Leather furniture, while quite beautiful and elegant, can be a challenge to maintain. It can be easily damaged by improper cleaning techniques.
Before You Begin:
- Before you attempt to clean your leather furniture, it is important to determine the type of leather you’re working with. You can typically find this information on the tags attached to your furniture or in the written material distributed with your furniture. You can also contact your furniture retailer or manufacturer.
- The tags and other written information generally provide tips on cleaning your particular furniture. It is recommended that before attempting any of the suggestions offered in this article that you follow the cleaning procedures recommended by the manufacturer of your particular furniture.
- When you purchased your furniture your retailer may have supplied you with leather care products which may be more appropriate for your furniture than the cleaning solutions suggested here.
What You Will Need
- Vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment
- Mild liquid facial or body soap (such as Dove or Neutrogena)
- Distilled water*
- At least four soft rags
- Water-based leather protector/conditioner (found in most furniture stores)
*It is best to use distilled water because tap water may contain chlorine and other contaminants which can damage the surface of the leather.
- Vacuum the piece of furniture thoroughly, being sure to use the soft brush attachment (leather scratches easily). If the suction on your vacuum is too strong, consider using a smaller hand held vacuum with less power to prevent leaving marks on the leather.
- Mix a few drops of liquid soap with about a quart of distilled water, mixing until suds form.
- Test a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture first.
- Dip one of the rags in the soapy water and wring out thoroughly.
- Working one section at a time, wipe the surface of the furniture with the damp rag.
- Dip a separate rag in clean distilled water (no soap), wring thoroughly, and wipe away the soap residue.
- Dry thoroughly with the third rag.
- Buff the surface with the fourth clean rag to restore luster.
- Treat the surface with leather protector/conditioner as per product instructions.
Leather Furniture Stain Removal
Remember to ALWAYS test a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture first before using any of these methods.
Ink stains: Dip a cotton swab in rubbing (Isoprophl) alcohol and rub over the ink stain. Dry with a blow dryer set on its lowest setting.
Dark stains: (i.e. food, blood, etc.): Make a paste of one part cream of tartar with 1 part lemon juice. Rub this paste on the stain and leave it set for 10 minutes. Remove the paste with a damp rag and moisturizing soap, as described above for general cleaning. Buff the leather dry with a soft cloth.
Grease stains: Simply wipe stain from the leather using a dry cloth. Do not apply water to the grease stain.