• How to remove paint or biro from a leather sofa


    Removing Paint Stains

    If the paint is still wet, use a flat tool such as a palette knife to gently remove the excess paint. Work from the outside in to avoid spreading the paint and keep the tool flat so you don’t scratch the leather. Mop up any remaining excess with an absorbent kitchen towel.

    Be the stain household paint or children’s water-based paint, it should be relatively easy to remove with a clean cloth and some soapy water. Use gentle hand soap rather than washing up liquid as this can damage the surface.

    As for gloss paint - seeing as it's oil based - it’s much harder to shift than water-based paint. The following are a few suggestions.


    Olive oil can be effective at removing gloss paint, but make sure you carry out a patch test first. If you’re happy with the result, soak the marked spot with olive oil and rub gently. Once the paint stain has been removed, wash the area with a damp cloth that has been dipped in mild soapy water.

    Many people have reported effective results using alcohol, nail polish and hairspray. However, as all three contain chemicals that can also strip the colour and protective surface from your sofa, you should use with caution and ideally consult the manufacturer first before carrying out a patch test on an unobtrusive part of the sofa. If you’re happy with the patch test, use cotton wool to apply, rubbing gently over the paint mark. Wipe off any excess product with a clean, soft cloth.

    Removing Biro Stains

    Again, your first point of call should be to check with the manufacturers as the best option for removing pen stains may depend on the type of leather sofa you own. And as with paint removal, whatever method you use, try a patch test first on a hidden area of the sofa.

    Many manufacturers will also sell professional products designed to remove specific stains. These should be your first port of call.


    As with paint stains, many people swear by Alcohol/nail varnish remover/hairspray, but they can end up spreading the stain and, depending on the finish of your leather sofa, risk removing the top layer and the pigment. Hairspray containing oil and nail varnish with acetone should definitely not be used. Using a cotton bud can be a good way of controlling the amount of product you apply if you want to try a small area first.

    Another controversial option is baby wipes as many people claim that they are effective, but over time they could potentially wear down the finish of your leather sofa.

    A Good Tip

    Finally, it’s worth investing in a good leather care kit, regularly cleaning your leather sofa and using the leather protector cream. Because the cream provides a protective barrier, any spills or marks will be less likely to soak into the leather and therefore much easier to clean off.

    For more information about sofa care take a look at our in-depth guide which covers everything from leather to fabric and even cushion care.