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Tacky Leather: Spillage

Tacky Leather: Spillage

Posted by Leather Milk Customer Orders on May 30th 2016

Tacky leather problems? You are not alone. Here at Leather Milk, this is among the most common problems we hear about. People sit up from their leather recliner, surprised when their leather wants to come up with them. Or when they discover an old coffee stain that's sticky to the touch and spoiling a once lovely texture. Even after applying a slather of leather conditioner - which is supposed to help - people can be bewildered to find mere hours later that their beautiful leather has not developed the rich, luscious sheen they had hoped for, but instead a sticky, white film.

There are a variety of reasons for this. Leather - a living creature that breathes and ages - is very sentimental. It remembers most everything it's touched and everywhere it's been, breathing in scents, oils, and other substances through thousands of tiny pores. Given the right materials to absorb, leather grows healthy and strong. If it is exposed to bad things, it will grow weak and dry out, or it will become sticky.

Tacky leather can usually be attributed to one of three things: spillage, UV damage, or over-conditioned leather.


We all know about this one. Be it the aforementioned coffee stain, or exposure to harsh chemicals, or even a brush with some sap or grimy residue in the great outdoors - spillage is something that's hard to avoid. Given an opportunity to set in, it can also be hard to get out. That's precisely the reason it's always wise to protect your leather beforehand with Chamberlain's Leather Care Liniment. Leather conditioners provide a natural barrier over your leather's pores that keeps harmful debris out.

On the occasion your leather has incurred the terrible wrath of spillage without protection, don't fret. You've got options. It's best to clean up after spillage as quickly as you can. The longer a spill has time to absorb, the more difficult it will be to get out. After a certain point, your leather may require a professional to bring back. Keeping this in mind, cleaning up after a spill is usually a pretty simple task.

1. Dab up as much fluid as you can with a soft, clean cloth. It's best not to wipe if you can avoid it; this can push the fluids deeper into your leather's pores. Instead, allow your cloth to absorb the spill naturally off the surface of your leather.

2. After the surface is dried as much as possible, apply Straight Cleaner No.2. Leather cleaners - especially alcohol leather cleaners - are particularly good at deeply cleansing leather, penetrating its pores farther than any other cleaner. Afterwards, allow your leather to dry naturally. If you're stranded without Straight Cleaner, rubbing alcohol can also make a decent substitute, but make sure you test it first in a discreet area.

3. After you clean leather, it's important to give your leather conditioner. Cleaner strips away oils like too much time in a swimming pool turns your fingers into prunes. Leather Care Liniment No.1 will restore your leather's supple quality and provide it with natural protection against future spillage.

Some spillage may take many cleanings sessions to fully restore. Don't worry about it. As long as you begin to see some change within a few days, you're on the right track. You can clean your leather a couple times a day, if you wish, as many days as you want - just be careful the leather does not dry out. If the texture does begin to feel rough, allow your leather more time between cleanings, and if necessary, consider giving it some conditioner. If possible, however, it is best to avoid giving your leather conditioner until the stain is fully removed.

If spillage is not the source of your problem, your leather may also have become tacky due to excess exposure to UV radiation from sunlight. If you think that's the case, check out our UV Damage Guide. Alternatively, your leather may have simply received too much conditioner recently. Click here to read about Over-Conditioned Leather. If you have any other questions that we've yet to answer, you can always contact us on our customer service page.

Hope this helps!