How to Clean a Leather Sofa in 5 Easy Steps

how to clean a leather sofa

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Leather sofas can look stunning and sleek for many years if you clean them frequently. Keeping your leather couch clean may seem like a difficult task initially, but it can actually be relatively easy, especially if you care for it regularly. This article will teach you how to clean a leather sofa with your regular cleaning products and tools, such as a vacuum, or feather duster, when a simple dry cloth simply is not enough.

Getting Started

What Household Products Can You Use to Clean Leather?

Since leather is a natural material, harsh chemicals are not advised for cleaning your leather sofa. While commercial leather cleaners exist, often, a homemade solution can function just as well. The following solutions are two of our favoured water-based cleaner options.

Soaps with a mild pH are often the best option when it comes to cleaning leather. You can use a liquid soap or a bar of soap mixed with warm water.

Equal parts white vinegar and water can also be used to clean leather sofas and furniture. It is considered a tremendous all-natural option and works as a gentle stain remover.

Saddle soap is a specially designed leather cleaner that can also be used for cleaning and leather care. However, it has the potential to harden the leather on your couch or possibly darken the colour a bit, so always make sure to test it beforehand.

What You’ll Need

Gather these supplies before you begin:

  • Two or more Microfiber cloths or another type of soft cloth
  • Cleaning solution: white vinegar, saddle soap, or mild soap
  • Leather cream
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Tap or distilled water

How to Clean a Leather Sofa: Simple Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Wipe Down or Vacuum Your Entire Sofa

The first step to cleaning your leather sofa and furniture is to remove any loose dirt or debris on the surface. This helps to reduce the chance of scratches when you use the cleaning solution later on.

You can use a soft brush attachment with your vacuum, a dry rag, or a soft microfibre cloth to wipe the surface of the leather furniture. We recommend using your vacuum as it cleans out the crevices with greater ease and efficiency.

Step 2: Prepare Your Preferred Cleaning Solution

Now it’s time to prepare the cleaning solution of your choice.

If you are using white vinegar to clean your leather sofa, combine equal parts water and vinegar in a small bowl. You can also try adding several drops of tea tree oil to the solution to condition the leather while you clean it.

If you are using a mild liquid soap, mix a small amount in about two cups of warm water. If you are using a bar of mild soap, move on to the next step.

Pro Tip: If you have hard tap water, you may want to try using distilled water, as otherwise, the minerals in tap water have the potential to leave marks on your sofa.

Step 3: Test Your Cleaner on a Small Spot

Using a clean cloth, test a few strokes of your homemade cleaner on a less visible area of the sofa. Wait for it to dry completely, so you can be sure it will not alter the colour of the leather. If you are satisfied with the results, it is time to start cleaning.

Step 4: Clean Your Sofa With a Soft Cloth

cleaning leather sofa with cloth

You will want to use one clean, damp rag for cleaning and one clean rag for drying for this step.

Dip a clean cloth into the cleaning solution, or rub the cloth across the bar of mild soap and dampen it in the sink. Make sure the cloth is damp, not wet, as you want to avoid applying any excess liquid to the leather on your sofa.

Wipe your leather sofa with the damp cloth from top to bottom. Pay special attention to the crevices and corners where dirt tends to build up. Use small, gentle circular motions to target spots or stains.

Wipe the sofa dry as you work using your other hand. Ensure you dry the leather thoroughly and switch out your drying cloth for another when it becomes wet.

Pro Tip: To target a stubborn stain, you can also try using baby wipes. Just makes sure to test an inconspicuous spot first.

Step 5: Finish With a Leather Conditioner

When you are done cleaning the entire surface of your leather sofa, we recommend finishing up with a leather conditioner. This will add moisture to the leather and may also prevent cracking over time.

Even though the benefits associated with using a leather conditioner are obvious, this step may not need to be done as frequently as the rest of the cleaning process. We recommend you use the conditioner once or twice per year at most.

You should follow the directions on the leather conditioner product you purchase, but for the most part, they require you to buff the leather in a circular motion gently. After you’ve finished the entire process, you should let it sit for several hours before attempting to use the surface of the furniture like normal again.

Additional Things to Consider

How Do You Remove Ink Stains From a Leather Sofa?

Ink stains on a leather sofa may be a bit more difficult to remove, but it is not impossible, especially if you tackle them while they are still wet.

To remove an ink stain, start by blotting the stain to remove as much of the ink as possible. Take care not to rub it further into the material. Then, blot the ink stain with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Change the cotton ball frequently and continue until no more ink is being lifted.

How Do You Remove Oil and Grease Stains From Leather Furniture?

Removing oil and grease also requires a bit more effort. Blot any wet stains with baking soda or corn starch. Oil and grease tend to stick to baking soda, making it great for this task. Let the powder sit for several minutes, and then gently rub in a circular motion. Vacuum up the powder, and you are all set.

The Leather Cleaning Process Made Easy

After reading through our article, you should know all about how to clean a leather sofa and what supplies you will need to get the job done. Just remember to always clean up liquid stains as soon as they occur, test a spot first when using a new cleaning product, and clean your leather sofa two or three times per year, and you’ll do great.

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