How to remove grease stains from headrests and armrests

Porous smooth leather (aniline) darkens over time especially in areas that come in regular contact with skin and other body parts. This continued contact causes body oils from skin and hair to transfer onto the leather and penetrate the leather surface. When the leather is new, the oils and fats are absorbed by the leather but over time with more use of the same areas the accumulation becomes a very visible stain.

In most cases, such stains cannot be removed by general cleaning. As professionals, we have methods to absorb the penetrated fats and to refresh and renew the leather colour. However, sometimes following repairs the area will not look like new. However, in some cases our technicians have only been contacted when the problem has extremely worsened and it is only possible to aesthetically improve the damaged area.

Our recommendation for DIY solution (as good as possible):

Clean the darkened area very carefully with COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Spirit. Take some Cleaning Sprit on a clean soft cloth and wipe fast over the surface without wetting too much. Allow it to dry before re-applying. This ensures you avoid getting borders or edges. This process dissolves the penetrated fats a little bit. Continue the treatment with COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber Spray. Spray the product onto the darkened area and allow it to dry completely. The product contains solvents that dissolves and absorbs the fats and pull it out of the leather. The contents of the spray dry into a white powder but as it pulls out the grease, it turns into a yellowish powder. This remaining powder can simply be brushed off or vacuumed. Repeat the process until the powder stops turning yellow or until no further improvement can be achieved.

In most cases, such areas remain darker or lighter in comparison to the rest of the unaffected area. As the fats have damaged the surface over the years. These areas will need to be adjusted with COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh. Therefore, the leather colour must be more or less of one tone and the leather shouldn’t be too porous. Leather Fresh seals the surface and reduces the risk of a repetition of such stains.

We recommend protecting the unaffected areas COLOURLOCK Aniline Protector as it contains oils, UV-filters and antioxidants to prevent from aging. Don’t apply the protector in areas that were darkened and have been treated. This helps to avoid new stains as the protector contains oils. But the rest of the leather should be treated to keep the leather soft and to avoid aging damages. Especially areas that are exposed to sunlight must always be protected.

Repair still possible

Only an improvement is possible

Heavily damaged. DIY solution may not give the best result and may have to be treated professionally. 

Extensive damage. Possibly beyond repair. 


Skin contact areas on furniture darken with time. Mostly this cannot be cleaned. Only specialized companies can help.

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