My son got ink on my cream leather sofa. I wiped it with a baby wipe and the top layer is peeling off, it looks awful. What can I do?
Laura from Carlisle, UK
Baby wipes are potentially the most damaging thing to use to clean leather. No doubt this old wives tale was recommended on the internet somewhere.
This is the problem with using baby wipes to clean leather, they remove the top finish coating along with everything else.
This is a problem that you cannot remedy yourself. If you remove all the top coat on the arm your leather will begin to deteriorate quicker than the rest of the leather. Also when it gets dirty is will be impossible to get it clean so the area will always look completely different.
You need to contact a qualified leather technician who will be able to fix the whole problem for you and replace the top finish on the leather.
For your future information this is about removing ink from leather:
Old wives tales are a major cause of most repairs that leather technicians go out to fix and hairspray and solvents are the most common. Taking notice of these untested/unproved old wives tales could cost you a great deal of money if it goes wrong.
Successful ink removal will depend on the type of leather you have, please see the following:
For ink removal:
Removing ink from leather is not a cleaning problem.
Most ink removal products will not work simply because of the length of time the ink has been on the leather.
Ink is a dye and has re-coloured the leather (this is what it is meant to do)
The longer the ink has been on the leather the harder it is to remove because it soaks into the finish. Once it has soaked into the finish you have to use very strong products to remove it, which will also remove finish and pigment which then need replacing.
If the ink is on a pigmented leather then the first thing you should try is an LTT Ink Stick. The fresher the ink the more chance you have of removing it. It is a good idea to have one in your house if you have pale leather and children!!!!
Old ink will be harder to remove than new ink and may mean resorting to solvents which will also remove the finish. This is probably best left to the experts
If an ink stick doesn't work a solvent based remover will need to be used and it may also remove finish and pigment so is best left to the experts.
You should also be using LTT Leather Protect on your suite. This will act like a 'scotchgard' and will make any more mishaps easier to clean off.
You will see many people recommending household products to remove ink this is not recommended as most simply will not work, some may appear to work but the damage they cause can make a much bigger problem which is then un-repairable (even by a technician)
DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING:
Hairspray - This is very risky as it can make the matter far worse by spreading the ink over a bigger area and can sometimes then be impossible to fix.
Nail Varnish remover/solvents will remove the finish on the leather even if you cannot tell it is doing so and this will then need replacing, and alcohol may do the same depending on the strength of the finish on the leather.
Baby wipes, just about the worst thing you can use on a leather as they break down the finish and will eventually ruin it.
Milk or Toothpaste - these are just silly ideas that will leave sticky residues on the surface which will help to break down the finish on your leather.
Silicones/furniture polish, should not be used on leather. They will form a coating on the surface of the leather which will not allow any moisture to get to the leather itself and will eventually break all the finish down and cause it to crack.
Hide food will not remove ink and will leave residues on the leather which will attract dirt and oils.
Most leather cleaners will not remove ink unless a very good leather protector has been used on a regular basis.
Magic sponges or erasers. These have been tested by experts in the leather industry and have found to do a lot of damage to certain finish types on leather.
Aniline Style Leather
As aniline style leathers are largely absorbent it means that the ink will have soaked straight into the leather itself. This makes it impossible to remove. No product will successfully remove the ink.
DO NOT try ink removing products on aniline style leathers as most will leave a greasy residue which will then cause another problem.
Because aniline style leathers are absorbent the ink will carry on moving through the leather and may become less obvious over time. Cleaning and protecting will also help to dissipate over time.
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