What Household Items Can I Use to Clean the Leather in My Car?

Are you looking to save up on upkeep costs of your car’s leather interior? Look no further beyond your home—literally! There are plenty of household products you can use, and all you need to do is look. So, the burning question is, what household items can I use to clean the leather in my car?

From talcum powder to white vinegar, these are the popular household items you can use to clean the leather in your car. Each one leaves your seats clean, conditioned, and good as new!

Here are seven everyday products you can find at home and use to clean your car’s leather interior.

What Household Items Can I Use to Clean the Leather in My Car? 7 Everyday Products to Explore!

what household items can i use to clean the leather in my car (infographic)


Soap makes for a great leather cleaner if you don’t mind water getting everywhere. Both are excellent for sensitive materials like leather, whether hand or dish soap. They have the compounds to clean your leather and condition it simultaneously. And you only need to use a squirt or three for your entire interior!

But the downside is that dish or hand soap can only clean dust, dirt, and other debris. So, if you’re looking for a cleaner that can penetrate tough stains, see the other household items. 

If you want to clean the leather in your car fast, hand or dish soap is your go-to household product. 


White vinegar is an all-around household item that you can use for cooking and cleaning. And yes, that includes leather car interiors. But use this with caution as an improper application can dry out the sensitive material. 

You’ll often see vinegar methods mixed with other items like linseed oil or water. These neutralize or bring vinegar’s acidity down a notch, making it safer to use on leather.


Toothpaste has been a go-to household item for cleaning leather, especially for lighter variations. A dollop of toothpaste is enough to remove the toughest scuffs from the leather in your car. But you’ll need to work on this one small patch at a time for the best results. So, if you don’t mind sacrificing a few hours to clean the leather in your car, consider using toothpaste!


If you don’t want to risk stinking your car due to cleaning its leather interior with vinegar, use lemon. It works well in cleaning and promoting the longevity of the sensitive material. Aside from that, it makes the vinegary odor non-existent in your vehicle. But like vinegar, use lemon with caution as improper use can hurt your car’s delicate leather. 

I recommend using lemon to treat fresh stains on your car’s leather interior for fast and safe removal.

Baking Soda

Like vinegar, baking soda has become a popular all-around cleaner, including leather! It can lift different stains while absorbing excess moisture and oil. Because of this, it should have no issue cleaning porous surfaces such as leather. And the best part is that you don’t have to apply a ton of it. Sprinkle some on the stains, and you’re good to go!

Baby/Talcum Powder

Leather has a naturally porous surface, allowing it to soak up stains like how a sponge absorbs water. As a result, tough stains formed from oil and grease are next to impossible to remove. Luckily, household items like baby or talcum powder do wonders in absorbing them. It can pull the stain out of the leather surface, letting you clean it off safely.

It only requires a little sprinkling on the affected areas, similar to the baking powder. 

Olive Oil

Olive oil is the last household item that we’d all least expect. After all, as I mentioned earlier, leather is notorious for absorbing oil and grease! But olive oil does the opposite and helps clean the sensitive material instead. Aside from that, it can also restore and repair minor scratches on the leather. 

How to Clean the Leather in My Car with Household Items?

Now that you know what household items to use to clean the leather in your car, it’s time to learn how to do them! Here are the different ways to clean the leather in your car with everyday household products:

✔️ Use Dish or Hand Soap and Water to Clean Your Car’s Leather Upholstery and Seats Faster. 

foamy water

The classic combination of ordinary water and mild hand or dish soap is one of the best ways to clean car leather. It’s safe yet potent enough to get through dust, dirt, and other debris. Here’s how you can put this household item into action: 

  1. Combine water and soap. Mix warm water with the soap of your choice in a small container. Add five parts of ordinary water to one part of the dish or hand soap. 
  2. Grab your microfiber cloth. Soak the fabric with the soap mixture, and make sure it gets a lot of the solution! 
  3. Start wiping. Scrub down your car’s leather interior surfaces with the damp microfiber cloth. Continue doing this until they visibly look cleaner. 
  4. Dry it off. Using a dry, clean towel, dry off the leather surface. Repeat until your car’s interior is 100% dry. 

When soaking your microfiber cloth, squeeze it before wiping. As a result, you can avoid saturating the leather and prevent water from seeping into its seams and cushions. Excess water may also stain your leather, so don’t overdo it!

✔️ Combine Household Items Vinegar and Olive Oil to Clean the Leather in Your Car In-Depth. 

two brown spray bottles on brown table  - what household items can i use to clean the leather in my car

Combining vinegar and olive oil is among the best home remedies for cleaning leather in the car. 

Vinegar is a natural solvent, boasting incredible cleaning quality. As a result, it can reach the deepest pores of the leather, removing substances like dirt and oil. Aside from that, this kitchen essential can also disinfect leather without damaging it. The only issue is the pungent odor of the item. 

Although vinegar can be a deodorizer, the smell can be hard to handle during application. But over time, the odor will dwindle, leaving a pleasant and natural-smelling leather. 

Meanwhile, the addition of olive oil helps condition the leather in your car. Besides that, olive oil can also break down tough stains, giving you the best outcome possible! Plus, it neutralizes the acidic effects of vinegar, preventing further damage. 

Here’s how to apply the vinegar and olive oil method when cleaning the leather in your car: 

  1. Create the solution. Mix half a cup of distilled white vinegar and a quarter of virgin olive oil into a spray bottle. Then shake it. 
  2. Start cleaning. Spray the solution into a clean microfiber cloth and begin wiping the leather in your car. Spray the solution into a clean microfiber cloth and start wiping the leather in your vehicle. Allow the vinegar and olive oil mixture to sit on the leather surface for at least 10 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Dry it off. Grab a clean, dry towel and buff your car’s leather surfaces. It gives a natural shine, making your interior look better than ever!

I recommend using pure, distilled white vinegar. After all, it remains gentle yet potent. You can use it to remove the toughest stains in your car’s leather interior. Just make sure not to overdo the application as it can dry out the sensitive material. 

✔️ Soak a Microfiber Cloth with Clean Water to Remove Noticeable Stains in the Leather in Your Car. 

man cleaning car interior with cloth

The classic blotting method is a technique all owners of anything leather embrace. It’s simple yet efficient, only involving a microfiber cloth soaked in water. But despite that, many people still overlook it. 

This method is your best shot if you’re looking for a quick fix to the stained leather car interior. And it especially excels in removing fresh liquid stains, such as water, soda, or smoothies. But this particular technique has a lot to do with the right timing. 

Here’s how to practice the blotting method on your car’s leather interior:

  1. Start it dry. Blot some of the liquid stain using a dry microfiber cloth. This lets you remove as much of the stain’s moisture as possible. 
  2. Wet another microfiber cloth. Soak the fabric with clean, warm water and start dabbing on the stained areas. 
  3. Dry it off. Blot the previously stained spots with another dry, microfiber cloth. Once you got all of them, leave your car’s leather surface to air dry.

Remember, the blotting method works best for fresh stains! So, if you’re keen on maintaining the upkeep of your car’s leather interior, always bring a microfiber cloth and a bottle of water with you. This way, you can take care of fresh stains as soon as they appear.

✔️ Use Baking Soda to Remove Tough Grease and Oil Stains in your Car’s Leather. 

Free Powder Flour on White Ceramic Bowl Stock Photo

Whether a quick snack or dinner during a road trip, oil and grease are bound to invade your delicate leather. These are common in car interiors as most people like eating in their vehicles. Using baking soda is your best option when dealing with tough oil and grease stains on leather. 

Baking soda has strong absorbing properties that make it easy to rid of grease and oil in leather. The only downside with this household item is that it can make the material sticky. As a result, it adds another step of cleaning after the mess. 

Still, the baking soda method is worth trying as it’s one of the few efficient and safe ways to clean tough stains on car leather.

Here’s how you can clean the leather in your car with baking soda: 

  1. Sprinkle a bit of the kitchen essential to stained areas. Add a pinch of baking soda over the grease or oil stains. Ensure you’re covering the whole stain. 
  2. Leave the baking soda. Allow the powder to absorb the stains for a few hours or overnight for tough grease and oil stains. 
  3. Wipe off the powder. After the allotted time, dust off the remaining baking soda with a brush or clean cloth.
  4. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Thoroughly clean the previously stained areas with a damp, clean rag. 
  5. Dry it off. Finish it off by drying the leather surface with another clean, dry cloth. 

✔️ Mix Household Items Cream of Tartar and Lemon to Clean Your Car’s Leather Interior. 

person holding lemon

Another excellent household item combo for removing tough stains on the car leather interior is cream of tartar and lemon juice. It’s a potent mix ideal for dark-colored leather and must be used with caution on lighter variations.

Cream of tartar works wonders on leather thanks to its origin as a byproduct of winemaking. It’s the substance that forms inside wine barrels during fermentation. Aside from that, it serves as a preservative while controlling pH levels simultaneously! 

As a result, you get the purest version of the chalky white powder known as cream of tartar. And it has excellent cleaning properties, perfect on leather. 

We all know about the cleaning properties of lemon juice. Even if it has high citric acid content, it remains mild enough clean leather without damaging it. Plus, lemon juice has relatively low pH levels, ideal for leather. 

Here’s how you can clean the leather in your car with the cream of tartar and lemon juice combo:

  1. Mix 1:1 cream of tartar and lemon juice. Mix equal parts of the two ingredients into a bowl. Continue until you get a paste consistency. 
  2. Apply the mixture to the stained areas. Smear a dollop of the mixture into the affected areas and leave it to sit out for at least 5 minutes. 
  3. Wipe off and dry. After the allotted time, grab a soaked rag and scrub off the remaining paste. Once there’s no paste left, wipe it with a dry, clean towel. 

Remember that we’re combining two strong household items for this technique. And though they’re excellent cleaning substances, they have high pH levels that might damage light-colored leather. So, refrain from doing this on white, cream, or other lighter leather variations. 

✔️ Create a Vinegar and Water Solution to Clean the Toughest Stains in your Car’s Leather. 

Clear Glass Bottles on Stainless Steel Rack

If you don’t have olive oil, don’t worry, as you can still use vinegar solely to clean your car’s leather upholstery.

But be warned, this might stink up your ride—literally! Luckily, there are many ways to get rid of smells from the leather in your car. As a result, you don’t have to dwell for too long and start getting rid of the stains!

Here’s how you can clean the toughest stains off your car’s leather interior: 

  1. Vacuum your car’s interior. Remove all the debris in your car’s leather interior with a portable vacuum cleaner. It prevents small grains from scratching your leather seats and upholstery. 
  2. Make the vinegar solution. Add three pure, distilled white vinegar parts to one part of distilled, warm water on a spray bottle. 
  3. Start scrubbing the stained areas. Apply the vinegar solution to a microfiber cloth and begin cleaning the soiled spots. Repeat until the stains in the leather of your car disappear.
  4. Dry it off. Scrub off the previously stained areas with a dry, clean towel. 

✔️ Use Toothpaste to Clean Your Car’s Leather Interior Safely.

Toothpaste on Toothbrush - What Household Items Can I Use to Clean the Leather in My Car?

Toothpaste is a well-known household item excellent for cleaning leather. It can remove the most stubborn dirt, scuffs, and overall stains on the sensitive material. But that shouldn’t be a surprise as toothpaste is generally made from baking soda. And we all know how handy baking soda is in cleaning leather!

This dental care necessity has the same abrasive action as baking soda, helping you remove the toughest stains on leather with ease.

But the downside to using toothpaste to clean leather is that you need to work in small portions. Doing it this way helps you remove the stains more thoroughly. 

Aside from that, using too much simultaneously may damage your leather, so it’s best to take it slow with this technique. So, unless you’re in a hurry, using toothpaste is one of the best ways to clean the leather in your car. 

Here’s what you need to do to clean your leather upholstery and car seats with toothpaste: 

  1. Apply small dollops of the toothpaste to stained areas. Dab your toothpaste on soiled spots and leave it on for at least 5 minutes. 
  2. Scrub it off. Grab a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub off the stains. Repeat until there are no visible stains on the leather left. 
  3. Wipe it off. Grab a clean, dry rag and wipe off the toothpaste residue. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What household items can I use to clean the leather in my car interior?

A: The best household product you can use to clean your car interior’s leather seats and other parts is vinegar. It removes the tiniest speck of dust from the leather’s natural fibers, making it look good as new. Aside from that, you can also use toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, etc.

Q: Is it safe to use vinegar for cleaning leather car seats?

A: Using white vinegar works wonders on anything leather, but you need to apply it carefully. If incorrectly applied, it can dry out the material and leave a foul smell in your car. That’s why it’s best to create a mild solution made of 2 parts of linseed oil to one part white vinegar.  

Q: Is it possible to clean leather car seats using hand soap and water?

A: Cleaning leather car seats with hand soap and water is one of the safest ways to clean the material. It’s mild and does the job well, protecting your leather interior. But I recommend cleaning the leather in your car during a sunny day for faster and thorough drying.

Q: Can vinegar damage the leather in my car?

A: Since vinegar is a potent cleaning agent, it might dry out leather items when misused. Leather needs moisture to maintain its flexibility and overall look, so you can see why vinegar can be harmful. Although it can help clean the leather in your car more thoroughly, it can be risky. 

Q: Is it safe to use Clorox wipes on my car’s leather interior?

A: Clorox doesn’t work well on leather material. Plus, since it contains bleach, it might damage your interior over time. So, as tempting as it is to grab your Clorox wipes to clean your leather, don’t. There are better home products you can use that are more efficient and safe.

Final Words

What household items can I use to clean the leather in my car? You can use everyday products like baking soda or toothpaste to keep your leather clean. Leather upkeep doesn’t need to be expensive. And thanks to these home remedies, you can now save while keeping the leather in your car in optimal condition.

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