Old 10-30-2015, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 267
Will vinegar damage leather

I have read to use a 50/50 vinegar water solution to clean leather, is this okay to do, or can it damage or darken leather? I have a pair of expensive calfskin leather boots, and want to know before I try it.
Old 10-30-2015, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Fort Worth, Tex-ass
Posts: 247
I can't speak for cleaning leather with vinegar, but I did eliminate the odor of cigarettes from a leather jacket (one that'd been in the apartment of a chain smoker for two years!) by spritzing it, inside and out-, with non-diluted vinegar from a spray bottle, and letting it hang in a room with good air circulation. Repeated the process three times, letting the vinegar absorb and evaporate each time. Didn't harm the jacket any.

Last edited by DoggyDunnit; 10-30-2015 at 03:19 PM.
Old 10-30-2015, 10:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: New Middletown, Ohio
Posts: 5,825
I've used it to clean salt off winter shoes for years, and had no problems.
Old 10-30-2015, 10:44 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 38,854
Since leather is acidic so vinegar should be less damaging for it than a lot of other cleaners. I don't know if it will discolor it though. Saddle soap is often recommended for cleaning leather.
Old 10-31-2015, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 22,870
Vinegar by itself won't do anything, but if the boots have ferric metal fittings, it will stain. Steel wool dissolved in vinegar is how I dye reproduction medieval leather items black.
Old 10-31-2015, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 267
I think I will try cleaning the leather with 50/50 water vinegar, and then apply a leather conditioner oil. Should I rinse off the vinegar with plain water before applying the leather conditioner?
Old 10-31-2015, 06:41 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 26,800
Don't dilute the vinegar, vinegar already contains water. Use full strength white vinegar like you'd use for cooking. It won't hurt the leather. You shouldn't need to rinse, just let it dry thoroughly.

As a general rule, water and leather don't play nice together. Avoid getting water on/in your leather unless it is already well protected by being oiled or otherwise weatherproofed.

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