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Spilling paint on any surface can invoke instant anxiety and leave you wondering if it will come out? I know I’ve instantly thought, ‘well, that’s ruined’ when I’ve accidentally spilled paint on clothes, shoes, carpets, and counters. But what happens when it spills on your precious leather surface? 

Leather is a sturdy natural material that can last a lifetime with proper care, and you likely don’t want to lose it to some paint splotches. Don’t you worry, cleaning the paint off your leather surface is much easier than you might think.

We have the techniques to help you clean up that paint, wet or dry, from your leather surface by damaging it and leaving it as good as new!

How to clean wet paint using dish soap

You can clean leather using mild dish soap and a little warm water. All you’ll need is the following:

Using dish soap to clean up wet paint is best used for water-based paints.

To clean up the wet paint from your leather surface:

  1. Use the paper towels and gently dab the spill to soak up as much of the paint without rubbing it in. Keep folding the paper towel to use a clean side continuously. 
  2. Mix warm water and the dish soap in a small bucket. Avoid any extra strength detergents and soaps. These may strip the leather of its colors.
  3. Use the brush and dip in the water, and shake off any excess. Begin scrubbing the wet paint spot. Be very gentle and patient. If you use too much force, you could damage the leather.
  4. After a few sweeps, wipe the area with a clean cloth to wipe away the water. If necessary, dip the brush and repeat the process until the stain is gone. 
  5. Once the stain is gone, use a microfiber towel to dry up any excess water. Water can damage leather if it is left damp. The microfiber towel is extra absorbent, but you can use a sponge to dry the spot as well. Get as much of the water as you can. 

How to clean wet paint using olive oil

Cleaning up wet paint from your leather surface using olive oil is excellent for those oil-based paints. All you’ll need is:

  • Paper Towel
  • Olive Oil
  • Dry Clean Cloth

To clean up wet paint using olive oil:

  1. First, use a paper towel to gently dab the paint to absorb as much of the wet paint as you can, folding the paper towel to dab with a clean side periodically. 
  2. Next, using a tiny amount of olive oil, pour a little directly onto the paint on the leather. You can use a cloth to apply the oil if the paint is in a hard-to-reach spot. 
  3. Rub the olive oil in using your hands or a cloth. Let the olive oil sit for a few minutes to break up the paint. 
  4. Wipe the leather surface clean using a dry towel. Be sure to remove any excess oil to prevent streaking.

Removing dried paint from leather

We know it isn’t always possible but do your best to clean the paint while it’s still wet. Dried paint is tougher to remove safely, but it is doable! You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter knife
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Clean cloth

To get that stubborn dry paint off your leather surface, follow these steps:

  1. Soak the dry paint using olive oil to loosen and soften the paint. 
  2. Scrap as much of the paint away as possible using a sharp object. Use a dull knife like a butter knife or use cotton swabs if you want to avoid scratching your leather. 
  3. Use a toothbrush to scrub up the remaining bits of paint. 
  4. Wipe any excess paint with a clean cloth and repeat if the paint is still stuck to the leather surface. Repeat until no further traces of the paint remains.
  5. Wipe the leather surface with a clean cloth and make sure the surface is completely dry.

Other ways to clean leather

If all methods fail, you can try using non-acetone nail polish remover. These solutions are effective in removing many kinds of paint. For an extra tough paint stain, try using rubbing alcohol. 

Be sure to always test the surface with your cleaner of choice in a hidden spot before addressing the paint issue.

For these two chemicals, you will need:

To clean those hard-to-get paint stains:

  1. First, use a paper towel to gently dab the paint to absorb as much of the wet paint as you can, folding the paper towel to dab with a clean side periodically.
  2. Wet the damp cloth with rubbing alcohol or the nail polish remover and apply the solution to the leather. Gently rub into the paint. 
  3. Once the paint is gone, wipe the surface with the microfiber towel absorbing as much moisture as possible to avoid water damage. 
  4. Nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol are harsher chemicals, and you should use leather condition if you use this method to clean your leather surfaces.

There are some preventative measures you can take whenever you are painting near your leather surfaces. 

  • Place drop cloths around any surfaces you do not want to get paint on. 
  • Try painting a room away from your leather, or put away any leather material while you paint.

After removing paint spills and splatters from your leather

There are many ways to get paint off leather. After you’ve cleaned your leather surface, treat your leather with a leather conditioner to keep it in pristine shape and help it last through many accidents to come. 

If you loved learning how to clean paint off your leather, you’d love learning how to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood.