How to clean leather furniture

clean leather furniture

Leather furniture is a luxury that many people enjoy. Leather lasts 4 to 5 times longer than upholstered fabric which makes it the most durable, long-lasting furniture covering available. It is not easy to burn or melt leather and it is extremely difficult to puncture. Leather is a natural material that breathes which makes it comfortable all year long. It is important that proper care is taken to maintain the beauty and luxury of your leather furniture.

Leather furniture really benefits from a good weekly dusting. The soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner makes a handy leather duster or just run a clean cotton cloth over the furniture. For general cleaning use a gentle, moisturizing soap and a soft cloth, being careful not to saturate the leather. It is not necessary to rinse the soap from the leather after cleaning, just buff it dry with a soft cloth.

Furniture in high traffic areas benefits from a good thorough cleaning at least once every season change to help remove body oils, perspiration, and general soiling. Stay away from solvents not created specifically to clean the leather to avoid irreparable damage. Use a soft cotton cloth dampened with a good leather cleaner. Run the cloth all over the piece of furniture paying special attention to the skin contact areas like the armrests and inside backs. Follow with a good leather conditioner made especially for finished leather furniture.


Ink stains may be removed from leather with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Rub the swab over the ink stain and dry with a blow dryer. If this doesn’t completely remove the ink, apply a thick layer of non-oily, non-gel cuticle remover. Leave it on for several hours and wipe off with a damp cloth.

Dark stains from light colored leather can be removed with a paste of 1 part cream of tartar to 1 part lemon juice. Rub the paste onto the stain and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Add another layer of the paste and work it into the first layer. Remove the paste with a damp sponge and moisturizing soap. Buff the leather dry with a soft cloth.

Grease stains can be simply wiped from the leather using a dry cloth. Do not apply water to the grease stain. The spot should dissipate in a short period of time.

Liquid spills should be cleaned from the leather immediately with a clean cloth or sponge. Liquid that is allowed to sit on the leather for an extended period of time will eventually be absorbed.

To protect your leather furniture and keep it from fading, drying out, and cracking, avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Keep your leather furniture at least 2 feet away from any heat source such as a radiator or fire place. To replenish the leather, mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts linseed oil. Shake well to mix and apply to the leather in circular motions, covering the entire surface. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and then buff with a soft cloth. A second buffing may be necessary.

It is important to avoid the use of saddle soap, furniture polish oil, varnish, abrasive cleanser, or ammonia water on your leather furniture. And always check for color changes in an inconspicuous part of the furniture before applying any product to the leather.

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