Can I Use Baking Soda on Leather? (Explained)

Photo of a leather jacket with a baking soda spoon on top. Can I Use Baking Soda on Leather?

Baking soda is one of the most magical powders in the world, and using it with your leather is no exception. Still trying to figure out how? Take a look!

Baking soda is a great product to use on your leather. It’s an all-natural powder that effectively absorbs oils, moisture, and scents. Since baking soda is abrasive, you’ll need to use it carefully and lightly so you don’t scratch your leather! You’ll also want to use baking soda sparingly, as it’s not a replacement for a proper leather cleaner.

Below, I’ve gone over what you should know about how to use baking soda safely and effectively with your leather and some essential pointers to help you get the best results out of it.

Does baking soda ruin leather?

Baking soda seems magical because it will be tough in its cleaning ability yet still gentle on the leather! While some leather lovers may tell you to skip baking soda and use only traditional cleaners, you don’t have to follow that advice!

It takes a bit of focused education. Baking soda is considered mildly abrasive, so you’ll have to be mindful of how to use it properly (more on that later), so you don’t damage your leather. While baking soda can leave a residue, that residue won’t ruin your leather as long as you wash it off after. Don’t worry; I’ll talk about that, too.

Why do some leather lovers think baking soda is bad?

If you’re feeling a little nervous about my mention of this particular point, don’t be! Baking soda is considered safe to use on your leather. Just make sure that you always use it responsibly and plan accordingly. I’ve discussed it below for you in more detail!

Does baking soda remove a bad smell from leather?

Baking soda is a wonderful, all-natural choice to remove bad smells from your leather! It works the way you’d use baking soda to remove bad smells from your fridge.

The science of this is pretty interesting, actually. McGill explains that most smells are made from fatty acids, and bases will neutralize acids — baking soda is a base, so it works well at simply canceling out the acid causing the smell!

Baking soda will cancel out your odor, giving your leather jacket, shoes, and couch a brand new lease on life!

How to use baking soda on leather

Whether you are looking to use baking soda on a leather couch, jacket, shoes, or handbag, the instructions will be the same — much as with baking soda’s odor-fighting ability! No leather item will be left behind! Without further ado, here’s what you can expect:

  • Clean your leather couch with a damp cloth
  • Mix 1 cup (236 ml) of warm water with 2 tbsp (29 ml) of baking soda
  • Gently apply the solution to your leather item
  • Rinse with water
  • Condition your leather

Focus on using gentle, circular motions with your baking soda paste so that you aren’t unintentionally stressing out or scratching your leather. Generally, you can use the same technique when cleaning or conditioning your leather.

Don’t forget to rinse your leather thoroughly with plain water since baking soda can leave a residue that may further dry out your leather! Even if you know that you’ve got all of the baking soda off, still rinse with water.

Tip:

Since baking soda can absorb moisture, you’ll need to condition your leather to keep it moisturized!

How often can you use baking soda on leather?

Baking soda can sometimes be changed out as a cleanser or a conditioner when mixed correctly if you ever find yourself in a pinch. So, follow the same instructions for cleaning with baking soda as you’d clean with a purpose-designed cleanser. The cleaning routine typically depends on how often you use your leather item. I recommend that you clean your leather jacket, shoes, etc., every month if you use them daily. But adjust as you need to!

Fun Fact:

The more you clean your leather item as recommended, the longer it’ll look brand new!

How long can I leave baking soda on leather?

Since baking soda is both abrasive and absorbent, leaving it on leather for too long can cause damage. If you are sprinkling it on leather dry, you’ll want to leave it on for no more than 15 minutes. If you use a paste (as instructed above), you can leave it on for up to 24 hours! Most experts recommend leaving it on overnight as a happy medium.

Is loose baking soda better than a baking soda paste?

Loose baking soda is generally better for recent spills, especially wet ones. The baking soda will better absorb the liquid. Baking soda paste helps remove discoloration from your leather jacket or couch or help remove a stain that has set in.

What happens if baking soda is left on for too long?

Hey, accidents happen, right? If you accidentally leave baking soda on too long, it can dry out your leather and make it more brittle. You’ll need to dedicate some time to conditioning your leather so that you can help infuse new moisture into it!

What are the benefits of using baking soda on leather?

There are a lot of very real and genuine benefits to using baking soda, which is why you lovely readers are here and reading this article! Some of my favorites are below to help you see just why it’s such a handy, go-to product:

  • It’s cost-effective
  • It’s safe for your leather
  • It’s going to help remove stains, absorb odors, and freshen up your leather
  • It’s effective for regular upkeep and stains
  • It’s a natural cleaning choice

In fact, baking soda will be especially great for helping reduce or remove grease stains from leather in particular. Since grease stains are common from skin oils and even beauty products, it’s great to know that you’ve got a natural option to help you claim back your leather!

What are the drawbacks of using baking soda on leather?

Despite my evident love of baking soda and its ability to help refresh your leather, you should also understand that there are some crucial drawbacks or risks that you should consider for your protection. These include the following:

  • Baking soda can break down glossy finishes
  • Baking soda isn’t safe for every type of leather

Since baking soda reacts chemically, you’ll want to ensure that your leather goods don’t have some sort of finish on them that could react. For example, patent and glossy-finish leathers won’t be the best choices for use with baking soda. Unfortunately, baking soda can distress and prematurely age your leather in these situations.

This is one of the most important reasons you should always know what kind of leather you have and what the recommended care is for it!

Tip:

Always test a new care product on an inconspicuous area of your leather in case it does react!

Is baking soda worth using for my leather jacket?

Whether you’re curious about your leather jacket or you’re wondering instead about your shoes, handbag, etc., a lot of it comes down to personal preference. As far as my use of care products for leather, it comes down to understanding the risks and using the products responsibly.

If I use baking soda to soak up a coffee spill, for instance, I make sure to set a timer and carefully rinse the baking soda off after removing it. Yes, being that accurate is going to be a bit annoying at times, but it’ll also protect my investment. That’s what it’s all about, right?

If you’re looking for the easiest option, you’ll find purpose-designed leather cleansers, conditioners, etc., to be much better. But baking soda does have some important pros to help it earn its reputation as a safe product for leather. It will be a toss-up, depending on what you want to achieve.

I’d recommend trying baking soda on your jacket or whatever you need to clean. It could be just what you need to do the trick.

So, whether you’re convinced or not, baking soda can be a valuable product for your leather. It’s all-natural, easy to use, effective on most types of leather, and can help fight staining and odors and clean up your leather from a spill.

While it is abrasive, meaning you’ll have to be careful with it, possibly scratching your leather if you get a bit vigorous, it’s considered safe for use with your leather if you use it effectively. It’s nice to know you have a quick fix if you need one!

If you know someone prone to accidents or someone who particularly enjoys natural products for cleaning their leather couch, jacket, or shoes, share this with them!

Andre from leatherninja.com

Andre is a passionate leatherworker who spends his spare time working with leather. He loves the smell and feel of leather, and he takes great care in selecting the right pieces of leather for his projects. Read more here.