How to Clean Makeup Off Real Leather Jacket or Faux Car Seats

When you’re living life on the go, it can’t be helped that sometimes you have to rush and this may lead to small spills here and there. Cosmetic stains are not a great sight to see especially if it’s noticeable and ruins the aesthetic of your leather furniture and garments. In this article, we’ll show you how you can effectively and safely remove makeup from your leather jackets and car seats.

How to clean makeup off leather

If you accidentally get makeup on your leather jacket or car seats, there’s no need to worry because a little bit of makeup won’t ruin your leather badly. However, it’s still best if you fix it right away so it does not leave any stains. Here’s how:

Tips and extra information:

As a general rule of thumb, if you spill something on your leather items, you should immediately wipe the excess away using paper towels or a soft cloth. This is to avoid the liquids from seeping into the fibers which will be harder to remove later on. Dried makeup might also oxidize making it more difficult for you to remove.

The next thing you should do is identify the material it spilled on– is it real or faux leather? What material is it made of? This matters because some materials are more porous than others and it will be easier to determine the right solution you should go for.

Using mild soap and water

This method is ideal for removing makeup from leather goods. You can also use this for real leather jackets and faux leather car seats since the solution is gentle enough to not damage any leather dye used. You may also use this method for suede and nubuck, but you need to have a suede brush for aftercare. Otherwise, putting liquid solutions on your suede may cause more damage than good.

Things you will need:

  • Mild soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • Dry paper towels
  • Sponge


  1. After removing the excess makeup on the surface using dry paper towels, proceed to make a mild soap and lukewarm water solution.
  2. Create a volume of suds and apply it to the affected area using a sponge.
  3. Wipe the surface with just enough pressure to remove the makeup.
  4. This should be enough as most makeup will be easily removed by soap and water.
  5. Dry the surface using paper towels and apply some leather conditioner after.
  6. For suede and nubuck, air dry it thoroughly in a well-ventilated room and use a suede brush to fluff it back up.

Using baking soda or cornmeal

This method is the safer option for removing makeup from suede or nubuck items because you can avoid getting them wet altogether. Cornmeal or Baking soda is more effective if you’re dealing with cosmetics that are oily or greasy and cannot be easily removed using the mild soap solution.

Things you will need:

  • Baking soda or cornmeal
  • A suede brush or stiff-bristled brush
  • Dry paper towels


  1. After removing the excess makeup on the surface using dry paper towels, sprinkle some baking soda on the affected area.
  2. Let it sit overnight to give it plenty of time to absorb the cosmetic product stains. Remove the excess powder.
  3. After leaving it overnight, check on the area by gently brushing it with a stiff-bristled brush or a suede brush.
  4. Repeat the process as necessary and as always, apply leather conditioner or use a suede brush as an aftercare.

Using makeup remover wipes

Makeup remover wipes are not only good at removing makeup from faces– you may also use them to remove any type of makeup stain on clothes and other surfaces. Do not use makeup remover wipes on suede or nubuck as it is damaging. Only use those makeup remover wipes with gentle formulation to avoid leather discoloration and always test it out in a hidden spot before fully applying.

Things you will need:

  • Dry paper towels
  • Makeup remover wipes or baby diaper wipes
  • Cotton balls or soft cloth


  1. Remove the excess makeup on your leather jacket or faux car seats using paper towels.
  2. Get your makeup remover wipes and start by gently rubbing on the affected area in circular motions.
  3. If you’re using makeup remover in the form of a liquid solution, use cotton balls or a soft cloth to pour the solution in before applying it to the leather surface.
  4. Follow it up with dry paper towels to remove the excess moisture and the makeup debris that has been removed.
  5. After all the stains are removed, wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth to dry it completely.
  6. Apply leather conditioner and water-repelling spray if needed.

Using rubbing alcohol

This method is similar to the mild soap and water solution. This is an effective way of removing makeup from both faux and leather materials, but should never be used on leather with a velvety texture like suede. Just remember that alcohol can be drying on leather, so it’s best to use it when it’s diluted.

Things you will need:


  1. Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol with distilled water.
  2. Place the cleaning solution inside a spray bottle for easier application.
  3. Spray it onto the affected area with makeup stains and gently wipe it with a soft cloth using a circular motion.
  4. Once all the product is removed from the surface, use another dry microfiber cloth to wipe the surface and remove the excess moisture.
  5. Allow to dry thoroughly and apply some leather conditioner.

Using petroleum jelly

Last but not the least, you can use petroleum jelly to remove cosmetic stains. It works similarly to makeup remover wipes because it breaks down the oils that are used as mediums for makeup bases. This is only for leather with smooth surfaces, not for suede or nubuck. If you don’t have makeup removers at home, try this instead:

Things you will need:


  1. Remove the excess makeup from the surface with paper towels.
  2. Take a scoop of petroleum jelly just enough to cover the affected area. Make sure you are using colorless petroleum jelly to avoid leather discoloration.
  3. Wait for about 15-30 minutes so it can do its magic and remove the stubborn cosmetic stains.
  4. Use a damp cloth to remove the petroleum jelly and check if there are any stains left. Repeat the process as necessary.
  5. Once you’re done, wipe the entire surface with a dry microfiber cloth and apply some leather conditioner to restore its suppleness.


Getting makeup on your leather car seats can be upsetting and also quite embarrassing. Knowing how to remove them from either real leather or faux leather car seats will save you from worsening it or letting it get onto your other items like your clothes.

We hope this guide has helped you be able to take care of your leather seats and clean them up before it causes any more trouble.


How do you get foundation out of a purse?

Foundation or any type of cosmetic product can be removed from a leather purse using the methods we mentioned above. Just make sure to read the description and know what material the purse is made of to avoid accidentally ruining it during the foundation-removing process.

Can vinegar remove foundation stains?

Yes, white vinegar can remove foundation stains on almost any type of surface including leather. It works similarly to rubbing alcohol so you should still dilute it with water to prevent the leather from drying out and becoming brittle. However, don’t use this or any method involving liquid solutions on suede unless stated otherwise.

Does Magic Eraser work on leather?

Yes, Magic Erasers do work on leather. They’re great for getting rid of dirt on grime on leather sofas, car seats, shoes, and jackets. Although they are considered safe, we still recommend testing them out in a hidden spot and checking if it causes any adverse reactions with the leather material.

What cleaning products are safe to use on leather?

You can never go wrong with leather-safe brands. There are many leather care and maintenance products that are affordable in the market and they’re guaranteed to be formulated to clean leather goods. If you’ve run out of options and can’t buy leather cleaners, the safest alternative would be using mild soap and water or baking soda, depending on the type of leather you have.


  • Luke

    With a 14-year journey dedicated to preserving and enhancing leather goods, his unwavering passion continues to fuel his expertise. When he's not immersed in the world of leather, you can find Luke enjoying exhilarating bicycle rides or exploring nature through invigorating hikes.

  • Ralf

    Ralf is a multifaceted creative enthusiast with a deep passion for various crafting hobbies, including sewing, pottery, and the captivating world of leathercraft.