Leather sofas are elegant, comfortable, practical, and hard-wearing, but they do require an extra bit of attention to keep them looking their best. You’ll need to make sure you’re doing regular weekly cleaning, occasional deep cleans such as conditioning or re-coloring the leather (depending on the finish), and dealing with stains and spillages as soon as they happen.
To help you care for your leather sofa like a pro, we’ve put together this guide on how to clean a leather sofa at home – from simple weekly maintenance to more in-depth restoration procedures. Follow our steps below and you’ll be lounging in style for years to come.
Avoid dry conditions which accelerate the aging process
Once you’ve cleaned your leather sofa, it’s important to make sure it stays in good condition.
- Avoid dry conditions which accelerate the aging process so keep clear of radiators and direct sunlight. Use a humidifier in the same room as your sofa or place bowls of water around it to increase humidity.
- Treat with a leather conditioner at least twice a year to keep the leather supple. Never use saddle soap or any other oil-based products on your sofa as these will damage it quickly and irreparably.
Do not use saddle soap or any other oil-based products
When cleaning a leather sofa, you should never use saddle soap or any other oil-based products. These can dry out the leather and leave it brittle, as well as potentially leave a sticky residue. If you want to use a conditioner on your sofa, it’s best to opt for one that’s water-based and has been made especially for furniture
Use a gentle leather cleaner regularly
Another simple and effective way to keep your leather sofa in good condition is by cleaning it regularly. Leather, after all, is the skin of an animal, so it’s porous.
We recommend using the below 3M Leather cleaner and another one from formula 1.
|3M Foaming Car Interior Cleaner (580 g) | Upholstery & Leather cleaner | Removes tough stains &...||₹ 683 ₹ 645||View Latest Price on Amazon|
|Formula 1 Mr.Leather 615163 Spray Cleaner and Conditioner (473 ml)||₹ 595 ₹ 480||View Latest Price on Amazon|
It’ll soak up any spills you don’t deal with immediately – which may leave a permanent mark – and it also needs to be moisturized regularly. The dirt in the air can build up on the leather if you don’t clean it often enough and make it become brittle and cracked.
If grease stains occur, quickly blot with a kitchen roll
If you get any grease stains – a splash of tomato sauce, for example – you have to act quickly. First, don’t rub the stain as this will cause it to set and make it even harder to remove. Then, blot with a kitchen roll, not a paper towel. Don’t use a wet cloth or damp paper towel either as this could cause the stain to seep further into the leather.
Finally, always work from the outside inwards so that you don’t spread it around more than necessary. Make sure you use a clean section of the kitchen roll each time – if you continue using the same part of the roll then you could end up just smudging grease around on your sofa.
Remove ink as soon as possible with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol
Removing ink stains from a leather sofa can be very tricky, but it’s not impossible. For best results, you want to tackle the stain as soon as possible. Moisten a cotton ball with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and gently blot the ink stain until it transfers to the cotton ball. Do not rub the cotton ball—you could actually push more ink into the leather if you do this.
If you’re still facing stained leather after following these steps, then your best bet is to bring in a professional. Solvents are incredibly harsh on leather and an incorrect application can cause further damage and discoloration.
For stubborn stains, try a fine glass polishing compound
If your leather sofa is showing signs of wear, consider using a very fine glass polishing compound for stubborn stains. If you don’t have access to a glass polishing compound, try candle wax! Apply the wax with a soft cloth and rub it in circular motions over the stain. The wax should begin to fill in the scratches and make them less noticeable.
Before cleaning your leather sofa, find out what type of leather has been used. The different types all require slightly different care and treatment – especially aniline leather which tends to absorb liquids quickly so mustn’t be cleaned with any kind of liquid. Protect your sofa from damage by applying a leather conditioner after cleaning, which will prevent the surface from drying out too much (or worse, cracking).
Remember that leather is a natural product and colors can change over time as a result of light exposure or heat.
Carefully rub into the stain with a soft cloth, then wipe off the residue with a damp cloth and leave to air dry
- If you’ve spotted a stain on your leather sofa, the first thing you’ll want to do is work out what type of stain it is. If it’s oily, like body lotion, hand cream, or a make-up spillage, then use unscented talcum powder to soak up the oils. Dust it over the stain and leave for about an hour before wiping it off with a dry cloth.
- For coffee or tea stains, make a paste from water and laundry detergent, then carefully rub into the stain using a soft cloth. Wipe off residue with a damp cloth and leave to air dry.
- If your leather furniture has been stained by something greasy (like chocolate), try applying acetone (nail polish remover) to some cotton wool balls and gently dabbing at the affected area until the marks disappear – but be sure to test this on an inconspicuous spot first!
- Treat ink stains by applying white spirit with another clean cloth; wipe away any excess liquid after treatment and allow to air dry – remember not all leathers are created equal so check whether yours is finished or unfinished before cleaning as certain products may damage certain types of leather.”
If a stain is still visible once the leather has dried, repeat the process.
If a stain is still visible once the leather has dried, repeat the process. Remember to test an inconspicuous area first. Your sofa is likely one of your most expensive pieces of furniture – so don’t take any risks with harsh commercial cleaning products or excessive scrubbing. Leather can also fade in direct sunlight, so make sure to keep it away from large windows and doors. Oh, and always use coasters for drinks – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Editor in Chief at RHK. Digital Nerd, Cloud consultant, Customer evangelists! If you don’t find her reviewing Product and writing content she can be traced back to her Garden, experimenting with new Plants!
Last update on 2022-10-09 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API