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How to Remove Sticker Residue From Leather

November 8, 2023  |  
Guides/Tutorials
How to Remove Sticker Residue From Leather

At some point, you probably thought it was a good idea to decorate your leather products with small custom stickers. You enjoyed it for a while, but now, you’ve decided to remove your favorite vinyl stickers — only to be left with annoying sticky residue that won’t wipe away.

Not to worry, there are still things you can do to clean the residue and restore the integrity of your leather. We reveal the top methods for removing sticker residue from leather in this article.

What are the Top Methods of Removing Sticker Residue From Leather?

Our top three solutions for cleaning sticker residue on leather surfaces involve the use of a leather cleaner, commercial adhesive remover, or rubbing alcohol.

Leather Cleaner

  • Leather cleaner is formulated for use on leather products, whether genuine or faux. Because of this, it’s your safest route to clean off sticker residue while preventing damage to your leather wallet, bag, or furniture.

Simply add a small amount of leather cleaner to a soft cloth and use it to rub the residue in gentle circular motions. You can repeat this as necessary to fully remove the adhesive.

Commercial Adhesive Remover

  • While leather cleaner may be effective at cleaning stains off of leather products, it might not do so well with stubborn adhesive residue. For this, you can use a commercial adhesive remover instead, which is made exactly for the purpose of getting rid of sticker residue from a range of surfaces.

One of the most popular adhesive removers in the market is Goo Gone, which works well on leather items. Add a small amount of Goo Gone to a sponge or soft cloth and gently rub the affected area. When the residue comes off fully, wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any leftover traces of adhesive remover.

Take note that some adhesive removers contain abrasive ingredients that can damage leather. Before trying this method, test the product on a small hidden area to see how the leather reacts before proceeding.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • If you’re looking to remove sticker residue from your leather products with something you already have at home, you can try rubbing alcohol. Pour the alcohol onto a clean cloth or cotton swab and dab it onto the sticky residue. This should loosen up the adhesive enough to allow you to wipe the leather surface clean with a damp microfiber cloth.

Alcohol, however, is known to cause discoloration on certain types of leather. Before proceeding with this method, conduct a patch test on an inconspicuous area first.

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How to Remove Sticker Residue From Leather

Step 1: Test the Cleaner

  • The first step is testing the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous part of your leather product. This is important to make sure your chosen cleaner is safe for the type of leather you’re working with. Some products can cause irreparable damage, such as discoloration or fading.

Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution on a hidden area of your leather item. If you don’t detect any issues, then you can proceed with the next steps. But if the cleaner damages the leather, try another cleaning solution.

Step 2: Gently Wipe the Surface

  • Once you’ve confirmed that the cleaning solution is safe to use for your leather product, the next step is prepping the surface. Create a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap in a small bowl. Then dampen a soft cloth in the mixture and wipe the surface of the leather. Be careful not to scrub.

Next, rinse the cloth to remove the soap and wring out the excess water. Wipe the area again to remove the soapy residue.

Step 3: Apply the Leather Cleaner

  • Now that you’ve cleaned the area, you can start working with your leather cleaner, adhesive remover, or rubbing alcohol. Apply the cleaner to a soft microfiber cloth or sponge and gently rub the area in circular motions. This will help loosen the adhesive so you can wipe it off later.

Step 4: Wipe and Remove All Residue

  • When you notice the adhesive has lifted, use a clean damp cloth to wipe the area and remove the cleaner and adhesive residue. Wash the cloth as needed to keep it clean in between wipes so you’re not spreading the residue to other parts of your leather product.

If, after this step, you still see sticky residue, repeat steps 3 and 4 until it’s fully removed.

Step 5: Apply Leather Conditioner (Optional)

  • This step is optional but highly recommended to restore the quality and finish of your leather product. Leather conditioner will help restore the leather’s natural oils and suppleness. Apply the leather conditioner onto a soft cloth and spread the product evenly on the leather surface. Let it dry, keeping it away from direct sunlight.

Conclusion

If your leather product has sticky residue from an old sticker you decided to peel off, it’s not the end of the world. Using our top methods and step-by-step guide, you can effectively remove sticky residue from your leather products without causing damage or discoloration.

Try any one of these methods — but make sure to do a patch test first!