Our motor vehicles are an essential part of our daily routine because we need to use them for so many important things, everything from going to work at the office to dropping off our kids at school  to going on our well-deserved summer vacations. The amount of time that we spend in our cars, we of course eat tons of snacks and drink lots of cans of soda, and cups of tea or coffee, all of which leaves the interior of our cars looking rather dirty and sticky with stains, crumbs, smears and spills. There are quite a few very good special products available on the market to help you with the removal of these kinds of stains.

How to Remove Stains from Leather Car Seats

Best Creams to Remove Stains

Here are 3 of the best creams that can be used to remove stains from your car leather seats. If you have some badly stained leather, one of these should be able to help you with your problem.

Leather Ultra CleanChamberlain’s LeatherLeather Magic
Leather Ultra CleanLeather Magic
Furniture Clinic
Chamberlain's Leather Milk
Leather Magic
8.8 ounces
8 ounces
6.1 ounces
7.2" x 3.1" x 2.8"
2.2" x 1.8" x 5.8"




Furniture Clinic Leather Ultra Clean Leather Cleaner

Although this great little leather cleaner is marketed as a furniture care product, it’s actually quite versatile and can also be used on all types of leather items, including leather car seats. It’s a unique leather cleaner that can efficiently remove deeply ingrained stains, but, at the same time, contains no harsh solvents or abrasives, allowing you to safely clean your leather seats without having to worry too much about the possibility of damage. Just make sure that you read and follow the instructions carefully. For this reason, this effective water-based leather cleaner is ideal for dealing with any color, such as lighter colored leather, that needs a powerful stain removal treatment.

So, if you want a leather cleaner that is very simple to use and doesn’t require a great deal of vigorous scrubbing, then you definitely want to try out this product to see for yourself just how well it gets the job done. Most likely, you’ll find that it works perfectly for restoring grungy leather car seats that are looking old and dirty to their original condition.  You’re sure to be quite satisfied with the results, and you won’t be alone as it has recently been voted the “Best Leather Cleaner Available”.

Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Leather Cleaner Straight Cleaner

This all-natural non-toxic leather cleaner uses a special blend of water, alcohol and powerful non-alkaline cleaning agents that penetrates deeply into your leather and loosens any tough stains that have badly marred the original beauty of your leather car seats. As a result, it’s a great product to choose when you have leather that needs a more thorough cleaning than usual. The natural, chemical-free formula has been tested on literally millions of leather items over the years, so the product’s reputation is certainly well deserved.

Chamberlains Leather Milk Leather Cleaner Straight Cleaner

This leather cleaner is the perfect choice when you need to remove stains, grease, mold, spills, paint, dirt or mud from your leather car seats. The fluid consistency of the product makes it very easy to apply and use, the natural ingredients are quite easy on the environment, and its fragrant and pleasant scent will be easy on your nose. Plus, the optimal pH-balanced recipe will work hard to enrich the leather, which helps to extend its lifespan and the value of your vehicle, leaving you with bright shiny interior that will impress your friends and neighbors. What more could you ask for?

Leather Magic Ink & Stain Remover

This product removes ink and most other types of difficult stains from all articles made from leather, such as auto upholstery and leather car seats, without harming the appearance of your cherished leather. This stain remover is designed so that you can take care of a wide variety of problem stains without a lot of effort. Only a small amount of this product is needed to take care of your cleaning needs, and you just use it with a clean dry cloth. The cleaner will effectively dissolve the stain while you simply continue to blot the affected area with a soft gentle action.

So, if your leather car seats have been stained by lipstick, crayons or other hard-to-remove substances that you have tried to remove with other less powerful leather cleaners, you should consider giving this stain remover a try. In most cases, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you can get to the stain in a timely manner. Remember though, that it is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t scrub too hard with a powerful cleaning agent like this. Be patient and the stubborn stain should gradually disappear, leaving you with clean leather car seats once again. As with all leather care products, be sure to read the label carefully and follow the directions to the letter.

Best DIY Methods to Remove Stains

There are undoubtedly some great leather care products widely available on the market. However, sometimes the best way to keep your leather car seats clean is by using several more natural Do-It-Yourself methods using household goods, which are better than commercial cleaners items because they are generally cheaper and less harmful to the environment. Here are some really useful and easy ways to remove stains from your leather car seats using common easily-available household ingredients and materials:

Simple Stains: Toothpaste

It’s probably not that surprising that toothpaste is one of the best ways to remove simple stains from leather car seats. After all, we use it to clean our teeth, so why not try it on our leather? All you need to do is squeeze out a small amount of toothpaste from the tube onto the stain and then gently rub it in with an old discarded soft toothbrush.

Simple Stains Toothpaste

Too much abrasion can scratch and damage your leather, so take it easy. After the stain has vanished, hopefully in a few seconds, clean the surface of your leather car seat carefully and thoroughly with a damp towel and then let it naturally dry. If this simple method works well, you’ll be happy to kiss that ugly stain goodbye!

Tougher Stains: Isopropyl Alcohol

For your tougher,  more difficult stains, you should break out a bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol, or as it’s sometimes called, ‘rubbing alcohol’, the kind you probably have in your medicine cabinet or first aid kit somewhere for cleaning up cuts and scrapes. Like toothpaste, as a cleaning fluid, it can be used for a number of other purposes. Remember though, this kind of alcohol does have some toxic properties, so you need to be a little careful when you use it. Wash your hands immediately after you finish cleaning the stain, and definitely avoid contact with your eyes and mouth.

Tougher Stains Isopropyl Alcohol

First of all, you’ll want to test a small area under the seat of your car in order to check and see how your car’s leather reacts with the alcohol. If it doesn’t cause any damage, then go ahead and  use it on the stain. Dab the alcohol gently on the messy spot with a cotton ball, but try hard not to soak the area with it, as this can make the leather fade and become discolored. The trick is to put just enough alcohol on the cotton ball to make it damp, but not so much that it’s dripping wet.

Toughest Stains: Cream of Tartar & Lemon Juice

For the very toughest stubborn stains that are strongly resistant to the methods above, as a last resort you can try a blend of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Make the mixture by using equal parts of cream of tartar and lemon juice. You can get the juice from fresh lemons, of course, but if none are available, look for bottled lemon juice. The cream of tartar can normally be found among the spices or in the bakery section of your local supermarket.

Don’t get it confused with tartar sauce, which is commonly served with fried fish and seafood; cream of tartar is a fine white powder similar in appearance to baking soda, not a cream. The first step when using this mixture is to test it on a small area somewhere on the side or bottom of your car seat similar to the way that the use of alcohol was tested. If  the results of this test look alright, then liberally apply a small but sufficient amount of the mixture onto the stain and leave it there for 10 minutes. Following this, with the help of a damp cloth, wipe off the excess mixture to check and see if the stain is gone or not. If the stain has merely become lighter, then you need to reapply the mixture and let it sit for another 10 minutes and follow the remaining steps again.

 Once you are able to remove the stain completely and successfully, thoroughly clean the area with a damp towel and let the seat dry well. You’ll be mighty pleased to see your leather car seats free of stains!

Types of Stains & How to Remove Them

Water Stains:

If some water that somehow got into your car has left a visible stain on your leather car seats, but it hasn’t puckered the leather so that it is no longer flat and smooth, then you can easily remove it. The process is very simple; just go to your kitchen and grab a small chunk or slice of bread from the fridge.

Water Stains

Then, roll this piece of bread up to make a ball that fits snugly into your hand, and with this bread ball blot up the water stain on the seat. You may be quite surprised with the results! While this method is most effective for removing minor water stains, it unfortunately doesn’t work so well for other types of water damage.

Mold or Mildew Stains on Leather Seats:

If you need to  remove mold or mildew stains from your leather car seats, the best thing to do is to make a mixture with equal parts of water and alcohol. Basically, you want to dilute a small amount of the same isopropyl alcohol that was mentioned above with a matching amount of water. Then, use a cloth hand towel to apply a small amount of the mixture on the mold or mildew stain and rub it in until the spot is completely gone.

Mold or Mildew Stains on Leather Seats

You’ll be pleased to see your leather seats looking fresh and new. As before, use an appropriate amount and avoid touching your face while using this method due to the alcohol content in the mixture.

Food Stains:

For most simple food stains, you can merely apply a dab of mild dish-washing liquid with a bit of warm water, then gently rub it in with a clean rag, and with a bit of effort the stain will be gone! If you come across a more stubborn stain, then apply a little all-purpose degreaser on the stain and gently rub the spot in order to remove it.

Useful Tips

  • Immediately remove stains right after they happen because if you give a stain enough time, it will definitely soak into the material and consequently, it will be more difficult to get rid of it. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine.
  • Before applying any of these stain-removing products or methods, be sure to take the time to first test each one on a small leather area, mainly under the seat or some other inconspicuous spot, so that you can see if there are any adverse effects on your car’s leather, such fading color, or if it is safe to go ahead and use it to take care of your problem.

There are several natural ways that are quite handy for removing various kinds of stains from your leather car seats (and other leather products as well) and also serve as good alternatives that can replace the use of special commercial cleaning products that can sometimes be harsh and damaging. Commercial products offer the benefit of being stronger and usually more effective in removing stains. Choose a method that is best for the type of stain you are facing and never rub too hard or use too much of the mixture or product; otherwise, it will possibly damage the leather.

Remember that for this kind of cleaning job, ‘less is more’ and a delicate touch goes a long way toward getting the job done well. Finally, if the stain is quite harsh and has become embedded into the leather, then you might need to resort to the use of a professional quality leather cleaner and maybe a leather dye in order to try and restore the original look of your leather car seats or other leather items. In the long run, where there’s a will, there’s a way, so keep trying and remember that the difficult battle against the stains that mar the beauty of your leather car seats can certainly be won in the end!