How to Remove Paint Scuff Marks From Leather

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Test cleaning methods in a discreet area so you don't damage your leather.
Test cleaning methods in a discreet area so you don't damage your leather. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Skimming a leather sofa against a wall while moving it or brushing your purse along a painted railing can sometimes leave behind paint scuff marks. These marks may easily come off, or it may take a couple cleaning methods to remove them effectively. Before you do anything, though, test the cleaning method and cleaners or solvents you plan to use in an inconspicuous area of the leather. It may damage your leather or alter the color or finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Dish soap
  • Rag
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner
  • Dry cleaning solvent, paint thinner or fingernail polish remover

Scrape away the paint scuff mark, which may be all it takes to remove it. Do it gently though so you don't scratch the leather. Your fingernail should suffice for this job, but the dull side of a knife will also work. If the paint mark remains, proceed to the next step.

Remove the rest of the paint mark with soap suds. Make the suds by stirring or swishing around water and mild dish detergent. Gently apply the suds to the stain a wipe the area gently with a dry rag. Repeat, if necessary, but don't saturate the leather in the process.

Clean and condition your leather to remove the last little bit of paint. Use a cleaner and conditioner specially made for leather, following manufacturer directions.

Remove the paint stain by gently rubbing the area with a rag moistened with dry cleaning solvent, paint thinner or fingernail polish. Do so just enough to remove the paint. This should be a last resort since the chemicals are more likely to damage the leather than the soap suds and leather cleaners.

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