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Spring Cleaning: An Easy Way To Remove Ink Stains On Leather

04/23/2012 08:32 am ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

While ink blotches on machine-washable fabrics can be easy enough to clean, ink stains on your leather purse or couch may require more careful action. Here's what you'll need to know about getting ink stains cleaned from your leather goods.

First, figure out what type of leather you have. Finished leather, which is commonly used in most home furnishings and accessories, contains a top layer or coating that helps protect the leather from moisture. More expensive leather, also known as naked, or pure leather, has no protective coating and contains a chemical called aniline, which makes the leather soft but also very absorbent. This means that stains like ink will seep into naked leather quicker and deeper. To determine the difference, simply drip a drop of water on an inconspicuous area of the leather. If you the water trickles off, you're dealing with finished leather. And, if the water gets soaked up, you'll know you're dealing with naked leather.

For an ink stain on finished leather, simply apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and gently rub out the stain. A good rule of thumb is to test the rubbing alcohol out on a less noticeable spot on the leather before cleaning. Just apply a drop and wait 15 minutes to make sure the solution doesn't damage your piece.

On the other hand, if you have an ink stain on naked leather you should leave it to professional cleaners to handle it, since the stain will most likely have gone deep into the material.

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