6 Easy Ways To Clean Bleach From Leather Plus Helpful Tips

how to clean bleach from leather

Have you ever spilled or mistakenly used bleach on your leather sofa or any other leather items? The way that it looks is not the only problem. Bleach has a harmful effect on the products and with time, it will cause permanent damage to them.

So how do you clean bleach from leather items?

  1. By Using Dish Soap To Remove Bleach From Leather
  2. By Using Baking Soda To Remove Bleach From The Leather
  3. By Using Lemon Juice And Cream Of Tartar
  4. By Using White Vinegar
  5. Recoloring The Bleach Spot With A Sharpie
  6. Dyeing The Bleached Leather

As mentioned above, you can see there are many ways one can go about cleaning bleach from leather. In the remaining parts of this article, I’m going to show you the step-by-step processes of using each of the methods listed above. But first, let’s talk a little about bleach stains on leather items!

Here’s The Truth You Need To Know About Bleach On Leather

Bleach is alkaline and this means that it will break down the natural acidity in leather. The problem with bleach on leather is what you see and how it affects the leather material’s integrity.

While we all know that spills happen, they are unavoidable accidents that can be a nightmare to clean up if not handled immediately.

Bleach “stains” are not usually real stains as bleach does not leave behind color or residue that can be cleaned. What you will see after the bleach has had contact with your leather item is the color itself gets removed.

Having said that, the bleach “stains” you will be able to remove are those that have just happened. But those that have stayed on the surface of the leather for a long time are almost impossible to revert unless the color lost is re-colored or re-dyed.

This article will focus on giving you some important tips and techniques for dealing with fresh bleach stains, how to restore the appearance of the leather after the bleach stain has been on it for some time (redyeing), and tips on how to prevent bleach spills or stains from your leather items.

How To Safely Remove Fresh Bleach Stains or Spills From Leather

If you have recently spilled bleach on your leather items, it is important the very first step you take is to stop whatever you’re doing if you can and clean up the mess.

There are a couple of easy but effective ways you can actually do this. I will share with you about 6 methods of dealing with fresh bleach stains on your leather items

1. Using Dish Soap Method To Remove Bleach From Leather

The first and easiest way to get rid of a fresh bleach stain on your leather is by using any form of household mild soap. This can be dish soap or any soap made especially for leather.

You must use the mildest dishwashing or hand-soap possible, as these are less likely to damage the integrity of the leather than other soaps will.

This method will particularly deal with both the bleach stain and the strong chlorine-like smell that ensue due to the chemical reaction that occurs as the bleach breaks down the proteins on the leather.

It will also stop the bleach from continually reacting with the leather to cause further damages. Here’s how you use this simple method to save your precious leather items.

Things Needed:

  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Lint-free Towel, Cotton Ball, Microfiber Cloth, or Rag
  • Leather Conditioner


Step 1
  • Put 2-3 drops of the mild dish soap on your microfiber cloth, rag, or cotton ball.
Step 2
  • Now begin to gently rub over the surface of the bleach-stained area of the leather item.
  • Apply the soap gently over the affected area until any excess bleach residue and odors have been removed from the leather.
  • Be sure not to rub too hard when doing this (as we want to avoid any abrasions). But don’t be afraid if there is still an odor present after following this method. The next step will take care of that.
Step 3
  • Now put 1-2 drops of your mild dish soap into water and then dampen your microfiber cloth with the soapy solution.
Step 4
  • Gently begin to wipe the surface of the bleach-stained leather.
Step 5
  • Rinse out your rag or microfiber cloth with fresh running water and wring it out. Use the damp microfiber cloth to wipe over the surface of the leather to remove any soap residual materials left behind.
Step 6
  • Leave the leather to air-dry overnight. Do not put your leather item directly in the sun or close to a heat source.
Step 7
  • Apply a leather conditioner to the entire leather surface. Finito!

Doing these steps carefully will simply help to prevent the bleach stain or spill from spreading further onto other surfaces.

However, if some of the bleach stains have already soaked into the fibers of the leather, then the next method will be tremendously beneficial.

2. Using Baking Soda To Remove Bleach From Leather

Another way to remove fresh bleach from your leather items is by using baking soda. If you’re looking to quickly remove the bleach stain, then you can use baking soda.

This method will help clean away any bleach stains or spills and get rid of any lingering smell. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use the baking soda method to remove fresh bleach spills from the surface of your leather items.

Things Needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Bowl of Clean Water
  • Old Toothbrush Or Sponge


Step 1
  • Mix one teaspoon of baking soda to two tablespoons of water in a bowl. Now mix until fully dissolved.
Step 2
  • Dab it over the area of the leather that needs cleaning. You can gently pour or use a clean rag to dab it over the bleach stain.
Step 3
  • Use the toothbrush or sponge to gently scrub the surface of the leather where you have applied the baking soda solution.
  • You can do this for a couple of minutes and then leave the baking soda on the leather item overnight.
  • But you want to make sure you do not leave the leather item covered with baking soda solution close to any heat source.
Step 4
  • The next day, vacuum up all of the mess created or use a microfiber cloth dampened with clean water. You may want to repeatedly wipe down, again and again, to get rid of all the baking soda residue.
Step 5
  • Leave the leather to air-dry for a couple of hours.
Step 6
  • Apply a leather conditioner to the leather surface and leave it to air dry again before use.

The smell and the bleach should be gone with oil slight traces of color lose on the once stained portions. If your leather item suffered some color loss from the bleach stains and you would like to get your leather item back to its original color after you have successfully removed all traces of bleach then move on to the next top to get this done easily and quickly.

3. Using Lemon Juice And Cream Of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a white crystalline powder that comes from the recipe for baking powder. It is acid and has no taste or odor making it perfect to use in this problem.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which smells like lemon and does a great job at removing stains, including bleach spots!

Together, these two ingredients work very well when used on a leather item’s stain. The cream of tartar will usually loosen up all the dirt and grime while the lemon juice helps with the natural coloration so your shoes can look new again in just a few applications. Here’s how you go about using this method!

Things Needed:

  • Lemon Juice
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Rubber Gloves


Step 1
  • Wear gloves
Step 2
  • Mix equal parts of lemon juice and cream of tartar into a paste. This mixture is perfect for this purpose because the mixture contains a mild bleaching effect that will help mitigate the effect of the bleach on the leather.
Step 3

Apply the mixture to the bleach stain on the leather and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. You want to do this by rubbing the mixture onto the stained portions using circular motions until you’re satisfied with the outcome.

Step 4

Use a damp sponge to remove the paste. As mentioned earlier, lemon juice and cream of tartar have a mild bleaching effect that will help lift the bleach spills and make the surface look even.

If the bleach stains or spills remain, repeat the process.

Step 5
  • Leave the leather item to dry. Again, you do not want to use any heat source to dry the leather. Simply air-dry the leather.

4. Using Vinegar To Remove Bleach From Leather Items

Vinegar is such a powerful cleaning and deodorizing substance that can be used to remove bleach spills from the leather. Let’s get into the step-by-step guide on how to execute this method.

Things Needed:

  • White Vinegar
  • Tissue Paper
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1
  • As with any other substance, it is important to contain the spill and wipe up as much of the liquid as possible using a cloth or paper towel.
Step 2
  • You want to mix equal parts of water and white vinegar together until you get a clear solution. The pH levels for this mixture is great at removing bleach so this is going to be an effective cleaning solution.
Step 3
  • Use a sponge or soft cloth and apply the vinegar mixture onto the stained portions of your leather item using circular motions until you are satisfied with the outcome.
Step 4
  • Allow it to sit for about an hour before blotting off any excess liquid that remains on the area where you applied the vinegar solution.
  • Now use a damp sponge to remove the white vinegar solution from the leather surface and then leave the item to air-dry. Make sure to let them dry naturally.
  • Some climates can be less humid than others which means drying time will depend on the temperature in your specific location.
  • There might be some slight odor left after drying but that should go away quickly as well.
  • If residues remain after all these steps have been followed correctly, repeat them once more before moving onto another method for removing bleached spots from your leather items.

How To Restore Leather Color From Bleach Stains or Spills

Generally, the above methods will work if the bleach stains or spills are relatively fresh. But in the situation where the bleach has taken away the color of the leather what do you do?

This is where restoring the color of the leather item after it has been bleach-stained for a while. Here’s an easy method you can use to restore the color of your leather that has had its color removed by bleach.

1. Recoloring The Bleach Spot With A Sharpie

Sharpies are just what they sound like. They’re markers that come in a variety of colors and widths, perfect for making artistic marks on many different kinds of surfaces.

So in a situation where you have bleach stains that have caused the removal of the color of the leather the sharpie particularly comes in handy. With the right color choice, you should be able to perfectly match the color to the original one that got removed.

The process is simple and here’s how you go about it. But first, here are the things you need.

Things Needed:

  • Sharpie With Color Matching Your Leather
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1
  • Dilute rubbing alcohol with water. Use the ratio of 1 part rubbing alcohol to 1 part water. You can do the dilution in a spray bottle.
Step 2
  • Now put a few squirts of the rubbing alcohol solution on your microfiber cloth and start to rub over the surface of the leather where the stain is. Rub in a firm and circular motion.
  • Doing this will help to open up the pores of the leather, break down and lift up any dye, dirt, or any stain residue from the leather.
Step 3
  • Use the marker to color over the bleached spots on the leather ensuring the color of choice matches that of the color. Continue to color using the Sharpie pen until you’ve covered up the bleached out spot or stain completely.
  • This method will work for small splashes, and spills of bleach stains. This may not work very well for large leather surfaces.
  • An instance where this method will work flawlessly is if you need a deep black-ish ink instead of some other hue or shade.
Step 4

Wait for a few minutes for the sharpie color to air-dry.

Step 5
  • Condition your leather. This is important because sharpie contains some form of isopropyl alcohol that can dry out the leather in the long run.

2. Professional Services For Redyeing

In the situation where the bleach stains have removed bigger patches of color from the leather, you can either redye the entire surface of the leather item yourself or seek the services of a professional to help restore the leather surface.

Usually, they will use a water-based dye and then seal the surface of the leather. Plus, there are a lot more things the professional may take into consideration before giving you the best solution.

Tips On How To Prevent Bleach And Other Stains From Leather

Here are some tips for preventing bleach from ruining our leather items:

  • Caution! Caution!! Caution!!! Always use caution while working with household chemicals like chlorine bleach.
  • If you do spill something like bleach onto your clothes, shoes, bag, or anything else made of leather, do not make the mistake of trying to scrub it out or wipe it away. Just stop what you’re doing, find a wet towel, and dab at the spot until most of the liquid is soaked up.
  • If you do need to scrub something that spilled onto your leather goods, make sure you’re using a gentle cleaner and not harsh chemicals that also contain a very high concentration of bleach or ammonia.
  • Use bleach on an area of leather only if it’s for spot treatment purposes (that is removing stains) and the leather is going to be dyed.
  • If you have to use bleach to remove stains on your leather item don’t use it across the entire piece of the leather item or furniture as this can eventually damage the natural fibers of the leather.
  • Do not use any commercial cleaners containing ammonia since they have an effect similar to bleach that breaks down color pigments so even after washing them many times, the soiled area will still be discolored.
  • Always wash your hands after cleaning any spillage so you don’t spread discoloration onto nearby surfaces. This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway.


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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