How to Remove Vinyl Paint from Leather

Vinyl paint can be tough to remove, especially on leather. Since vinyl paint is designed to stick to the surface and become part of it, it is best to work on the paint while it is still fresh. As soon as the paint dries, it may be very difficult to clear out.

Tools and Materials

  • Dry Lint Free Cloth
  • Rag
  • Leather Cleaner
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Baby Wipes
  • Moisturizer
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Acetone

Step 1 – Remove the Paint as soon as Possible

As soon as the paint is spotted on the leather surface, look for a piece of cloth, toilet paper or baby wipes. Do not let the paint stay too long on the leather. While it is still wet, dab it with baby wipes until the paint is removed completely. If not, use a dry rag to pad the paint away.

To remove any of the paint residue still left on the surface, apply leather cleaner onto it according to manufacturer’s instructions. Wipe the residue with a clean dry rag. Apply some leather conditioner to hide any dull surface left behind by the paint.

Another method that works is using warm water and a rag. Dampen the rag with warm water and use it to scrub the paint away. Be sure not to rub too hard to avoid damaging the leather. Wipe the area with a dry lint-free cloth. If the paint has dried a bit, removal will require a solvent or lubricant.

Step 2 - Use a Lubricant

Before trying out a lotion or moisturizer, test the liquid in a small inconspicuous area first to see if it has any effect on the leather. Proceed if it does not have any discoloration, staining or color blotting effect. Apply the moisturizer all over the paint and let it stay for a while – about 5 to 10 minutes. Pad the area with a dry rag. If some of the paint still sticks to the leather, do not scrub it away too much. Patiently rub the area gently until the paint comes off.

Step 3 – Use Solvents

This should only be resorted to when gentler removal methods do not work. Some of the best solvents that can be used for this type of problem include alcohol and acetone. If the leather is unfinished, you may get away without leaving too much damage on the leather. However, any pigments or finishes may be stripped off. On the bright side, the damaged finish can be hidden with careful application of leather conditioner.

Test the solvent into a small inconspicuous area on the leather. If the solvent does not cause the leather to peel off, the solvent is safe to use. Apply the solvent over the paint and let it sit for a while, but not too long or it may eat away the finishing and the leather itself. Three to five minutes may just be enough. Rub the paint away from the surface. Wipe it after with a dry rag. Apply leather conditioner to hide the dull surface.