A professional cleaning a leather sofa.

How to Clean a Leather Sofa to Restore Its Shine

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A stained sofa’s appearance dulls over time, even if it is classy. So, learn how to clean a leather sofa with simple household materials to restore its shine and prevent it from cracking and fading from regular use. Luckily, our detailed guide covers all you need to know.

How Often Should You Clean Leather Furniture?

 Blue feather duster cleaning household items to tidy up a leather sofa

Clean your leather couch at least once a week by dry-dusting it with a microfiber cloth to remove built-up crumbs or dust. If you do not have a microfiber cloth, you can use the soft bristle of your vacuum cleaner extension. After all, you should add cleaning your leather sofa to your regular vacuuming routine.

However, if you notice tough stains, you know it is time to do a thorough cleaning. You should thoroughly clean your leather sofa at least once a month. We have outlined some methods of cleaning different stains on your leather couch to give you an easy cleaning time.

Although a wipe-down is more effective when you use a leather cream conditioner, a thorough wipe-down will guarantee a deep clean and conditioning, thus preventing cracks and discoloration. Let us explore some of these methods that will leave your leather sofa with a sparkle if you do not want to cover it for maintenance.

a) Cleaning a Leather Couch

If you are going to clean after every week, you will need simple things like a washcloth, dish soap, and a leather conditioner. Follow the step below to keep you going.

Materials You Will Need

  • Microfiber towels or clean washcloths
  • Dish Soap
  • Leather conditioner

1. Wipe Down the Couch

Leather sofa cleaning, woman's hand removes the dust with cloth from the firniture,clean the spot.

If you don’t have the materials mentioned above, you can buy leather wipes at the store. However, if you have them, you must dampen your microfiber towel by dipping it into soapy water. Next, add some drops of dish soap and wipe down the dirty surfaces. Start with the armrests and back as you progress to the cushions and back.

2. Dry the Couch

After wiping all the surfaces, you can dry the couch thoroughly with a dry washcloth to remove the remaining excess water so that you can start conditioning your couch.

3. Condition the Leather Furniture

Before you start conditioning the leather furniture, following the manufacturer’s instructions would be best. First, it will help you choose the best conditioners for your couch. Then, once you get the leather conditioner that suits your couch, apply it to the leather surface of the couch as though you were applying lotion to your skin.

Pro Tip: Using the wrong conditioner for your seats may damage your leather sofa. So after using a leather conditioner, ensure you document the products you used, then save the receipts in case you may need to redeem a warranty.

b) How to Remove Regular Stains on a Leather Couch

Most leather sofas are made using absorbent materials, which is why you need to be keen while cleaning them to avoid spreading dirt. In most cases, leather stains are always removed using a cloth and dishwasher soap.

Materials You Will Need

  • Microfiber towels or clean washcloths
  • Dish Soap
  • Leather conditioner

1. Start with the Soap

cleaning leather sofa at home with sponge and towels

As we discussed, you can remove stains using a dish or regular soap. Add warm soapy water to a damp cloth and apply it to the dirty area.

2. Scrub in Circles

Rub the stained area in small circles. Avoid rubbing back and forth as you risk getting wearing it out. Instead, rub in circles as you prevent your seat from getting wet. After you finish, you can dry out the area using a clean towel.

c) How to Clean Grease Stains from a Leather Couch

The only way to know whether you are dealing with a grease-stained couch is the slimy feel you get after wiping it down with dish soap and water. The steps below will help restore your couch to its previous sparkle.

Materials You Will Need

  • Microfiber towels or clean washcloths
  • Dish Soap
  • Baking soda

1. Sprinkle Baking Soda

man cleaning moldy couch at home by sprinkling baking soda on it

To remove the greasy feel from your couch, sprinkle some baking soda on the greased surface, then let it sit for some hours until the baking soda absorbs all the oil.

2. Wipe the Stains Off

Once the baking soda sits in, you can wipe away the stains using a soft dry cloth. You can repeat the cleaning process using a damp cloth if there is any excess baking soda.

d) How to Remove Ink Stains From a Leather Couch

It would be best if you did not worry about getting the ink stains out, as you can clean a leather couch with ink stains with materials from your home.

Materials You Will Need

  • Microfiber towels or clean washcloths
  • Rubbing alcohol

1. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Sofa cleaning using rubbing alcohol gel

Apply the rubbing alcohol to a microfiber towel and dab it on the ink stains until they start to fade. Ensure you dab instead of rubbing to prevent the spread of ink to other parts of the couch.

2. Pat Dry

Once all stains fade out, you can dry the area by patting it gently with a clean washcloth. If you notice any stains after cleaning, you can repeat the steps.

e) How to Remove Wax or Gum From a Leather Couch

Let’s say you’ve got gum or wax stuck on your leather couch, do not panic, as there is a way to get rid of it.

Materials You Will Need

  • Microfiber towels or clean washcloths
  • A spoon
  • Ice Cubes

1. Cool Down the Area

You can place some ice cubes on the affected area as you wait for the gum to harden to be possible to remove it.

2. Gently Scrape Away the Gum or Wax

Once the gum is hardened, pick the debris using your fingernails or spoon. Avoid using a knife or anything with a sharp edge, as it may tear or scratch the leather.

3. Consult the Leather Manufacturer

As you continue cleaning, you should take note of the progress if the method works. You can always contact the manufacturers when unsure of how to remove the wax or gum. Some damage on the leather furniture may require professional help, as if you do it yourself, you may destroy the furniture. Go through the tip outlined below to make your furniture last

  1. Wipe any spills on the leather furniture as soon as they happen.
  2. Then, vacuum cleans your sofa at least once a week.
  3. Keep your leather furniture in a shaded place or use leather sofa covers to prevent it from cracking or fading.
  4. Avoid sitting on your leather couch if you are sweaty since you can transfer your body oils to the couch and cause stains or discoloration.
  5. Buy the best leather couch for your dogs or furry animals to avoid constantly cleaning out fur from your couch.

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About the author

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.