How To Clean Leather Furniture: Sofas, Chairs, and More

How To Clean Leather Furniture: Sofas, Chairs, and More

Home furnishings made of leather have the most durable, long-lasting surfaces compared to most fabric options, but they get dirty nonetheless. When properly maintained, leather only gets better with age and lasts for years. You know, just like fine wine.

One thing about leather furniture is that it needs special care and attention to maintain its quality. Over time, it will require a thorough cleaning to maintain its natural beauty and shine.

When you think about cleaning leather furniture all you can imagine is using leather couch cleaner products that have been specially made for leather or suede. However,you can use homemade leather cleaner made from your household items. 

Some products to avoid are ammonia and bleach because they can stain the colour of your sofa over time.

To keep leather furniture soft and moisturized, you will need to dust it with a dry cloth and treat it with a leather conditioner. And if you think cleaning leather furniture is a difficult task, take heart because it's easier than you think. 

How to Clean Leather 

Cleaning leather furniture is important because it preserves its quality and helps you maintain its value.

A common misconception is that you should never clean leather furniture. But this is not true. The fact is, if you want to keep your leather furniture in good condition, you need to clean it regularly. This way, dirt will not permanently settle into the leather and damage it.

Cleaning your leather furniture can be done by anyone, but it requires a certain amount of care and attention so you don’t damage or ruin the material by accident. However, you can easily clean your leather with a little work and the right products for cleaning upholstery.


marie kondo quote

How To Clean Leather Couch (How to Clean a Leather Couch Naturally)

Step 1- Gather Your Cleaning Products

Using the right leather couch cleaning products can be challenging, especially if you want to keep your leather furniture looking and smelling as new as possible. 

Luckily, we've compiled the best homemade leather cleaner to care for your leather furniture.

  • Vacuum with a brush attachment
  • Cotton wool/swap
  • Microfiber cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Fairy liquid
  • Dish soap/, Dovesoap, or detergent
  • Distilled water
  • Leather conditioner

A few simple materials can help keep your leather couch in good shape with weekly cleanings. You only need a clean washcloth, dish soap, and leather conditioner to get started.


3 seater leather sofa

Step 2 - Vacuum Thoroughly


To clean your leather furniture, remove all the dust and loose debris. 

If your cushions are removable, make sure you vacuum their undersides, the folds, and the creases of the coach. You can then attach the brush to the vacuum’s hand and sweep it over your leather. The bristles are gentle and less likely to scratch the leather.

Once finished, use a microfiber cloth or feather to wipe out all the debris from the sofa, as it can scratch the leather.

If you clean your leather furniture without removing these micro-bacteria infestations, they can remain on the couch even after the clean-up.

Vacuuming your couch thoroughly is very important, especially if you’re a pet owner, as pets tend to leave even the tiniest germs and bacteria in the creases of the sofa.

l-shape brown leather sofa with cushions

Step 3 - Select the Cleaning Solution


(How to Clean a Leather Couch Without Leather Cleaner + How to Clean a Leather Couch With Household Products)

It's challenging to clean leather furniture because dirt and oil get into the pores, and it’s a material that requires specific cleaning products to keep it looking new. 


You can clean your leather furniture without damaging the surface or using harmful chemicals. We'll look at soaps, detergents, vinegar, and other solutions for cleaning dirty leather items.

It’s also important to check the cleaning instructions attached to your couch before using any method, as the tags hold the guide on how you should clean it and how you should not. These are commonly listed under your sofa cushions and other accessories that come with your couch.

Some instructions can be challenging to understand because of the letters and symbols they contain. They include:

  • W:ou can clean with water.
  • S:ou should use a solvent-based cleaner. No water.
  • WS:You can use either water or water-free detergent.
  • X: No liquid cleaning, but vacuuming is allowed.

cleaning a black leather sofa with a white cloth

Cleaning Leather Furniture Using Vinegar

(How to Disinfect Leather Couch + How to Clean a Leather Couch That Smells and How to Clean a Leather Couch That Smells like Smoke)

Vinegar is an excellent product for cleaning leather furniture.. It has the benefit of killing bacteria, eliminating odors, and leaving behind a clean, fresh scent.

  • Mix equal parts of distilled water and white vinegar. 
  • Spray or pour the mixture onto a clean, soft cloth. 
  • Gently wipe the entire surface of your leather furniture, until damp,not wet.
  • Let it dry for about an hour before using the piece again. 

Although vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent, it can dry out the leather material of your furniture if used directly. But if it’s diluted with equal amounts of water, it can clean your leather very well and even make it feel soft and look brighter.

How to Clean Leather Furniture With Baking Soda

(How to Clean a Leather Couch That Smells like Dog + How to Clean a Leather Couch from Dog Urine)

If your leather furniture is just scuffed up or dusty, you can use baking soda to clean it. Baking soda has natural abrasive properties that help remove any dirt or grime embedded in the leather. It also has the ability to neutralize smells.

Sprinkle baking soda on the area you want to clean. Use a soft cloth to scrub it into the leather to absorb all that dirt or dust and make it easier for you to clean it off later on.

If any other areas need cleaning, such as on the arms of the chair or any other parts of the furniture, sprinkle baking soda, then take another soft cloth and wipe the dust.

Cleaning Leather Furniture with Dove soap

Dove soap is a great way to clean leather furniture. It’s best used on lighter colored leather. When cleaned with soap, older leather furniture will look its best because it will bring out its natural color. 

When cleaning leather furniture with soap and water, use a mild soap in nature. A strong soap will remove the natural oil content from your leather, promoting cracks on the leather surface if not treated well. 

Dove soap is less likely to damage or stain the leather than shoe polish or other products that are made for cleaning shoes.

  1. Fill a bucket with warm water and put in a fair amount of soap. 
  2. Dip your microfiber cloth into the soapy water.
  3. Wring out most of the water so it’s damp but not soaking. 
  4. Wipe the surface of your furniture in a circular motion until it’s shiny. Then wipe it again with a damp, soap-free white cloth.

You can also add vinegar to this mixture if your furniture is quite soiled.

Cleaning Leather Sofa With Fairy Liquid

Fairy liquid is most effective on any stains that can’t easily wipe off with a clean, damp cloth.

For harsh stains; 

  • Mix one part fairy liquid and five parts warm water 
  • Use a microfiber cloth to apply the mixture to the leather.
  • Wipe the moisture off the leather with a clean cloth and dry it with a soft cloth.

Unfortunately, the fairy liquid method may not be the best leather cleaner for any type of oil-based stain. Oily stains are more severe and should not have water placed on them.

If they don’t clean up using household products, it would be beneficial to try an approved leather cleaning product.

Related: Want to discover luxury bedding and bath sets available at our Culver City flagship store? Visit our modern bedroom furniture collection.

How to Clean a Leather Couch Stain

Grease and leather were never supposed to go together. Unfortunately, pet’s natural oils and food drops can leave stains on leather furniture.

Dish soap is gentle and safe to use on leather surfaces, especially when used sparingly. It’s effective when it comes to removing stains, kill germs, discolorations, bacteria, virus, and mold.

  • Using a microfiber cloth, blot as much grease as you can from the stained area.
  • To make lather, combine a few drops of dishwashing liquid with water.
  • Dampen the microfiber cloth.
  • Working in one direction, gently dab the stained area with the cloth
  • Repeat the procedure using another cloth and distilled water to remove any traces of cleaning solution and repeat as needed until the stain lifts

Dish soap is a good and affordable leather cleaner if you’re looking to keep your wallet intact while still maintaining the quality of your leather furniture.

Dish soap and warm water can also be the best homemade leather cleaner to clean faux leather following the same procedure.

Cleaning Leather Sofa with Baby Wipes

Before using baby wipes on your leather sofa, test it on a hidden area of the furniture first to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage. Once you have ensured it’s safe to use a baby wipe on your furniture, start wiping it gently. Consider using 100% natural brands for baby wipes that are gentle on skin.

Step 4 - Dry Your Furniture 

After you’ve finished cleaning your leather furniture, it’s essential to carefully and thoroughly dry it, as water can weaken the leather. 

The best way to dry leather furniture is by blotting away excess water with a clean cloth. Do not wipe or scrub. 

If possible, place it in front of a gentle fan or heater for quick drying, which takes around 30 minutes depending on humidity levels and thickness of the leather.

modern leather sofa

How Much Does it Cost to Clean a Leather Couch?

If your couch has stubborn stains that are untreated and you can’t DIY, then consider hiring a professional. Cleaning a leather couch will cost between $195 and $475, depending on the size of your couch, the difficulty of cleaning the surface and the type of couch.

elba sofa camel leather

Cleaning Leather Chair

Like couches and sofas, leather chairs require regular cleaning to ensure they remain in tiptop condition. 

First, you will need to clean the chair with a damp cloth. You can also use a slightly damp cloth and dove soap. Rub the cloth over the leather chair in small circular motions to remove marks or stains.

Take another clean wet cloth and wipe over the chair to remove any soap residue. You’ll finally need to dry your chair using another fresh cloth to remove excess moisture, which can weaken your leather chair if left to stay.

After you have cleaned the chair, you can use a conditioner to make it look glossy again.

purvi raniga quote

How to Clean White Leather

White leather furniture is particularly susceptible to stains and discoloration and so should be treated with special care to prevent yellowing from natural pollutants and cleaning products.

Treat stains immediately by dabbing them with a sponge dipped in diluted vinegar. Let the solution sit for five minutes, then blot it up with a clean, soft cloth.

If you catch the stain early enough, it may come out completely. If that doesn't work, try using a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Let it sit for 30 minutes so the baking soda can absorb some of the stain, then wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Leather Treatment

After cleaning and drying your leather furniture, the next step will involve conditioning the piece to keep it in great shape. 

Leather conditioners nourish and moisturize dry leather with oils and waxes meant to imitate the natural oils once present in the original animal skin.

Expert Tip: We recommend conditioning your items every time you clean them,  or with natural solutions or commercial products, twice every year. 

Most commercial products contain natural oils and waxes like beeswax, carnauba wax, or lanolin, which are - ingredients naturally found in animal skin itself. 

To make a homemade leather conditioner:

  1. Mix vinegar with lemon oil in equal parts. 
  2. Dip a cloth in the mixture. 
  3. Squeeze out any excess solution.
  4. Gently wipe the leather.


Before purchasing any furniture made with fine leather, research potential online stores thoroughly. Each online store will have its own website, which should provide more information about the company, its history and philosophy, and a list of products offered for sale. Before making any purchases from an online store, be sure you thoroughly research the company to ensure it’s reputable and trustworthy.

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The swivelling Sweeny Chair is ideal for an office environment, encompassing modern, yet timeless style. The soft Italian leather and low-hanging arms provide comfort and support throughout your workday.

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Leather is a durable and luxurious material, but it can develop cracks and become damaged if it's not cared for properly. If you want to maintain the beauty of your leather furniture avoid cleaning it using harsh soaps and chemicals, instead, dust regularly, using a duster or vacuum cleaner designed for use on delicate materials and use homemade leather cleaner products to deep clean your leather couch, sofas, and chairs.

Now that you’ve learned how to clean your leather furniture, how about discovering quality home accessories, accents, and gifts from coveted brands available at our Culver City flagship store?

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