Most of us don’t know whether hand sanitizer will be problematic for our leather accessories or not. The issue occurs when we accidentally drop the sanitizer on our leather products and don’t give attention to immediately removing it. Other than being used for sanitization, hand sanitizer proves a fatal stain leaver on leather products.

Getting hand sanitizer stains becomes more frequent during the covid and more people start searching for how to remove hand sanitizer stains from leather. It comes to our notice only when we spot the whitish marks/stains on our leather items like boots, handbags, chairs, etc.d

There exist multiple ways to remove hand sanitizer stains. The most common one is applying leather conditioner and cleaner. Next, come the diluted vinegar, mild soap treatment, mink oil, and rubbing alcohol treatment. Keep reading to know each method in detail.

How To Remove Hand Sanitizer Stain From Leather (Understanding The Basics)

Leather is an expensive and deluxe item, and you should understand the basics of the cleaning/removing technique before treating it.

  1. Natural leather comes with different oils (5%-25%) and a special type of finishing. You better avoid the leather from harsh treatments like baking soda, strong detergent, concentrated acids, etc.
  2. Much important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning purposes. For most leather items, a good quality leather cleaner and leather conditioner prove best to remove hand sanitizer stains.

How Does a Hand Sanitizer Stain Leather?

Most hand sanitizers come with highly concentrated alcohol (methyl alcohol or isopropyl). Whenever a hand sanitizer drops on leather, the alcohol breaks the dye, damages the finish, and may sometimes ruin the leather grains too.

Leather consists of natural oils which boost its unique look and durability. While the alcohol in hand sanitizer removes the essential oils of leather, making it dry and brittle.

Being a good absorbent material, leather easily absorbs alcohol. Once dropped on the leather products, the hand sanitizer penetrates the leather to disrupt the coloration. The extent of stain on leather depends on the concentration of alcohol in hand sanitizer and the quality of the leather.

1. Use Leather Conditioner and Cleaner

Follow the below steps to remove hand sanitizer stains from leather.

Step 1: Wipe Out the Sanitizer

  1. Remove the hand sanitizer from the leather by using a piece of clean cloth or towel.
  2. Don’t give much time to sanitizer to absorb into the leather. Wipe it out ASAP.

Step 2: Applying Leather Cleaner

  1. Thoroughly remove the dust by using a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush.
  2. Spray the good-quality leather cleaner on a microfiber cloth and rub it on a small inconspicuous part of the leather first.
  3. Once done with the spot test, start scrubbing the stained areas of leather.
  4. Rub it enough until the stains have completely gone.
  5. Now with a second clean towel, apply the leather cleaner in a circular motion to the whole surface of the leather to make an even look.

Step 3: Let the Leather Dry Overnight

  1. Before conditioning, the leather must be dried. Once done with cleaning, place the leather in a dry place for around 12 hours.
  2. Wipe out any excessive cleaning residues with a clean and dry cloth.

Step 4: Applying Leather Conditioner

Make sure to test a small conspicuous part of the leather with a leather conditioner. Let the conditioner sit for 1-2 hours. This will help you to confirm whether the conditioner is causing the discoloration or not.

  1. Take a clean microfiber cloth, and wet it with a leather conditioner.
  2. With the wet cloth, rub the leather in a circular motion. Make sure to apply a thin coating with an even distribution of leather conditioner.
  3. Apply another coating of the conditioner once the first coating dries.
  4. Usually, 2-3 coating proves enough to restore the look.

Step 5: Let the Leather Dry Overnight Again

  1. Once done with the conditioning, let the leather air dry again for around 12-15 hours.
  2. Take a clean cloth to wipe away any residue of the conditioner that may have been left behind.

2. Diluted Vinegar

With many great features, white vinegar effectively removes the sanitizer stains from the leather. Make sure not to treat the leather with concentrated vinegar, especially delicate leather. Always use diluted vinegar whenever needed.

  1. Make a cleaner solution by adding 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water.
  2. Perform a spot test on an inconspicuous part of the leather to ensure leather safety.
  3. Once satisfied with the result, wet a piece of a clean towel or other cloth with a diluted vinegar solution.
  4. Gently scrub the hand sanitizer stains with a wet towel. Scrub the affected area until the stains have gone.
  5. Remove the excess vinegar with a piece of clean cloth.
  6. Let the leather dry completely.
  7. Now, apply a good quality leather conditioner on the leather and dry it again.
How to remove hand sanitizer stain from leather.
How to remove hand sanitizer stain from leather.

3. Mild Soup and Mink Oil

One of the ways to remove hand sanitizer stains from leather is to use a mild soap solution. Mild soap comes with a skin nourishing content and a pH of around 7-9. Compared with normal soap, mild soap doesn’t cause skin damage and dryness.

i. Applying Soap Solution

  1. Add ½ tsp. mild soap to 2 cups warm water. Make the lather by swirling.
  2. Take a clean towel to dampen it with the lather. Squeeze the towel to remove the liquid so the leather does not get too wet.
  3. Gently rub the stains with the towel in a circular motion.
  4. Once satisfied with the results, let the leather air dry.

ii. Applying Mink Oil

Mink oil proves an excellent oil to moisturize the leather. It gives a protective coating to the leather.

  1. Mink oil comes in wax form, and you need to melt it before use.
  2. Take a sponge or a clean cloth to dab it in the oil.
  3. With the cloth, rub the oil on the whole surface of the leather in a circular motion. Don’t skip any part.
  4. Completely air-dry the leather before applying the next coating of oil. Repeat the process if needed.
  5. Let the leather dry overnight before using it.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

You may be wondering why we are using rubbing alcohol while we got the alcohol stains. Actually, we are making the whole surface even. The method is suitable for old leather products.

Try this method only when you don’t get enough results with the previous methods.

  1. Thoroughly remove the hand sanitizer stains with a clean towel or cloth.
  2. Take a microfiber cloth and dampen it with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Evenly apply the rubbing alcohol on the leather item.
  4. Let the alcohol sit for a few minutes until the whole surface looks even.
  5. Take another microfiber cloth and dampen it with a diluted detergent solution.
  6. Apply the solution to the leather to stop the rubbing alcohol reaction with the leather.
  7. Wipe the detergent solution with a clean damped cloth, and the leather dry.
  8. Apply the coatings of a good quality leather conditioner.
  9. Once satisfied, let the leather air dry. You’re done.


There are multiple ways to remove hand sanitizer stains from leather. The most liked one among the users includes leather cleaner and leather conditioner. If you don’t get enough results with this method, then try the others.

Always perform a spot test before treating the whole product. Leather chairs, furniture, boots, and other products are costly, so better to treat them with care. Never jump to apply any online method without performing the spot test.

To know how to remove hairspray from a leather chair, click here.

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