5 Easy Ways To Clean Hand Sanitizer From Leather (No Damage)

how to clean hand sanitizer from leather

Hand sanitizer is great for keeping your hands clean, but sometimes you might accidentally get some on your leather purse or jacket. This can be a tough stain to remove, but don’t worry! There are some methods I have tried and test that you can use to take care of this problem without damaging the leather.

One of the best ways to clean hand sanitizer from leather is with a leather cleaner and conditioner. You can also use mild dish soap and vaseline or coconut oil to effectively remove hand sanitizer stains from leather.

Continue reading this article to learn the different methods and more details about how to use common household items to clean hand sanitizer from leather.

1. Using Leather Cleaner And Leather Conditioner

If you have about $30 bucks to spare, the good old leather cleaner and leather conditioner are probably your best option.

It may seem expensive, but you get a pretty big bottle and it will be enough to clean all the hand sanitizer stains you can find. You will still have more to clean and condition your leather items from time to time.

Generally, a leather cleaner will have cleaning agents that would help to remove dirt, stains, and grime from your leather.

It would also be useful in removing the hand sanitizer gels and other ingredients that may be stuck on the surface or within the pores of the leather with a lot of ease.

The leather conditioner on the other hand helps to restore the natural oils and nutrients to your leather. It would also help in the prevention of further damage and cracking to the leather, helping it keep its original look and feel for a long time.

My preferred choice of leather cleaner and conditioner are those from Leather Honey or The Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner. You can check them out on Amazon through those links.

If you’re on a budget, you could go for the one from Chemical guys as it is less than $20.

To use these products, simply follow the instructions below;

Things Needed:

  • Leather Cleaner
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1:

  • Blot up any excess hand sanitizer from your leather item using a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Because most hand sanitizers contain gels and essential oils, their stains will sit on the surface of the leather for some time before they get absorbed or dry.
  • So it is very important to blot.

Step 2:

  • Take your leather cleaner, pour a generous amount onto your microfiber cloth.
  • Use the microfiber cloth to scrub away any remaining stains on your leather.
  • Rub gently while working the leather cleaner into the stained area.
  • Continue to do this until you are satisfied with the results of your cleaning efforts.

Step 3:

  • Once the stains are gone apply the last round of leather cleaner on the entire surface of the leather item and clean those areas as well.
  • This is so that the leather item will have a clean even surface once the leather has dried.

Step 4:

Step 5:

  • Load a liberal amount of leather conditioner on the microfiber cloth and apply an even layer on the surface of the leather.
  • Be sure to only apply a thin layer of the leather conditioner and let the application dry before applying another layer.
  • Make sure to apply the leather conditioner on the entire surface of the leather as well.
  • Repeat this 2-3 times and monitor how the stained area improves.

Step 6:

  • Finally, use a dry clean cloth to remove any excess leather conditioner if there is any left on your item.
  • Let it air dry for about 30 minutes before using or storing it away.

2. Using Mild Dish Soap And Vaseline Or Coconut Oil

If you’re not down to purchase any leather cleaner and conditioner, then just grab yourself a mild dish soap, Vaseline/Coconut Oil, and follow the steps below.

But first, let me tell you why these two household ingredients are also going to help you clean hand sanitizer from your leather.

Mild dish soap is one of the safest cleaning agents that you can find. You will need to put a little amount of it into your hands and create some lather before applying the soap to the leather.

Coconut oil on the other hand is a great natural protectant for leather. It is also an effective moisturizer that can help restore the natural oils and nutrients to your item as well, helping it keep its original look and feel for a long time.

So using these two household ingredients would not only help you clean hand sanitizer from your leather but also help prevent further damage and cracking to the item.

Things Needed:

  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Vaseline / Coconut Oil
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1: 

  • Blot the excess hand sanitizer from your leather with a clean cloth.
  • Make sure to gently dab it off and do not spread the stain to other parts of the leather. So be careful when you do this.

Step 2: 

  • Put a tablespoon full of dish soap into some water and mix it in a bowl.
  • Make sure to bring the mixture to a bubble before applying the soap to your leather.

Step 3:  

  • Dampen the surface of the leather with the solution where the hand sanitizer stains are.
  • Leave it for a few seconds.

Step 4:

  • Soak your sponge into the solution, wring it out, and begin to gently scrub the stains out.
  • Use a gentle circular motion to work out any stains on the surface of the leather.
  • Do this for a few minutes.
  • Once the stains are gone, give the entire surface of your leather item one last gentle scrub before wiping the surface of your leather with a dry clean microfiber cloth.

Step 5:

  • Leave the leather item to air-dry.

Step 6:

  • Put some coconut oil or vaseline on your microfiber cloth and begin to old the entire surface of the leather item.
  • Only apply very thin layers at a time and make sure to buff and air dry the leather item before applying any additional coats.
  • Repeat this a few times to ensure that the leather item is moisturized and has a healthy layer of oil protecting it from any future damage.

Step 7:

  • Once satisfied, allow the leather item to air-dry one last time before putting it to use.

3. Using Toothpaste And White Vinegar

Here’s a handy trick for getting rid of hand sanitizer stains from your leather goods. This method also involves using everyday household items such as toothpaste and white vinegar.

Toothpaste is a great cleaning agent that can be used for many cleaning purposes around the house. The white vinegar is also an effective cleaning agent that is known for its usefulness in removing stains.

This method simply involves using both the toothpaste and white vinegar, applying it to the hand sanitizer stain on your leather item using a microfiber cloth.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use this method.

Things Needed:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Toothpaste
  • Sponge
  • White vinegar


Step 1: 

  • If the hand sanitizer spot is still visible, use paper towels to blot it from the leather surface.
  • Simply soak up any extra hand sanitizer with paper towels by gently pressing them against the leather.

Step 2: 

  • Dampen your sponge with water and wring it out so that it’s not soaking wet.

Step 3: 

Put some toothpaste on the damp sponge and begin to scrub off the hand sanitizer stains.

Step 4:

  • Once you’re do wiping the stained area, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the toothpaste residue from the leather.

Step 5: 

  • Next, dampen a clean microfiber cloth with full-strength white vinegar and begin to wipe the surface thoroughly.

Step 6: 

  • Remove any excess white vinegar using a water damp clean cloth.

Step 7: 

  • Leave the leather to air-dry.

Step 9: 

  • Lastly, apply a leather conditioner on the leather and let it air-dry one more time. Done!

4. Using Rubbing Alcohol

Another method you can use is applying isopropyl alcohol. While this may sound contradictory, it is a good alternative to consider.

As you’re aware, hand sanitizers contain isopropyl alcohol also known as rubbing alcohol and it is the alcohol content that often does the damage when hand sanitizer is allowed to stain the surface of the leather.

When allowed to sit and dry on the surface of your leather, the rubbing alcohol can discolor or bleach the surface of the leather.

So the logic behind this method, and you would be blown away by how it works, is that you will be using the rubbing alcohol to give the entire surface of the leather an even look.

This is perfect for very oil hand sanitizer stains on old leather items. You would also do this after you have tried the other methods mentioned above or if you don’t mind lightening the surface of your leather item a little bit.

Lastly, using the rubbing alcohol method is also suitable for removing hand sanitizer stains from light-colored leather items.

Things Needed:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Mild Dish Soap


Step 1:        

  • Make sure to first dab off any excess hand sanitizer with a clean cloth before applying the rubbing alcohol.
  • Also, get rid of any dirt, dust, and debris.

Step 2:

  • Put a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth and begin to wipe off the surface of your leather item.
  • Apply only a thin layer of the rubbing alcohol and make sure it is as even as possible.
  • You also want to do it as quickly as possible.
  • You can go over the application once or twice.

Step 3:

  • Once you have applied the rubbing alcohol to your leather item, leave it alone for a few minutes for the rubbing alcohol to saturate and even out the stain.

Step 4 (Optional):

  • If your leather item is dark-colored, you can apply some dye to it at this point.
  • You can skip this part as the next step will equally enhance the look of your leather item.

Step 5:

  • Once you have left the rubbing alcohol on for a few minutes and the entire surface of the leather looks even, make a solution of dish soap and water.
  • Dampen your microfiber cloth with the solution and use it to clean the surface of the leather.
  • This will help stop the rubbing alcohol reaction with the leather.

Step 6:

  • Now, use a damp cloth to wipe the soap residue from the leather and let it air dry.

Step 7:

  • Now apply the leather conditioner 2-3 times and the hand sanitizer stain should be gone.

5. The Frequent Or Heavey-Use Method

Another method for removing hand sanitizer from leather items is by simply putting to use the item that you want to clean.

Having the item that has been stained with hand sanitizer in use, it will help fade out the stain naturally.

This is also effective for very light-colored leather items because the color of your item will be enhanced through use.

You can work body oils into the leather item, allowing the leather to take up some scuffs, and dirt.

The body oils will also help to prevent the leather from drying from the alcohol content of the hand sanitizer. All of these factors will work together to gradually fade out the stain.

Final Thoughts

This article talked about 5 different ways to clean hand sanitizer from leather.

When it comes to removing the stain, you would need to find out which method works best for your particular leather item.

When it comes to the most effective and quickest method, that would be using a leather cleaner and leather conditioner.

This is because it will allow you to maintain your leather item without the need for scrubbing and it will also moisturize the leather which is great for keeping your leather item looking new.

Rubbing alcohol is also the best method for removing hand sanitizer from light-colored leather items because it only lightens the item slightly and applying your leather conditioner, in the end, will pop the leather item right back to its solid natural color.

Thank you for visiting our website today. I hope this article was of good use to you. Stick around and browse over to other pages on the site and remember to share.


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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