When it comes to leather, there are a lot of misconceptions about what you can and cannot use on it. One of the most common questions I get is whether or not dish soap can be used on leather.
5 Best Saddle Soap For Shoes – Ou...
5 Best Saddle Soap For Shoes – Ou...
The answer? It depends. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of using dish soap on leather, as well as some alternative methods you can try. First of all, what is dish soap?
What Is Considered Dish Soap?
Dish soap is a type of detergent that is specifically designed to clean dishes. Dish soap is usually made up of surfactants, which are substances that reduce the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid.
Dish soap is often used in conjunction with water to remove grease and food residue from dishes.
In addition to being effective at cleaning up after meals, dish soap can also be used for other purposes such as washing clothes or even removing stains from fabrics.
So to sum it up, dish soap is primarily made for cleaning dishes. However, you can use it for other purposes such as washing clothes or removing stains from fabrics.
Dish Soap vs Leather Cleaner – What’s The Difference?
Before we dive into the pros and cons of using dish soap on leather, it’s important to understand what makes it different from other cleaners you may use around your home or car.
For starters, dish soap is typically made up of surfactants that are specifically designed to break down grease. A typical dish soap will have a pH level between 11-12, which means it’s highly alkaline and can be used on most types of cookware without causing damage.
Similar to dish soap, leather cleaners are also made up of surfactants that break down grease and dirt on the surface of your leather product.
But unlike dish soaps which have a pH level between 11-12, most leather cleaners fall into the pH neutral range with levels at or below seven (the lower the pH number, the more acidic it is).
In addition to having different pH levels, dish soap and leather cleaners also have different ingredients.
While dish soap typically contains surfactants and other chemicals that are effective at breaking down grease and food residue, leather cleaners often contain natural ingredients such as beeswax or neatsfoot oil which help to nourish and protect the leather.
So now that you know a little bit more about dish soap and leather cleaners, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using dish soap on leather.
The Pros Of Using Dish Soap On Leather
Now let’s begin with the pros of using dish soap on leather:
1. Dish Soap Is Gentle On The Skin
One of the first benefits of using dish soap to clean leather is that it is gentle on the skin. If you have sensitive skin like mine, you know how important this can be.
The reason dish soap is so gentle on the skin is that it does not contain any harsh chemicals that could irritate your hands or other parts of your body.
Additionally, most types of dish soap are hypoallergenic which means they won’t cause an allergic reaction even if used frequently.
Another benefit of using dish soap to clean leather is that it doesn’t leave behind any harmful chemical residue, which makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin or allergies.
This makes dish soap a great option for cleaning leather products that are sensitive or prone to irritation.
2. Dish Soap Does Not Clog Leather Pores
Another important benefit to using dish soap on leather is that it does not clog its pores. Leather as a material has tiny pores that allow it to breathe.
If you use any cleaner that is not pH neutral or that is chemical-heavy, it can cause the leather’s pores to close up and prevent them from breathing. This will eventually lead to your leather product cracking, fading, or becoming brittle.
For example, sometimes, when cleaning leather products with cleaners that contain large amounts of waxes and polishes, these harsh chemicals can leave behind a residue which then gets into the pores of your leather and causes them to become clogged.
Dish soap won’t clog pores because it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or waxes. As a result, your leather will continue to breathe and be able to “live longer” without cracking, fading, or becoming brittle over time like some other cleaners.
3. Dish Soap Can Remove Stains From Leather
As far as regular everyday stains are concerned, dish soap is a pretty effective cleaner.
This is because dish soap is designed to break down grease and food residue, which are two of the most common types of stains that can occur on leather products.
In fact, dish soap can often safely remove these types of stains better than most specialized cleaners. So if you want an effective cleaning solution for your day-to-day stains and dirt, dish soap is a good option.
4. Dish Soap Can Help Remove Grease And Oil Stains
As mentioned a couple of times already, dish soap is a great cleaner for grease and oil stains.
This is because dish soap contains surfactants and other chemicals that are specifically designed to break down grease and dirt.
As a result, if you have a leather product that has grease or an oil stain, using dish soap can be one of the best ways to remove it if you do not have any other specific cleaning products on hand.
Just be sure to test the dish soap in an inconspicuous area of the leather product first to make sure that it will not cause any damage.
Once you have tested it and are confident that it will not harm the leather, you can proceed to use it to clean the grease or oil stains.
5. Dish Soap Can Help Remove Mold And Mold Spores
Another important thing to note about dish soap is that it can help remove mold and mold spores. This is because the soap contains chemicals that break down organic matter like mold.
Mold can grow on leather and cause damage over time especially if the right conditions are present. Mold will not only make the leather look nasty but can even cause it to rot away completely.
If you find mold on your leather goods and you do not have any special mold remover, do not panic. You can remove it in a few simple steps using some dish soap mixed together in water. All you do is follow these steps:
- You will need to mix up the dish soap and water together in a container. The ratio should be about one part soap for every ten parts of water.
- Once you have made this mixture, then it is time to apply it to the leather. You do this by using either an old toothbrush or a rag.
- Make sure to spread the mixture evenly over the entire surface of the leather.
- Leave it on for about 5 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water.
- If you have a heavy mold infestation, then you may need to repeat these steps a few times.
- Make sure to condition the leather and thoroughly dry it after cleaning it.
Overall, dish soap is an excellent and affordable way to remove mold from leather.
6. Dish Soap Is A Cheap Alternative To Leather Cleaners
Lastly, dish soap is a cheap alternative to leather cleaners. Leather cleaners can be expensive, and if you are on a tight budget, using dish soap as your go-to cleaner can be a great way to save some money.
You can spend an average of $15 on a quality leather cleaner, or you can spend about $0.50 on a bottle of dish soap.
So if you are looking for an affordable and effective way to clean your leather goods, dish soap is definitely the way to go.
Just make sure that you test it in an inconspicuous area of the leather product before using it to clean any stains or dirt.
The Cons Of Using Dish Soap On Leather
Let’s now move on to the cons of using dish soap on leather.
1. Dish Soap Strips The Essential Oils From Leather
The first con you will notice about using dish soap on leather is that it strips away the essential oils from the surface of the leather.
This means that over time if you continue to use dish soap as your go-to cleaner, your leather product will start to look dry and brittle. This will especially be the case if you do not get have the habit of conditioning your leather items after cleaning.
This is because there is no conditioning oil or wax in dish soap so it will not add anything to the leather’s surface.
It is important to note that dish soap can be used as a leather cleaner, but it should not be your only line of defense. You should always use a conditioner afterward to help replenish the oils that were stripped away.
2. Dish Soap Is Not pH Neutral, Which Means It Can Harm The Leather
Another con of using dish soap on leather is that it is not pH neutral. This means that it can potentially harm the leather if used in high concentrations or dish soap or over a long period of time.
Unlike leather cleaners or saddle soap that is specially formulated to the right pH level, dish soap is not.
So if you are using dish soap as your only line of defense against leather mold or dirt, it can be very harmful to the leather in the long run.
It is important to always mix dish soap with (warm) water before applying it to the leather and never use it undiluted. This will help reduce any potential damage to the leather.
Lastly, you should always spot test any new cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the leather before using it. This will help you see if there is any negative reaction between the dish soap and your particular type of leather product.
This is especially important if your item was dyed or has a painted finish because these elements can be harmed by dish soap.
Note: It is important to note that dish soap should never be used as the only cleaner and conditioner for your leather goods. It should always be used in conjunction with a quality leather conditioner.
3. Dish Soap May Not Remove All Types Of Stains From Leather
Third, dish soap may not remove all types of stains from leather. This is because dish soap is a degreaser and it is not specifically made for cleaning leather.
So if you are looking to remove a tough stain from your leather product, then dish soap might not be the best option.
You would be better off using a professional leather cleaner that is formulated specifically to remove stains from leather.
In addition, it is important to note that not all dish soaps are created equally and some may work better at removing certain stains than others.
So if you want to make sure your dish soap will work with the stain on your particular type of leather product, then you should test it out in an inconspicuous area before using it.
So overall, dish soap is a great all-around cleaner for leather products. As you can see the advantages of using dish soap on leather outweigh the disadvantages.
It can remove most everyday stains and dirt, as well as mold and mold spores. It is also a cheap alternative to specialized leather cleaners. Just make sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first and never use it undiluted.
However, if you have a stain that will not come off with dish soap, then you should use a specialty leather cleaner instead.
I hope this article was helpful to you! If so, please share it with others who might find it useful as well.
For stubborn stains
If the stain persists, try blotting with a towel dipped in a mixture of water and a mild dish soap (like Palmolive or Dawn). Be sure to blot gently; scrubbing rigorously can cause permanent damage to the leather. When you're done, thoroughly dry the spot with a fresh cloth.
Mild soap and water.
If you can, use saddle soap to give your leather a deeper clean. But if you can't get your hands on it, dilute mild unscented hand soap or dish soap in water as a replacement. You can then dampen a washcloth with the soapy solution to gently remove stains.
Dawn Dish Soap Dawn is another product that can assist in returning your horse's markings to pearly white, but it also works wonders for your tack. If your saddle is really dirty, use a soft damp cloth and a dab of Dawn soap to work out the yuck. Once clean, condition or oil your tack to add back the fat.Can I use dish soap on faux leather? ›
Yes, Dawn dish soap can be used to clean some faux leather items. It's best to opt for a gentle clothing detergent for garments, but Dawn is acceptable for bags and other accessories. Use cold to warm water with just a few drops of dish soap to gently wipe down the item, then rinse it thoroughly.Can Murphy's oil soap be used on leather? ›
Use the oil soap like a leather conditioner on leather furniture or your vehicle's dashboard area or upholstery (not cloth). Use the product at full strength and apply it to a dry cloth. Work it over the area, then use a second cloth to buff it.What is the best thing to clean leather couch? ›
You can clean your leather furniture using a simple cleaning solution of 50/50 vinegar and water. Use a microfiber cloth to apply the solution, rubbing the leather in a circular motion to lift the dirt out of the natural fibers.Will soap and water ruin leather? ›
Many people will simply use a regular soap or detergent to tackle the stains, but this is not a good idea – soap residue left on the leather can prevent the material from breathing, causing dry patches and cracking.Is it OK to clean leather with soap and water? ›
To tackle light, mild stains, dip a clean, damp washcloth in soapy, warm water and use it to wipe away the stain on your leather. You may need a specialty soap. “Specific leather soaps exist, [they're] usually called saddle soaps,” Pourny says. Don't leave wet spots as you clean leather furniture.What does Windex do to leather? ›
Unfortunately, you really cannot use window cleaner on leather upholstery because almost all of it contains alcohol. Alcohol will damage the surface of your leather, especially breaking down the protective top coat on fully-finished leathers that make up the vast majority of the leather upholstery market.Can you use Murphy's Oil soap on leather saddles? ›
The truth is, a saddle does best when you keep it clean and well oiled. Never clean with harsh detergents or hot water. Natural soaps such as Murphys Oil Soap, liquid glycerin soaps or glycerin bars with lukewarm water are best. Dont soak the leather, but dont be afraid to get it wet.
- Carr & Day & Martin Belvoir Step 1 Tack Cleaner Spray. ...
- Cavalor Leather Soap. ...
- Collegiate Saddle Soap. ...
- Leovet Leather Quick & Easy Spray. ...
- Little Rider Total Care Leather Tack Spray. ...
- Supreme Products Soft Leather Soap. ...
- Smart Grooming Leather Care Spray.
The traditional method of leather care is to wipe dust and sweat from your tack immediately after use with a sponge or cloth that is barely moistened with cool water. Then rub a thin layer of glycerin soap on the leather to seal the pores and keep it soft but not sticky.Does water ruin faux leather? ›
Faux or vegan leather is made from a form of plastic, polyurethane or even pineapple and apple. This kind of leather has strong in-built waterproof qualities. So the answer is yes, but it won't usually get damaged. This makes it easier to clean using a mild detergent or just wiping off any liquids with a damp cloth.How do you keep fake leather from peeling? ›
The secret to proper synthetic leather maintenance is to clean it using a soft, non-abrasive, and slightly damp cloth. Note that the cloth/towel must be slightly damp and not wet. Using too much of the protective chemicals leaves traces of the chemical on the leather surface.Can I use rubbing alcohol on faux leather? ›
Dependent on the faux leather range, ethanol based alcohols or bleach disinfectants are able to be used (in accordance with cleaning and care instructions) to disinfect and remove severe stains.What not to use on leather? ›
When it comes to leather, you're better off using either water or cleaning products specifically designed for leather. Popular home remedies like baking soda, white vinegar, cream of tartar, and lemon juice can be harsh on delicate leathers and make the problem even worse.Is vinegar good for cleaning leather? ›
This may sound surprising, but vinegar can work wonders on leather. If the stain is older, tougher, and the leather is more durable, grab a cleaning cloth and dampen it thoroughly with white vinegar, then gently rub the stained area.What natural products can I use to clean leather? ›
The best way how to clean a leather couch and the entire surface would be to mix 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part olive oil in a spray bottle and shake well. You can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to cut the vinegar scent.Can I use dish soap to clean my leather couch? ›
Cleaning leather is a gentle art that requires the right products. You can seriously damage your leather furniture by using the wrong stuff to clean it. It's widely agreed that plain old dish soap and water are the best cleaners for all types of leather.Can I use baby wipes to clean leather sofa? ›
NEVER USE BABY WIPES TO CLEAN LEATHER
These are often highly alkaline and are harmful to leather products. Many baby wipes contain chemicals, or other ingredients, that may cause leather to peel and crack over time.
Do not use petroleum-based cleaning products to clean leather as they can erode the stitching on the leather piece. Harsh cleaners (such as Windex or bleach), furniture polish (such as Pledge), alkaline cleaners, baby wipes, waxes, and silicone may also damage leather, leaving it feeling sticky.What liquids ruin leather? ›
The best way to remember what you can and can't use on your leather is to keep this in mind: The two most commonly used chemicals that will cause severe damage to your leather are alcohol and acetone. Stay away from products that contain these substances at all costs, regardless of what you read online.Can I use Lysol wipes on leather? ›
It can damage your leather's finish. The chemicals used in many disinfectant wipes remove the natural layer of protection on your seats and will dry out the leather, which leads to cracking. It can also discolor the leather and cause permanent damage.What happens if you wash leather? ›
Throughout time, stiff leather goods tend to break down to a softer and more comfortable wear but machine washing leather helps to expedite that process of softening the leather as well.Can I wash leather with shampoo? ›
Washing Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie
Hand wash in warm water. Use baby shampoo, mild soap or fabric softener. DO NOT use laundry detergent. You can also use an alcohol free baby wipe.
It can strip the leather of this and of its pigment. The stitching can also be harmed, stain, dry and snap, and/or start to rip, shrink and tear through the leather. (i.e. Pine Sol or Mr. Clean can be very very bad).Can you clean leather with just water? ›
Because water is chemical-free and pH-appropriate for all varieties of leather, it may be used to clean it. To remove stains, dirt, and debris from the surface of the leather, moisten a piece of microfiber with water and wipe it over the surface.Is rubbing alcohol good for cleaning leather? ›
The main thing to remember when you are cleaning leather seats is to not use an alcohol-based cleaning solution. Disposable cleaning supplies and wipes usually contain alcohol which will dry out and damage leather seats. A lot of other cleaners, like nail polish remover or acetone, with also damage your leather seats.Can pledge be used on leather? ›
Pledge® Furniture Spray improves the appearance of most hard surfaces by removing dust and fingerprints and providing a protective, glossy coating without leaving a waxy buildup. It provides a fast, easy shine on multiple surfaces, including wood, leather, granite, stainless steel, laminate and quartz*.Does hand sanitizer clean leather? ›
Sadly, hand sanitisers contain alcohol which can damage your luxury leather goods. The alcohol removes the colour and causes damage to the finish on leather and coated canvas.
Leave the vegetable and olive oils in the kitchen. They shouldn't be used on leather tack, as they can cause it to degrade over time. “If you get a spot on the saddle seat, blot it immediately and do not let the spot soak into the leather,” Wenske advises.Can you soak leather in olive oil? ›
Olive oil, and every oily substance for that matter, will not “nourish” your leather, but actually accelerate its deterioration. Leather is extremely permeable, and will soak up any oils you put on it. When oil first saturates leather, it seeps to the back—to the part you can't see.What should you not use Murphy's Oil Soap on? ›
You should absolutely NOT use Murphy's Oil Soap to clean your wood floors! Here's why: The simple answer is that Murphy's Oil Soap doesn't do what people think it does. It is marketed as a wood floor cleaning product that has the ability to both clean and shine your floors.What is an alternative to saddle soap? ›
Saddle soap is great for cleaning leather, but it doesn't do as well at conditioning your boots. Mink oil does a much better job at conditioning the leather because it also leaves behind protective waxes that will keep your boots looking shiny and new.Can you clean a leather saddle with dish soap? ›
Dawn dishwashing soap is good for cleaning horse tack and leather saddles. It's mild enough not to harm the leather but strong enough to remove dirt and oil. After washing with Dawn, be sure to use a conditioner on your leather tack.Is saddle soap necessary? ›
Applying it on a regular basis will prevent them from drying and cracking. It also allows the leather to stay soft and supple. Using saddle soap for footwear on a regular basis will help protect them for years.Can you use Vaseline to clean leather? ›
Make leather jackets look new again
You don't need fancy leather moisturizer to take care of your favourite leather jacket. Petroleum jelly does the job just as well. Apply, rub it in, wipe off the excess, and you're ready to go.
Baking soda is a magical powder that not only lifts off all kinds of stains but also absorbs moisture and oils, which makes it perfect for cleaning porous surfaces like leather.What should you not use on leather? ›
Never use ammonia or bleach-based products, as they're too harsh and can damage leather's natural finish. Water should also be used very sparingly when cleaning, because too much liquid can cause stains of its own. Be sure to use only damp (rather than fully saturated or dripping) cleaning cloths.Does water and soap damage leather? ›
Many people will simply use a regular soap or detergent to tackle the stains, but this is not a good idea – soap residue left on the leather can prevent the material from breathing, causing dry patches and cracking.
Step 1: Scrub Shoes with Cleaning Solution
For the best way to clean leather shoes, mix a few drops of liquid dish soap into a cup of warm water. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush into the mixture and gently scrub the shoes.
Quite possibly the safest way to wash your leather clothes is by using a solution of soap and water. Handwashing with this solution should even help with difficult stains, and it won't damage the leather. Make sure you are using mild baby soap or a fabric softener, instead of regular soap or laundry detergent.Is Vaseline good for leather? ›
You don't need fancy leather moisturizer to take care of your favourite leather jacket. Petroleum jelly does the job just as well. Apply, rub it in, wipe off the excess, and you're ready to go.Is olive oil good for leather? ›
Using olive oil on leather can restore colour and repair small scratches. This works on shoes, couches, chairs and other items. The process is the same as with wooden furniture, but just use straight olive oil – no lemon needed! Pour some oil onto a cloth and rub into the leather in a circular motion.Can you use Windex on leather? ›
Do not use petroleum-based cleaning products to clean leather as they can erode the stitching on the leather piece. Harsh cleaners (such as Windex or bleach), furniture polish (such as Pledge), alkaline cleaners, baby wipes, waxes, and silicone may also damage leather, leaving it feeling sticky.What happens if you get leather wet? ›
So what happens to leather when it gets wet? The oils in the skin bind to the water molecules, so as the water dries and evaporates, it starts drawing the oils out. It's this shedding of natural oils that causes the leather to lose its supple quality and become stiff and brittle.How do you clean genuine leather? ›
Create a mixture of soapy water and use a soft, clean sponge to gently wash away dirt, dust, and debris. Pay special attention to the collars and cuffs. Use gentle circular motions to wash away the dirt – avoid rubbing or soaking the areas as this can damage the leather.Can you use Clorox wipes on leather? ›
If you have leather car seats, the answer to whether you can use Clorox wipes on leather is a resounding NO. It can damage your leather's finish. The chemicals used in many disinfectant wipes remove the natural layer of protection on your seats and will dry out the leather, which leads to cracking.What soap is best for leather shoes? ›
Saddle soap is the go-to product for cleaning leather. But people get a bit nervous about using saddle soap on their nice leather boots, especially if it's a pair of boots that you really, really like.What soap can I use on leather shoes? ›
Mix a solution of warm water and dish soap, dip a soft cloth into it, wring it out and wipe the exterior surfaces of the shoe.
Vigorously brush your shoes with a horsehair brush to clean any dust, dirt, and debris; don't forget to brush the welt, the crevice where the shoe meets the sole. Then, wipe your shoes with a slightly damp cloth or use a spray bottle to apply a light mist to the shoe, and wipe that off with a dry cloth.Can you wash leather with rubbing alcohol? ›
Cleaning Leather Seats Safely
The main thing to remember when you are cleaning leather seats is to not use an alcohol-based cleaning solution. Disposable cleaning supplies and wipes usually contain alcohol which will dry out and damage leather seats.