Removing Paint from Leather

Here is another RWL refurbishing tip! Removing paint from leather! Recently, I was refurbishing two antique mahogany end tables with leather tops. The tables needed a furniture facelift, because many many years ago my client's mother painted them a dark avocado green. We think maybe she was fed up with the worn out leather that's why she painted it. 

I stumbled on a product that worked great for cleaning leather! It's Zep Commercial Leather Cleaner & Conditioner. I bought mine at Home Depot. You will notice the bottle says prevents drying and cracking, once I removed the paint I noticed the leather was very worn and cracked and hoped the conditioner would be a huge help. (it was!)

There were several layers of green paint, so my first step was to use one coat of chemical paint stripper. I did not use a lot of force with the scraper. This is important, because if you scrape too hard you will scratch the leather.  After gently scrapping away the paint, there was a little paint in areas and left the original cracked sealer used on the leather. 

leftover paint before cleaner was used

leftover paint before cleaner was used

The next process of sanding away the paint is a delicate one. After using the chemical striper I cleaned it off with water, let dry and then applied a solid coat of the Zep Commercial Leather Cleaner & Conditioner.  

leather cleaner and steel wool

leather cleaner and steel wool

I left it sit for a few minutes then gently rub in circles with steel wool.  I used 0000/Steel Wool. Just like with the scraper, you can't rub too hard with the steel wool or you will damage the leather.  But you have to be persistent enough to sand/scrub away the leftover paint. I would scrub for a bit, then wipe it all away and apply a second coat of cleaner. Usually the second round of scrubbing will take it all off. 

leather after all paint was removed with cleaner

leather after all paint was removed with cleaner

And voila! The leather is restored! I do not know if this will work on all leathers nor am I a spokesperson, just a happy customer. 

Good Luck! 

Denise