How To Clean A Leather Sofa Step By Step


Leather furniture is one of those things that is never out of style for long. Leather sofas especially, as they always look classic and compliment a wide range of decor styles. When were Chesterfield sofas not popular?

The benefit to leather sofas is that they age well, as do most leather products. By nature, leather is a porous, breathable material that allows it to change over time. Think of it like your skin - if you take care of it, it will age well.

But what does good care involve? To start with, you’ll need to learn how to properly clean your leather sofa, how to condition it, and how to deal with any stains.

Here is a breakdown of cleaning a leather sofa.

Tools For Cleaning A Leather Sofa

Before you get started, you’ll need a few things to hand to properly clean your sofa.

You’ll also need the following for stain removal:

How To Clean A Leather Sofa Step By Step

Now you can get started with cleaning your leather sofa.

Step 1: Vacuum and remove debris

Once you’ve taken your throws and cushions off the sofa, start by giving it a good vacuum with the brush head attachment. The bristles will be gentle on the leather and less likely to leave scratches.

Vacuum with slow, sweeping movements over the entire surface of the sofa. Pull out the cushions and get into seams and crevices to ensure you pick up all crumbs, dirt, and dust.

This is essential as if there is any dirt left over, it can causes scratches to the leather in the later cleaning steps.

Step 2: Check The Care Label

Before you start applying any type of product you should first check the care label on your sofa. This should help you identify the type of leather it is made from, as well as the different methods you can and can’t use to clean it.

When purchasing your sofa, ask for advice on how you should go about cleaning it. Any reputable supplier should be able to give you good advice specific to your sofa and the type of leather it is made from.

If your leather sofa didn’t come from a specialist supplier, see if you can track down the company that actually made it. They should be able to give you the advice you need.

Step 3: Water and Soap

Saddle soap is a specific type of soap used to clean leather. Mix some of the soap with a bowl of room temperature water. Grab a clean microfibre cloth and wet it in the water, then wring out. Make sure the cloth is damp, not wet. Using a wet cloth can cause water stains on the leather, but a damp cloth will avoid this.

Wipe down the entire sofa with your damp cloth, rinsing it in the soapy water when necessary. Work your way from top to bottom, cleaning the cushions separately. Pay special attention to any light stains.

Step 4: Dry The Sofa

Take another clean microfibre cloth, or a plush clean towel and pat the sofa dry. Doing this will avoid any mildew forming on the leather.

Wait until it is completely dry before continuing to the next step. This may require some air drying time.

Step 5: Condition and Buff

Finally, apply some leather conditioner or cream with another clean microfibre cloth. Put a small amount onto the cloth, then apply to your leather sofa with wide circular motions.

Let it sink in, then buff to a shine if you want. If you have a soft leather sofa this won’t be possible, but most finished leather sofas can be buffed to a shine.

Applying a leather conditioner or cream helps to moisturise the leather, keeping it hydrated and healthy. Doing this can also help prevent cracks.

For regular cleaning you can simply repeat step 1. However to keep your leather sofa in the best possible condition, complete all the steps every 3-6 months, and twice a year at a minimum.

Spot Removing Stains

For more stubborn stains that weren’t taken care of with a normal cleaning routine, you can try a spot cleaning method.

Dip a cotton swab in some rubbing alcohol and apply it gently to the stain. Make sure you only apply it directly to the stain and not the general area, as this can spread the stain.

Rub the stain gently until it lifts. Make sure to pat the area dry afterward to prevent any mildew appearing.

If you have any grease stains on your leather sofa, sprinkle some baking soda/bicarb on the area and let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum off. The baking soda will absorb the oil and remove the stain.

General Leather Sofa Care Tips

Know When To Call The Professionals

If you’re faced with a particularly difficult stain, or a difficult type of leather to clean, it may be better to get a professional to do the cleaning. Mistakes can ruin the leather, and in the end aren’t worth the risk.

Always test your cleaning solutions on an inconspicuous area of your sofa first, and if discolouring occurs a professional will have the knowledge and experience to properly clean the leather without ruining it.

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