Removing paint from leather is a task that must be approached with care, taking into consideration the grade of leather and type of paint involved. Exposure to chemicals and water can degrade the quality of the leather. If you are not sure of the type of paint that was used, start with the least abrasive treatment and then progress to the more abrasive treatments. Treating wet paint is the easiest, followed by water based paint, and oil based paint.
Removing Wet Paint
1. Act as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the paint will dry. When the paint dries, it will become considerably more difficult to remove.
2. Use a flat tool to remove the paint. Take something like a palette knife and use it to gently lift excess paint from the leather. Begin by working around the outside of the stain to avoid spreading the paint. Keep the tool level, so that you limit contact with the couch and do not scratch the leather.
Leather does not handle moisture well, so you should try to remove as much of the stain as possible without recourse to water.
Alternatively, you could try using a credit card or a razor blade.
3. Wipe with kitchen towel. Find a towel that is good at absorbing moisture. Pat the remainder of the stain, lifting as much of it as possible. If you can, try using a dry towel to avoid damaging the leather. 
If a dry towel does not seem to work, apply a little bit of water and a nonabrasive soap, like hand soap. After cleaning up the stain, use a towel to pat the surface and remove water as quickly as possible.
Removing Water Based Paint
1. Rub with a wet towel. Water based paints are easy to pick up and can typically be cleaned with a simple wet rag. Try to limit how much water you get on the leather, because leather does not respond well to water.
Be sure to wring out the towel so that it is not dripping water all over the leather.
Whenever cleaning, you should start from the outside perimeter of the stain and move inward. Do not make quick, wide movements. Gently rub and dab the stain.
2. Scrape with a credit card. If the water does not remove all of the paint, it should loosen it up enough that it will be easy to pick up. Take a credit card and use it to gently lift the paint off the sofa.
3. Pat dry with a towel. Do not leave water on the leather, it will ruin it. As quickly as possible, take an absorbent towel and pat down the surface until there is no liquid remaining on the surface.
Removing Oil Based Paints
1. Dab with olive oil. The oil will permeate and loosen the surface of the paint, hopefully making it possible to remove the remainder of the stain. Use a cotton swab or cloth to dab it in. Try to get as little of the oil as possible on the leather.
Alternatively, baby and other cooking oils can be used.
2. Blot. Blot with a dry towel to remove the paint after treated with oil. Apply oil repeatedly as necessary, taking care to blot between applications to remove any paint that the olive oil has dislodged.
Dab the swab treated with oil on a paper towel to remove paint that accumulates on it between treatments.
3. Remove oil. To clean the oil off the leather, you should rub it down with leather cleaner or soapy cloth. Use mild soap, like hand soap, to limit damage to the surface.
4. Dry surface. Don’t leave any water on the leather. Dab the surface with a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture.
Remove Heavy Stains
1. Consult care instructions. For heavier stains, you might need to apply chemicals that could be seriously abrasive to the leather. Consult care instructions and consider contacting the manufacturer to ask what the effect of a chemical will be on the leather.
2. Perform a spot test. Before applying a more abrasive chemical to the leather, try putting some in an inconspicuous location, like near the bottom of the seat. If the chemical does not seem to damage the leather, you can use the chemical to treat a more noticeable part of the leather.
3. Apply nail polish remover. Place the nail polish remove on a cotton swab or towel and dab it on another surface to remove excess liquid. Dab the paint, being careful to avoid spreading the nail polish remover across the leather more than is necessary. Rub until all paint is removed.
4. Use rubbing alcohol. If polish remover does not work, place rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or towel. Remove excess liquid. Then rub the stain until all of the paint is removed.
It is imperative that you get as little rubbing alcohol as possible on the leather, because it will dry it out.
5. Remove abrasive chemicals and moisture. Use a damp towel with a mild soap to remove the chemicals. Afterward, use a dry towel to remove the water.
6. Treat the newly exposed leather with leather conditioner. Buy a professional leather conditioner from an auto supply store and apply it to the area. This will help to minimize the discoloration that may occur during the paint removal process and help keep the leather supple.
Consider using leather conditioner after any of these treatments. It is most imperative, however, when using abrasive chemicals like nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol.
Published: March 29, 2019
Photo Credit: Wiki