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.

Recommended products

Refresher for scratches
Leather Fresh Dye
Leather Fresh is a colour refresher (dye) for scratches, worn, or faded leather. Leather Fresh is ideal to refresh colour damages on car leather, furniture leather, leather garments and handbags. Do not use on porous leathers unless colouring the entire surface - it can make the surface appear patchy. It can be sponged on or sprayed using an airbrush.  Application Always test any products first on a hidden area to test for colour match!Firstly, clean the leather thoroughly and prepare the surface. Use Mild Leather Cleaner for normal degrees of soiling or Strong Leather Cleaner to remove heavier dirt (where the leather has been neglected for many years). Cleaning prior to treatment ensures the paint bonds to the surface well and ensures durability. Use Leather Cleaning Brush to effectively remove all ingrained dirt. Cleaning removes dirt but for long lasting results you should also de-grease using Leather Cleaning Spirit.Use a sponge to apply the colour evenly, working from seam to seam. Dry afterwards with a hair dryer. On small spots, a one application is sufficient. Apply multiple thin layers and dry each layer using a hair dryer.A day later, after it dries, apply Leather Protector. It gives the leather a good sheen and helps blend the repair. It contains antioxidants, which stops the leather's decay, and its UV filters protect the surfaces of old and valuable leathers from bleaching and fading. Also keeps the leather supple.  46 standard colours and prepare special colours according to sample or manufacturer name.

Content: 150 ml (US$21.60* / 100 ml)

Variants from US$12.00*
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.

Content: 250 ml (US$10.56* / 100 ml)

Aniline & Suede Protector
For new aniline or suede leather, we recommend our Aniline & Suede Protector. It protects the leather from drying and bleaching. To guard against stains, the leather should additionally be treated with our COLOURLOCK Waterproofing for nubuck leather and textile clothing. Ideally this should be done within a year, and more frequently afterwards. The waterproofing is always applied last.  Application Always test any products first in a hidden area for changes or colour correctness! Use according to instructions on the label.

Content: 400 ml (US$6.00* / 100 ml)