Home>Blog>Leather Couch Cleaning Guide: How to Clean and Protect Your Furniture

Leather Couch Cleaning Guide: How to Clean and Protect Your Furniture

Castlery   |   Jan 20, 2022

A soft, luxurious leather couch or furniture can be the centerpiece of your home, providing comfort, style, and sophistication. To preserve its beauty and extend its lifespan, regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the best practices and expert tips on how to clean and protect your cherished leather couch and furniture. Whether you're dealing with spills, stains, or routine maintenance, our step-by-step instructions will ensure that your leather upholstery remains as good as new.

Low-profile leather sofa with wide arms Pictured: Low-slung and designed with clean silhouette and lounge-worthy modular seating, Jonathan leather sofa takes comfy lounging to the next level.

Understanding Leather Types and Care

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's essential to understand the different types of leather and their care requirements. Genuine leather, bonded leather, and synthetic leather all have distinct characteristics and cleaning methods. By identifying the type of leather you have, you can choose the appropriate cleaning techniques and products.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your leather couch or furniture, it's crucial to prepare the area and gather the necessary tools and cleaning supplies. We'll provide a checklist of items you'll need, including

  • mild leather cleaners,
  • microfiber cloths,
  • soft brushes,
  • and leather conditioners. Proper preparation ensures a smooth cleaning process without damaging the leather.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

Follow our step-by-step guide to effectively clean your leather couch or furniture:

  1. Remove Loose Debris: Begin by gently vacuuming or brushing the leather surface to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris.
  2. Spot Test: Perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that the cleaning products you'll be using don't cause any discoloration or damage to the leather.
  3. Clean with Mild Leather Cleaner: Dampen a microfiber cloth with a mild leather cleaner and gently wipe the entire surface of the leather, paying extra attention to any stains or spills. Avoid using excessive water or soaking the leather, as it can cause damage.
  4. Address Stains and Spills: For specific stains like ink, food, or grease, use specialized leather stain removers or a mixture of mild soap and water. Follow the product instructions and blot the stains gently with a clean cloth.
  5. Rinse and Dry: Dampen another microfiber cloth with clean water and wipe away any remaining residue from the cleaning process. Immediately follow with a dry cloth to absorb excess moisture.
  6. Conditioning: Apply a high-quality leather conditioner to keep the leather supple and prevent drying or cracking. Gently massage the conditioner into the leather using circular motions, and wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. This trick can also be applied to most furniture, from fabric stools to velvet armchairs - a little care and attention now and then goes a long way.

Low profile brown leather sofa and ottoman On the look-out for something masculine and moody? The Jonathan Leather Extended Sofa in Taupe sets the mood for you.

Tips for Long-Term Maintenance and Protection

Cleaning is just one part of leather maintenance. To ensure your leather couch or armchairs maintains its beauty and durability, here are some essential tips for long-term maintenance and protection:

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause leather to fade and become brittle. Position your furniture away from windows or use curtains or blinds to protect it from harmful UV rays.
  • Regular Dusting: Dust your leather upholstery regularly with a soft brush or microfiber cloth to prevent dirt and debris from settling into the crevices.
  • Clean Spills Immediately: Accidental spills happen, so it's crucial to clean them immediately with a blotting motion using a clean cloth or paper towel. Prompt action prevents stains from setting into the leather.
  • Use Protective Covers: Consider using protective covers, especially if you have young children or pets. These covers act as a barrier against spills, stains, and scratches.

Leather ottoman on wooden floors The ottoman not only works as a footrest – it also doubles up as extra seating when guests come around, or even a makeshift coffee table.

Additional Care for Different Leather Types

Different leather types require specific care. Here are some additional considerations and tailored care instructions for common leather types:

  • Aniline Leather: Aniline leather is known for its natural and luxurious appearance. To care for aniline leather, avoid using harsh cleaning agents or excessive water. Instead, gently blot spills with a clean cloth and use a specialized aniline leather cleaner and conditioner to maintain its softness and natural patina.
  • Nubuck Leather: Nubuck leather has a soft, velvety texture but is more susceptible to stains and scratches. Use a nubuck-specific cleaner and brush to remove dirt and stains gently. Regularly apply a nubuck leather protector to maintain its appearance and protect against moisture.
  • Faux Leather: Faux leather, also known as synthetic leather, requires different care than genuine leather. Wipe faux leather upholstery with a damp cloth and mild soap solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that may damage the material. Apply a faux leather conditioner to keep it supple and prevent cracking.

A pair of leather armchairs styled with a pile of books Seeking something sleek for your reading nook? The Desmond Leather Armchair, with its curved backrest, supports you through the plot of your current read.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When cleaning and maintaining leather furniture, it's important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to damage. Here are some mistakes to steer clear of:

  • Using Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach, ammonia, or solvents on your leather upholstery. These can cause discoloration, dryness, and even cracking.
  • Using Abrasive Materials: Scrubbing leather with abrasive materials such as rough brushes or abrasive sponges can scratch or damage the surface. Stick to soft cloths, microfiber towels, or gentle brushes specifically designed for leather cleaning.
  • Excessive Water Usage: Overly wetting leather can lead to water stains or damage. Use a damp cloth or sponge rather than soaking the leather. Ensure you dry the leather promptly after cleaning to prevent moisture absorption.
  • Ignoring Manufacturer's Instructions: Each leather product may have specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer. It's important to read and follow these instructions carefully to avoid any potential damage or voiding of warranties.

Caring for your leather couch or furniture doesn't have to be daunting. With our comprehensive guide on how to clean and protect your leather upholstery, you can maintain its beauty, softness, and longevity for years to come. Remember to follow the step-by-step cleaning process, adopt proper long-term maintenance practices, and address specific care requirements based on your leather type. By dedicating time and attention to the care of your leather pieces, you'll continue to enjoy their luxurious comfort and elegance.

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