How to Clean Leather With Acetone

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Things You'll Need

  • Acetone (nail polish remover works fine)

  • Cotton balls or soft cotton cloth

Clean your leather jackets, handbags and furniture with a little bit of acetone and a cotton ball.

Cleaning leather involves not only the removal of the offending stain or substance but the preservation of the grain and texture as well. While some soiling will come off leather with saddle soap or treatment oils, some stubborn stains simply remain. This is when acetone is worth a try. It cleans the soiling and also preserves the integrity of the leather.


Step 1

Brush the leather with a soft brush or damp sponge to remove any debris. Allow the spot to dry if you've used a damp sponge, so you can actually determine the extent of the soil or stain.

Step 2

Soak the cotton ball in acetone and squeeze to remove the excess liquid. Dab the cotton ball onto the soiled area for a minute or two. The acetone will help to lift the stain but will not harm or change the color or texture of the leather.

Step 3

Allow the spot to dry for about half an hour. Determine if the stain is gone or lessened. If it is lessened, repeat the process with the cotton ball and the acetone.


Step 4

Apply a leather conditioner to the leather once the acetone has dried. Allow the conditioner to soak into the leather, and buff with a soft cloth per the manufacturer's directions.



Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, N.H. She has authored five books and hundreds of articles and short stories. Her work has appeared various publications, including "Parenting," "Writer’s Digest," "Vacations" and "Discovery Travel." She studied at the University of Maine and later pursued her writing studies through numerous classes and workshops.