How to Wash Faux Leather at Home? [A Complete Guide to Wash and Care]

women cleaning faux leather purse

Leather products significantly impact the environment, and animal welfare concerns are also a consideration for many people. Faux leather, on the other hand, is a synthetic material. Faux leather is often considered a more ethical and sustainable option. As faux leather is less durable than genuine leather, you must properly maintain it.

You can hand wash faux leather products in a solution of cold water and gentle detergent (warm water can damage or shrink faux leather). Wipe the solution on the surface with a microfiber cloth. Air dry the garment and soak excess water with a microfiber cloth. Avoid using a washing machine unless it’s mentioned on the product’s care label. Never put the product in the dryer, as it can ruin it. Avoid using strong detergents and bleach, which can permanently damage the product.

Keep reading for a complete, in-depth guide and to learn how to wash and care for faux leather products.

What is Faux Leather Made Out of?

Do you know that faux leather is also known as “vegan” leather, as no animal products go into its making? Faux leather is a synthetic leather in the real sense. Vinyl- or plastic-based leather is treated with various colors and textures to look authentic.

Faux leather has a limited lifespan compared to genuine leather but can be maintained to extend its life.

i. Vinyl-Based Faux Leather

Vinyl-based faux leather, or PVC leather, is synthetic leather made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Vinyl-based faux leather is generally less expensive than plastic-based faux leather and is often more durable.

white faux leather car seats

ii. Plastic-Based Faux Leather

Plastic-based faux leather is a type of synthetic leather that is made from various kinds of plastic materials. These can include polyurethane (PU), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP), among others. Plastic-based faux leather is generally more flexible and softer than vinyl-based faux leather, and it is often more eco-friendly because it can be made from recycled materials.

pink faux leather jacket and purse

What Will You Need


  1. Mild detergent
  2. Stain remover (mild)
  3. Baking soda (optional)
  4. Baby oil, coconut, or olive oil
  5. Rubbing alcohol


  1. Cotton swab
  2. Microfiber cloth
  3. Iron (Optional to remove wrinkles)

What Cleaners Can I Use on Faux Leather?

You can effortlessly use available cleaners such as baking soda, mild stain remover, natural soft detergent, laundry detergent, and rubbing alcohol.

How to Remove Stains From Faux Leather?

You can remove stains from faux leather by simply wiping the stained area with a damp microfiber cloth using cold water. For tough stains, apply a small amount of mild detergent mixed with water to the cloth; rub the dirty area gently and scrub the spot gently.

clean stain from faux leather

How to Remove Ink or Dye Stains From Faux Leather?

Use rubbing alcohol to remove stains caused by ink or dye. Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol on the stained spot using a cotton swab or soft cloth. The cleaning movement should be from the outer edges towards the center to avoid spreading the stain further. Once you ensure the stain’s disappearance, clean the area using a fresh cloth dampened with clean, plain water.

Pro Tip: Avoid using bleach, which may harm the faux leather. For safe washing, we recommend testing the cleaning on a small patch and checking the results. If there’s no color fading or material distortion, it’s safe to continue cleaning the actual stained part.

Related: Does rubbing alcohol stain clothes?

wipe ink stain on faux leather with alcohol wipe

How to Clean Faux Leather Jackets and Clothing?

You can hand-wash or machine-wash faux leather jackets and clothing. It’s crucial to check and follow the care label before you put them in the washer. For best results and to retain the faux leather quality, ensure you set the perfect proportions for the water temperature and the detergent. Ensure you agitate the faux leather gently to prevent it from getting damaged.

black faux leather jacket

1. Clean Faux Leather Jacket/Clothing by Hand

hand wash faux leather

i. Use Cold Water

Fill up your sink with cold water. You can also use any water container in place of the sink. Use cold water and avoid using hot water. Hot water may distort the material or even melt it.

ii. Use gentle Detergent

Mix mild laundry detergent in the water. Follow the instructions on the bottle label for the correct proportion. Swish the detergent in the water for even distribution.

iii. Turn the Jacket Inside Out

The inside of any jacket is the most soiled area due to the body’s sweat and oils. Soak the jacket in soapy water after turning it inside out. Waggle the outfit with your hands gently and then wring it gently to clean.

iv. Rinse in Cold Water

Rinse the jacket in normal cold water to flush out all the soap. Let it soak in the water for about 5 to 10 mins. A small fraction of the soap may damage your jacket by stiffening or cracking the faux leather.

v. Air Dry

Don’t squeeze or wring the jacket to remove the excess water. Hang it in a well-ventilated area and let it air dry naturally. Generally, you may have to wait 24 hours to dry the jacket completely. To speed up the drying, you can wipe the water using a clean and soft microfiber cloth.

vi. Condition With Oil

Once the jacket is dry, condition the faux leather using a small amount of baby, coconut, or olive oil. It helps retain the faux leather’s flexibility, removes wrinkles, and prevents it from cracking and peeling.

2. Clean Faux Leather Jacket/Clothing by Washing Machine

operating automatic washing machine

If the instructions allow you to wash a faux leather jacket using a washing machine, ensure you place it in a garment bag for additional protection. In addition, use only cold water and set the spin cycle to a gentle speed. Maintain a slow spin speed for the final rotation. 

Whether you wash by hand or machine, use a mild detergent for both methods. Air-drying and applying oil remain the same for machine-washed jackets.

Do you also own a genuine leather jacket? Then, you must learn to Clean a Used Leather Jacket

How to Clean Faux Leather Shoes?

You can clean your faux leather shoes using a few common household ingredients.

  1. Prepare 3-4 cups of soap water using a mild natural detergent.
  2. Dampen a clean cloth with this solution and wipe the shoe gently.
  3. Wipe out the excess moisture using a dry and clean microfiber cloth.
  4. Allow the shoe to air dry.
  5. To condition the faux leather, dip a clean, white cloth into a teaspoon of melted coconut oil and rub it over the shoe. You will notice you have given the shoes a brand-new look.

Avoid using hot water, as it may harm the material.

clean faux leather shoes

How to Clean Faux Leather Couches and Furniture

You don’t need to be a cleaning expert to clean your faux leather furniture. You can procure faux leather cleaners and faux leather conditioners from the local market. However, you can save on those, as it’s possible to remove most stains using natural ingredients.

  1. Get rid of dust and debris using a vacuum. Pay attention to the narrow gaps where the dust accumulates the most.
  2. Wipe the furniture surface with a microfiber cloth dampened with soap water prepared from mild detergent.
  3. Condition the furniture by applying leather conditioner with a clean white cloth. It’s crucial to test the oil on a tiny area to check for any adverse effects on your furniture’s surface before applying it for conditioning.
clean faux leather sofa

How to Remove Odor From Faux Leather?

Faux leather is prone to stinking with odd smells, such as body odor, cigarette smoke, or cooking fragrance. You can use baking soda to remove the stinkiness by following these steps:

  1. Spray baking soda on your furniture, cloth linings, or the interior of the shoes.
  2. Bag the garments or shoes in a sealable container. Allow the baking soda to settle.
  3. Allow the baking soda to work its magic on your faux leather objects for a couple of hours or a maximum of one full day.
  4. Then, remove the baking soda by vacuuming.

You can repeat the above steps regularly to keep your faux leather smelling fresh.

Related: How to get smoke smell out of leather?

odor from faux leather

How to Reduce the Shrinkage of Faux Leather?

Faux leather can shrink during washing. However, you can prevent shrinkage by exclusively using cold water for cleaning. Another way is to keep the materials away from direct sunlight and air-dry them in a room with an average temperature.

How to Reduce Fading of Faux Leather?

a. Avoid Sunlight

Save your faux leather materials from excessive sunlight. UV rays from the sun can cause the material to fade over time. It may fade the color of your faux leather.

b. Avoid Heat Sources

Keep faux leather away from heat sources such as radiators, heaters, and fireplaces. Heat can cause the material to dry and fade.

c. Avoid Moisture

Keep your faux leather away from moisture as much as possible, as it can cause the material to fade or stain over time. If the material comes in contact with water, dry it as soon as possible.

How to Iron Faux Leather?

You may need to iron the faux leather garments if wrinkles remain on them after washing. Here are the steps for ironing faux leather garments.

  1. Turn the garment inside out.
  2. Place a cloth over the garment so the iron doesn’t directly come in contact with the garment.
  3. Set the iron’s heat setting to the lowest.
  4. Keep the iron moving across all the areas of the garments, preventing it from stalling at one spot for a long time. It may result in melting the garment’s faux leather, putting it out of any repair scope.

How Often Should You Wash Faux Leather?

Wash faux leather only after it becomes dirty or has gathered an unusual odor. You can wash faux leather accessories and bags at least once a month. The same rule applies to the furniture category, too. For all faux leather items, you must ensure removing the stains immediately before they become stubborn or permanent.

How to Store Faux Leather Properly?

If possible, a dry, dark, cool place is ideal for storing faux leather items. Prevent the folding of leather items and tightly compressing them in drawers, as they may develop wrinkles. It’s advisable to keep bags and items made of faux leather in a wardrobe loaded with paper balls or similar objects to retain their original shape.

Do you own a genuine white leather purse or bag? Then you must read: How To Clean White Leather Bag at Home

faux leather products stored properly
  • What can ruin faux leather?

    Hot water and excessive exposure to sunlight may ruin faux leather. In addition, bleach and other cleaning solutions not designed for faux leather may damage it permanently.

  • Does Magic Eraser work on faux leather?

    Magic erasers are abrasive and may ruin the surface of faux leather items. Therefore, avoid using magic erasers on faux leather.

  • Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean faux leather?

    You can use rubbing alcohol to clean faux leather and remove any stains. However, use it on a tiny area before using it extensively on the faux leather item.


Faux leather items are a great alternative to genuine leather. Since it’s less durable than genuine leather, it needs little maintenance to keep it looking new and fresh. The items made from faux leather need to be cleaned and conditioned, and there are some proven methods to keep them going for a long time.

You can wash faux leather either by hand or using a machine, but you need to follow the instructions carefully not to damage it. Following the proper cleaning steps makes it easy to take care of your faux leather items and keep them looking new and fresh for a long time.

Related: How to remove gum from leather?

Related: How to clean a leather belt?