How to Remove Rust Stains from Leather


Rust creates a reddish brown stain that can cause discoloration if left to sit on your leather goods. Leather is a porous material, and stains, sweat and dirt get into the pores of the leather. Rust stains can be removed from leather, and the sooner you remove them the better. Use supplies from home and your local store to restore your leather to its pre-stained condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • White vinegar
  • Table salt
  • Saddle soap
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Pour white vinegar onto a clean sponge. Wipe the rust stain with the sponge, leaving the surface a bit wet.

  • Shake table salt onto the vinegar on the leather. Use your sponge to rub the salt and vinegar into the rust stain.

  • Rinse the sponge under cool water; then wipe the vinegar and salt off of the leather.

  • Wet saddle soap with a dampened cleaning cloth and wash the area of leather that was stained with rust. The saddle soap will remove any traces of salt and vinegar, as well as the last remnants of rust.

  • Rinse your cleaning cloth in a bucket of water and wipe away the saddle soap. Use a dry cleaning cloth to dry the area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wipe away rust stains as soon as you notice them so the rust can't get into the pores of the leather.
  • Avoid using bleach on leather as it will remove the finish and dye from the leather.

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  • Photo Credit leather shoes image by Steve Lovegrove from sponge for cleaning image by Serghei Velusceac from salt and pepper image by Rog999 from soap container image by timur1970 from
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