How to Use Vegetable Oil to Clean Leather

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Cleaning leather is not as difficult as it may seem. Whether you have a pair of leather shoes, leather car seats, or leather furniture, by using some basic steps and common household products, you can clean and condition just about any kind of leather item. Suede is a type of leather, and for the purpose of this article, we will learn how to clean finished leather, rather than suede leather items. Cleaning suede requires different techniques, and vegetable oil should not be used to clean suede leather.

How to Use Vegetable Oil to Clean Leather
(Leigh Green/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Mild liquid hand soap
  • Water
  • Rags without colors
  • Hand scrubbers
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cleaning brushes
Step 1

Mix approximately 1/3 cup of liquid hand soap and 2/3 cup of water together for cleaning a leather pair of shoes or handbag. Make suds. If you have a larger leather item to clean, mix more soap and water as need be.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 2

Wet the rag or scrubbers with the hand soap. Wash and scrub the dirty areas of the leather item that you are cleaning. Repeat as needed to satisfaction.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 3

Air-dry the leather item that you have cleaned. This may take 24 hours or more if you have cleaned leather furniture.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 1

Apply a small amount of vegetable oil to a rag.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 2

Wipe the vegetable oil over the top of the leather items that are clean and dry, applying a thin layer of vegetable oil to the leather. Do not saturate the leather with the oil. Apply vegetable oil evenly over the surface of the entire item, making sure not to miss any areas.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 3

Let the leather item you have conditioned with vegetable oil dry.

Leigh Green/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Some leathers are designed to have a brushed finish, even if they are not suede and may soak in more soap, water, and oil than others. For cleaning leather furniture, unzip and remove the seat cushion covers before beginning the cleaning process. You may need to use a vacuum to help fit the cushions back into the leather cushion covers after the cleaning and conditioning process.
  • Both cleaning and conditioning leather could make the leather turn a darker shade.

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