How to Clean Black Leather

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Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth

  • Water

  • Shea butter based leather conditioner

  • Glycerin based saddle soap

  • Water repellent for leather

Dust is readily apparent on black leather, so regularly cleaning is a must.

Leather yields from the hides and skins of animals, such as the cow, deer, pig and goat, through a process that is centuries old. An intricate process known as tanning produces sheets of leather in various thicknesses, later dyed to the desired color--including black. Whether it is a couch, pair of shoes, briefcase, jacket or your motorcycle bags and seat, black leather requires proper care. Cleaning, conditioning and protecting are all a part of the maintenance process.


Step 1

Dust the black leather regularly with a soft cloth. Dust is readily apparent on black leather, making it look dull and lifeless. Removing dust on a regular basis will help to keep the black leather free of buildup.

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Step 2

Spot clean leather using a soft cloth dampened with water. Rub the damp cloth over the soiled area in a circular motion to remove dirt. Apply a drop of dish soap to the damp cloth for tougher stains.


Step 3

Clean large areas of black leather using a saddle soap. Apply the saddle soap with a soft cloth, as directed on the label instructions. Spray glycerin based saddle soaps directly onto black leather, buffing away with a soft cloth for a clean shine.

Step 4

Condition the black leather using a shea butter based conditioner. Apply the shea butter conditioner using a soft cloth. Rub the shea butter conditioner into the black leather in circular motions. Conditioning once a year is usually sufficient; condition twice a year for black leather exposed to the elements.


Step 5

Spray your black leather with a water repellent product designed specifically for leather. Apply the water repellent per label instructions. Spills will pool on top of the leather and you can just wipe them away.


If your black leather begins to look and feel dry, it is time to condition it.

Like all leathers, keep black leather out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause the leather to discolor, crack and dry out.


Do not use mink oil to condition black leather. Leather needs to breathe and mink oil can interfere with this process by clogging the pores in the leather. Shea butter can condition the leather and still allow it to breathe.

Do not put black leather products in your washer or dryer. Extremely soiled leather may require professional cleaning.


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