How To Remove Grease From Leather Car Seats – Step by Step

Leather car seats give a luxuriant feel and look to a vehicle. They’re easy to clean, resistant to stains and smell, and respond better to seat-warmers. However, these seats need some special care and attention to keep them looking good. While you own these expensive items, it’s best you know how to remove grease from leather car seats.

It’s hardly possible to avoid getting grease in your car. You track it on your shoes, clothes, hands, or unintentionally spill greasy foods on the seats. If responded to immediately, you can reduce the effects caused on the leather seats with several homemade solutions as you will see below.

What Are The Things Needed To Remove Grease From Leather Car Seats?

  1. Talcum powder – Talcum powder contains talc, a mineral mainly made of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It’s recommendable for clearing stains because it absorbs and pulls grease from the leather surface.
  2. Microfiber cloth – Microfiber cloth is made from synthetic materials which are highly absorbent, soft, and easily washable.
  3. Leather Cleaner – When selecting the cleaner, avoid the ones with sticky agents like wax or the ones known to leave residue after cleaning. Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey is the best cleaner for leather car seats by overall ratings. Consult the tags to avoid cleaners with ingredients that make leather crack like silicon.
  4. Brush – Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging the leather.
  5. Vinegar – contains Acetic acid, a colorless organic compound that makes it a mentionable cleaner and disinfectant.
  6. Water – comes in handy for all cleaning purposes and is mixed with vinegar to make a cleaning solution.
  7. Cotton balls – used while dubbing solution to the grease stains.
  8. Toothpaste – is used as one of the methods to remove grease stains.
  9. Toothbrush – used while applying toothpaste to the grease stains on the leather seat.
  10. Baking soda – used to absorb grease and oils from leather stains.

How To Remove Grease From Leather Car Seats?

If you’re set with all the above materials, the next thing is to get straight to the task. Below are the various methods you can employ to get rid of grease that spills onto your leather car seats.

Method 1 – Using Talcum Powder

This is an effective method to get grease out of leather. It is best for fresh grease stains and should be executed fast before it dries up.

You will need:

  • Talcum powder
  • Microfiber cloth

Step 1. Use Cloth to Dab

Use the microfiber cloth to dab the stain gently and refrain from scrubbing to avoid discoloration. Leather absorbs grease quickly, so the longer it stays, the harder it will get to clean it. Clean from outside towards the center to shrink the affected area and discourage further spreading.

Step 2. Use Powder

Sprinkle enough talcum powder on the affected area and leave it for a while to settle down and absorb the grease. Talcum powder is convenient and works well because it has better absorbance than leather. Leave it for at least two hours to absorb grease from tight spots on the leather seat.

Step 3. Wipe

Use a cloth and gently remove the powder from the affected area. If you can identify the texture orientation on the leather seat, wipe along it to avoid residue of the mixture from remaining.

Related Post: How To Fix Stretched Leather Seats | Simple Ways

Method 2 – Using Vinegar and Water

This is an effective DIY method for grease stains that are both fresh and old. Although it smells, vinegar and water solution clean leather pretty good. The smell, however, vanishes after drying and takes other foul smells with it.

You will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Cotton ball
  • Cloth

Step 1. Mix

Add equal amounts of both vinegar and water to a bowl and mix. They should be equivalent although some people suggest more vinegar. Too much vinegar is known to dry leather which results in leather cracking.

Step 2. Apply solution

Use cotton balls to apply this solution to the stain on the leather seat. Rub gently in a circular motion to lift the dust off the natural fiber. Leave this solution for about three minutes before drying.

Step 3. Dry the solution

Wipe the solution gently using the cloth to dry the moisture. You can apply conditioner to restore the natural sheen to the seats after drying. The conditioner also helps by preventing drying caused by this method.

Method 3 – Using Toothpaste

This method is most effective on little grease stains that haven’t stayed for long. The cleaning and polishing qualities of toothpaste make it a great stain remover for leather seats. Be sure to use non-gel toothpaste which is known to be bad on leather.

You will need:

  • Toothpaste
  • Dump cloth
  • Soft toothbrush

Step 1. Wet the stain

Use the damp cloth to dampen the stained area and use less water to avoid spreading and discolorations. Dub gently and avoid rubbing so as not to damage the leather.

Step 2. Apply toothpaste

Dab a bit of the non-gel toothpaste on the stain and scrub gently with the toothbrush. Scrub along the leather texture for best results while limiting damage to the seat. Leave the solution for some time for the abrasives in the toothpaste to work.

Step 3. Dry the toothpaste

After a few minutes, use a dry cloth or paper towel to dry the moisture.

Method 4 – Using Baking Soda

This is another effective method to remove stains from leather seats. It includes baking soda, a mild alkali that causes dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water for effective removal. It is convenient for removing stubborn grease stains and clearing foul smells from the car seats.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • A lean cloth

Step 1. Sprinkling baking soda

Sprinkle baking soda on the grease stain and let it settle for a while. In cases where the grease was still wet, rub baking soda gently and then leave it to absorb for about 12 hours. The time will be determined by the size or the effect the stain had on the seat.

Step 2. Wipe the baking soda

Use the cloth to wipe off baking soda paste from the leather seat. It’s best practice to apply conditioner after using this method because baking soda dries the leather and can cause your leather seat to crack.

Method 5 – Using Leather cleaners/Degreasers

This method is the most effective for removing oil and grease stains from the leather seats. Some DIY mixes are sometimes risky and can damage the integrity of your leather car seats. If you don’t trust DIY methods, you can consider this method and use trusted and tested cleaners and degreasers.

You will need:

  •  Leather cleaner/degreaser.
  • Brush
  •  Cloth

Step 1. Vacuum

Vacuum the seats before applying the cleaners to get rid of loose dust. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a cloth to clean.

Step 2. Apply Leather Cleaners/degreaser

Apply the cleaner to the cloth and wipe gently on the grease stains. For spray types, sprinkle the degreaser on a cloth before using it on the stain. Use the brush to rub along the direction of the leather texture to reduce damage during cleaning.

Step 3. Drying

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the moisture off the leather seats, especially on the edges, and leave the excess to dry off by the sun. Some cleaners already have conditioners, but if the one you’re using doesn’t, apply one after drying the seats.

Related Post: How To Remove Sticky Residue From Leather Car Seat : A Step-By-Step Guide

How Long Does It Take To Remove Grease From Leather Car Seats?

The amount of time it takes to remove grease from leather car seats depends on various factors. Those factors include the method used, the number of stains, and how long they have been on the leather seats. However, it can take up to 12 hours to clean and ten minutes for the easier ones.

Cost Of Cleaning Grease From Leather Car Seats

According to CarsDirect, leather upholstery cleaning averages around $50. For other interior services, the price is between $75 to $150. Wash the leather seats every three months to preserve, protect, and keep them smelling great.

What Are The Dos And Don’ts While Cleaning Grease From Leather Car Seats?

There are several Dos and Don’ts while cleaning grease from leather car seats. Below are some of them.


  1. Always check the label before buying a cleaner, especially for white leather car seats.
  2. Vacuum thoroughly to ensure loose particles won’t scratch the seats while cleaning.
  3. Rub gently and in small sections to avoid discoloration.
  4. Use a microfiber cloth because they are soft, highly absorbent, and less scratchy.
  5. Clean regularly to wash the grease while it’s yet to sink into the fibers.
  6. Always apply a conditioner after cleaning to maintain the moisture of the seat and avoid cracking.


  1. Don’t use gel-based toothpaste for cleaning because gel-based ones are corrosive to leather.
  2. Don’t spray directly on leather seats, especially if you don’t trust the cleaner.
  3. Just like with degreaser for car paint, always know when to dilute the solution to reduce its potency.
  4. Don’t use a hard-bristled brush because it can damage the leather.
  5. Don’t use conditioners that contain petroleum and wax because they are sticky and attract dust.
  6. Don’t go for cheap cleaners when it comes to leather. Use trusted and tested products that are suitable for your seat.

Final Thoughts

Removing grease from leather car seats is not always a complicated task. With the correct cleaning agents and the knowledge on how to remove grease from leather car seats. You can sort the issues of leather cleaning more comfortably. Be sure to follow the steps when cleaning, use the proper materials, and apply the conditioner after drying.

There are multiple cleaning companies with professionals who can handle the grease issue smoothly. If you find it hard or don’t have time to follow the steps for removing grease from leather seats, take your car to them regularly. They will clean it and maintain its original look.

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