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The Guide to Cleaning and Conditioning Leather Furniture

Posted on 17/11/2016

How to Clean and Care for Leather Furniture

leather furniture cleaning

Leather furniture cleaning can be a tricky task, as leather, especially genuine one, can easily get damaged if not treated in the appropriate manner. So, here is a full guide on how to clean your leather sofas, chairs and other furniture pieces, remove different types of stains from them and condition them for the perfect finish.

Start with Vacuuming

The first step to leather upholstery cleaning is to remove all the surface dirt and dust from your furniture pieces. Take out your vacuum cleaner and use a soft brush attachment to vacuum the dust from the cushions, armrests, backrest and all other parts of your leather sofa or chair. Don’t forget the creases and hidden nooks under cushions and between the sofa body and the armrests either, as these are the places that collect the most dust.

vacuum furniture
Wipe Your Furniture Down

Next, use a microfiber or cotton cloth to wipe down your furniture pieces and remove any dust that may be left over after the vacuuming. While you are doing that, inspect your furniture and identify any problem areas where there may be harder-to-remove dirt or stains that you need to work on additionally.

upholstery cleaning
Clean Dirtier Areas

For this part of the leather furniture cleaning process you can use a simple homemade furniture cleaner – just mix equal parts of water and vinegar into a bowl. Dip a soft cloth into this mixture and gently wipe down the soiled areas of your leather furniture pieces. Rinse your cloth often to prevent transferring dirt to the already clean parts of the furniture.

sofa cleaning
Dry the Furniture Piece

Finally, dry your furniture with a soft clean cloth to remove all traces of the sofa cleaning solution. Make sure you remove all saturation, as if you don’t, it may cause mould to develop on your furniture. Also, never soak leather; just moisten it instead to prevent damages.

furniture cleaners
Stain Removal Tips

To remove stains from your leather sofas or chairs, use the following techniques:

Grease stains – Wipe those away with a clean, dry cotton or microfiber cloth. If it’s dried-up grease you have to remove, sprinkle the stain with baking soda, let it sit for a couple of hours and then wipe it off with a dry cloth. Never use water to clean grease stains off leather.

Ink stains – your best bet for removing ink stains from leather is rubbing alcohol. Moisten a cotton swab with alcohol and dab the ink stain. Rubbing alcohol can be used for removing mould and mildew stains from leather furniture too.

Dark stains on light-coloured leather – Beige, white and grey leather furniture pieces are notoriously prone to staining. To remove dark-coloured blemishes from light-coloured leather, use the following stain removal solution: Mix equal parts cream of tartar and lemon juice to form a paste. Apply this paste onto the stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Finally, wipe this leather cleaner away with a damp cloth and the stain will be gone.

stain removal
Keep in mind that you should never experiment with stain removers on leather and only use tried and tested techniques, as otherwise you may end up causing irreversible damage to your leather furniture.


After you are done with leather furniture cleaning, you should condition your furniture so that the results of your cleaning efforts last longer and so that you give it a beautiful shine. For leather conditioning, you can use a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts flax seed or linseed oil. Apply the mixture onto your sofa and chairs with a soft cloth and let it sit overnight. On the next day, buff the leather with a soft, dry rug to restore its natural shine.

leather furniture conditioning
Use these tips and techniques to clean your leather furniture and remove any stains from it. With just a bit of thought and effort, you can handle leather upholstery cleaning quite quickly and easily.

Richard Carey
Richard Carey

A fervent advocate for Eco-friendly cleaning, Richard is a seasoned cleaning expert with years of experience. He has been instrumental in assisting numerous homeowners and business owners in maintaining hygienic and fresh-smelling properties.