especially on new patent leather items that feels sticky. Also, drying out the sticky patent leather is a very common first resort before taking any drastic approach.

The drying method is done by allowing the patent leather item to sit for a couple of days, if not weeks, or even months.

You can also choose to go ahead and use the sticky patent leather item you’ve bought with it being sticky and all and the stickiness will gradually ease away or disappear.

6. The Olive oil Method

Here’s another simple quick fix for sticky patent leather related problems. The things you need to do this are only olive oil and a soft clean cloth.


All you need to do is to dip the cloth in the olive oil and rub it over the shoes or bag or any patent leather surface that has turned sticky. Make sure you have properly covered the entire affected surface.

Now leave it for 20 – 40 minutes, then wipe off the olive oil from the leather item with another clean cloth. This in addition to removing the stickiness cleans the leather, keeps it from cracking or scuffing.

7. Use a Patent Leather Cleaner

Last but not least is to use a patent leather cleaner. To many, using the patent leather cleaner will probably be the quickest route to fix the stickiness on patent leather but will cost some money unlike the other methods discussed that makes use of a lot of the things you might already have in your home.

Related: 5 Best Non Sticky Leather Conditioner

There are a lot of patent cleaners out there to choose from and all you will need to do is to follow the instructions on the particular one you buy.

To help point you in the right direction, you can check out this patent leather cleaner from Amazon, it’s simply one of the best out there and will in addition to removing sticky buildups on patent leather it will also give your patent leather item all the cleaning, polishing, nourishment & conditioning it requires for a beautiful consistent look.

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  2. What’s the Difference Between Patent Leather and Suede Leather
  3. 3 Reasons Why Faux Leather Gets Sticky & 6 Ways to Easily Fix it
  4. 5 Best Non Sticky Leather Conditioner


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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