How to Clean Verdigris Stains on Leather From Brass

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Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Small bowl

  • Old toothbrush

  • Cotton terrycloths

  • Water

  • Leather balm

Tarnished brass can leave green stains on leather.

Leather items trimmed with brass hardware have a classic look about them. If you've inherited or purchased an older leather item, you may have found green stuff where the brass is in contact with the leather. This green stuff is a chemical called verdigris that develops from moisture on the metal that comes in contact with the leather. Verdigris stains can be stubborn but are removable with a little gentle persistence. Using supplies from home, you can remove verdigris stains from leather without damaging the material.


Step 1

Baking soda and vinegar together cause a chemical reaction which causes the solution to foam.

Combine baking soda and white vinegar in a small bowl to create a paste the consistency of ketchup. The mixture will foam for a bit. This combination of ingredients creates a mild acetic acid that helps to safely remove the verdigris from the leather.

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Step 2

Apply the paste with an old toothbrush. Scrub gently, working the paste into the leather's pores. Allow the baking soda and vinegar paste to sit on the verdigris stain for about five minutes.

Step 3

Wipe the cleaning paste and verdigris stains away with a clean terrycloth dampened with plain water. Repeat step 2 if any verdigris remains.


Step 4

Terrycloth towels are very absorbent.

Dry the leather with a clean cotton terrycloth, removing all surface traces of liquid.

Step 5

Rub leather balm into the leather where you treated the verdigris stain to help condition the area now that it's clean.


Polish brass at least once a year to prevent it from tarnishing and to keep verdigris from developing.


Use equal parts of lemon juice and salt to tackle verdigris stains. Scrub mildly, and wipe the lemon juice off right away, rather than allow it to sit so that it doesn't bleach the leather.


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