How to remove oil, grease, resin or chewing gum stains on leather

When deciding on the correct procedure for cleaning, repair and maintenance of leather, it is important to identify the type of leather. Incorrect cleaning methods can easily increase the damage. For the purposes of cleaning and conditioning, we distinguish between the following types of leather:

PIGMENTED LEATHER: Pigmented leather is the grain side of the leather with a binder based colour coating on the surface. Carry out a water rubbing test. A drop of water wouldn’t penetrate the surface. Most pigmented leathers are semi-gloss, of one colour (one tone) and have a grained surface.

ANILINE: Aniline is porous grain side leather. When you carry out a water rubbing test, a drop of water would penetrate into the surface and darken it.

SUEDE AND NUBUCK: Suede and Nubuck have a velvet-like surface. Suede is the backside of the grain split or the two sides of a flesh split. Nubuck is the sanded grain side. The velvet effect is much finer. Nubuck and Suede are also porous and sensitive leathers. 

PU-LEATHER: PU leather is also called “bicast leather” or “bycast leather”. These are polyurethane coated split leathers. Split leather is the flesh side (it is the less stable suede leather when leather is split into grain side leather and flesh side leather). A grain structured film is glued on top of the split leather to make it look like the more valuable pigmented grain side leather.


Fresh oil and fat stains are easier to remove than older stains. Coloured fats and oils are more difficult to remove. Also previously attempted improper cleaning attempts can reduce the chance of a satisfactory result.

COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber Spray is a solvent based spray mixed with an absorbent powder. Spray the COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber onto the stain and let dry completely. The solvents contained in the product dissolves oils and fats and the powder absorbs it. The remaining powder has to be vacuumed or removed using a brush. This process has to be repeated until the stain is removed or no further improvements can be achieved. The spray can be used on all types of leather. Please refer to the appropriate manual and always test first in an unseen area.

Oil stains on a vegetable tanned aniline



First try to remove sticky residue by sticking and removing masking tape. This method is harmless and further processing is easier. Encrusted resin or resin residues will remain. Remove remaining resin with turpentine. But always test solvent cleaners first in a hidden area for any surface changes and proceed with caution. Sometimes a simple, transparent eraser can be used to remove the remaining stains.

Please contact us if stains are not completely removed. We may be able to recommend a suitable alternative. 


Resin on porous leather sinks into the surface. You could try to remove with turpentine, but the risk of additional solvent stains is high.

In most cases, DIY products may not help and may need to be treated professionally. Please contact us with photos for further help.



Chewing gum gets rigid, firm and brittle when cooled down. Cool larger chewing gum residues on pigmented smooth leathers with a cooling element from the freezer or ice spray and try to remove. Residual stains can often be removed with a transparent eraser.

Please contact us if stains are not completely removed. We may be able to recommend a suitable alternative.


Chewing gum on porous leather leave visible stains. Residues on aniline sink into the surface and on suede and nubuck it bonds the fibres. Also try to remove by cooling down to make the residue brittle.

Please contact us if stains are not completely removed. We may be able to recommend a suitable alternative.  


Lighter ink stains on pigmented leather can be removed like ballpoint pen marks on pigmented leather. COLOURLOCK GLD Solvent is the first choice. Follow the manual for discolouration.

When ink stains sink into the leather, it will need to be treated professionally. Please contact us so we can refer you to someone in your area.  

Large ink stains on suede and nubuck can't be saved even by experts. Please email us photos so we can assist you. 

Recommended products

Grease Absorber Spray 250 ml
When liquids, especially those containing oils and fats, sink into leather surfaces they can leave visible stains. Because these substances have soaked into the leather, normal surface cleaning will not remove the stains. It could actually make the damage worse.  TYPICAL APPLICATIONS Darkened areas on leather armrests, headrests and seats caused by contact with hair and skin. Where skin has been in contact with leather bags, particularly the handles. Greasy collars on leather clothing. Fresh oil or grease stains on porous leather. Successful stain removal depends on a number of factors: The fresher the stain, the easier it is to treat. Larger stains that have developed over several years are unlikely to be removed completely. The more the oils and fats are absorbed into the leather, the lower the chance of a successful cleaning treatment. A few sprinkled drops are easier to remove than a complete spilled bottle. Oils are less viscous than fats and are therefore more easily absorbed by the spray. Coloured or impure oils or fats (coloured lamp oil, waste oil, and grease from hinges or bicycle chains) or mixtures of various substances (sauces, ketchup, chocolate, cream, etc.) are more difficult to remove than pure oils or fats. Unsuccessful and incorrect cleaning can make the damage worse. If the Absorber Spray fails to solve the problem, please consult professional leather cleaning or repair companies. APPLICATION COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber Spray is a solvent-based spray mixed with an absorbent powder. The solvent dissolves oils and fats and the powder absorbs it. The spray can be used on all types of leather, but always test on a hidden area first.Apply the Absorber Spray on and around the stain and let dry completely. Remove the powder residue with a vacuum cleaner, brush or cloth. Repeat the process until the stain is eradicated or at least partially removed. Sometimes, after a few days, the spots can reappear because the oil was drawn deep into the leather and moved back to the surface. If this occurs, repeat the process.If any darkened areas remain, wait a few hours then stretch the surface to separate and open the leather fibres. Lightened areas can be darkened carefully by applying small amounts of care products. Always test first on a hidden area. Ask a specialist for advice if you are unsure.