If you’ve invested in a leather couch, it’s only natural you want to preserve its original appearance for years to come. And the key to that is taking care of your leather furniture properly and regularly. Cleaning and moisturising it will prevent the piece from developing unpleasant odours, drying out and deteriorating. By incorporating a bit of special treatment into your cleaning schedule, you will avoid the need of replacing it. We’ve prepared several step-by-step cleaning methods that you can choose from, depending on the type and severity of the stains.

Before you start, inspect the couch for any damage – rips and cracks need to be handled gently when cleaning. If the cushions are detachable, remove them, then vacuum the base of the couch and the crevices using the crevice attachment. After that, vacuum the entire surface of the couch with a soft brush attachment to remove any lingering dust.

And with that out of the way, let’s get down to cleaning.

How to clean a leather couch

Maintain and remove general stains from leather with saddle soap

Saddle soap was originally used for cleaning and maintaining leather saddles but it’s found its way into our homes. With it, you can clean, condition and preserve the original appearance of leather. By using it regularly, you apply more moisture to the leather, which in turn protects the furniture from the damage of regular use. Saddle soap can be applied on a wide range of other leather products like belts, boots, jackets and so on.

Recommended for

  • Maintenance
  • General stains
  • Stubborn stains

For this method you will need

  • Damp cloth
  • Saddle soap
  • A cloth or a sponge for applying the saddle soap
  • Dry cloth

How to clean leather with saddle soap

Start by cleaning the whole couch with a damp cloth. This will remove any dust and debris and will prepare the couch for the saddle soap application. Pay special attention to the seams and crevices, where dirt usually builds up. Dab into the soap with a clean cloth or sponge, then apply onto the surface of the couch. Rub gently in a circular motion until the soap is absorbed. Keep doing this until you’ve covered the whole surface of the couch. After you’re done, there’s no need to clean it with water. Only wipe the excess soap with a clean dry cloth.

We recommend conditioning the leather after you’ve cleaned it. Apply high-quality oils and conditioners on the whole surface and leave it to air-dry. It can take from several hours to a whole day before you can use your couch. It can be tempting to skip this step as it’s a bit time-consuming, but if you do, you’re risking the leather to dry out and wear-down more easily.

Repeat this process once every few months. It’s not recommended to use saddle soap more than once in 2-3 months, as it could do more harm than good.

warning

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what type of saddle soap is recommended for your leather couch, as they vary in quality and ingredients. For example, some contain oils which can darken the leather. The rule of thumb is that white saddle soaps are suitable for light-coloured leather, and yellow soap – for dark leather. Always test-clean on an unnoticeable area.

Remove grease stains with cornstarch

Use cornstarch to get grease stains off your leather couch. The sooner you apply it, the better it works. If the stain is old, you might need to repeat the process.

Recommended for

  • Grease stains

For this method you will need

  • Cornstarch
  • Damp cloth

How to clean leather with corn starch

Sprinkle a little bit of corn starch onto the grease stain and rub it in with circular motions. This helps heat up the area, which allows for the starch to absorb the grease better. Leave it like that for about half an hour. After that, brush off the starch away or vacuum it. Usually, applying the starch just once should be enough to absorb the grease. Repeat if necessary. At the end, wipe with a damp cloth. If the stain doesn’t come off after several tries, you might need to call in a professional cleaning company.

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Remove water stains by blending them in

Water may seem harmless, but if it’s let to dry out on any leather piece, it might leave a nasty stain behind.

Recommended for

  • Water stains

For this method you will need

  • Damp cloth
  • Dry cloth

How to remove water stains from leather

Dampen a clean cloth and start wiping the stain from its centre outwards. This will blend the edge of the spot with the surrounding area. Avoid harsh rubbing. Wipe with a dry cloth and leave the surface to air-dry. If you spill water again on your leather furniture, simply blot it with a soft cloth. Don’t use heaters or blow dryers as they will ruin the leather.

Related post: How to Clean Urine off a Couch

Remove ink stains using rubbing alcohol

Ink stains are some of the hardest to get out.

Recommended for

  • Ink stains

You will need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball or swab

How to clean leather with rubbing alcohol

Lightly dab the cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and gently spot-treat until the ink is gone. Use minimal pressure, otherwise, you risk rubbing the ink deeper into the leather. Spot treat only! Do not use more alcohol than needed or wipe the entire surface with it as this will inevitably dry it out. After you’re done, let the piece air-dry. If there is still ink residue, repeat the procedure.

warning

This method can work for genuine finished leather. Not recommended for unfinished leather.

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Clean leather using white vinegar

If you don’t have saddle soap and want to work with what you have in your cupboard, you can clean leather with plain white vinegar. Use this method to freshen your leather furniture and keep it clean.

Recommended for

  • General maintenance

For this method you will need

  • A cup of white vinegar
  • A few drops of tea tree oil (optional)
  • A cloth

How to clean leather with vinegar

In a bowl, put white vinegar and 5-10 drops of tea tree oil. Dampen a cloth with the solution and gently wipe the surface of your couch. You should never clean leather with a soaking cloth because you can do unnecessary damage.

Related post: Cleaning Vinegar vs White Vinegar | What’s the difference?

Takeaways

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always test-clean on an unnoticeable area.
  • The faster you can attend to a stain, the better.
  • Vacuum and dust clean on a weekly basis.
  • When cleaning leather, use barely damp, not wet cloths.
  • Do not place the couch near a heat source, as it can cause severe damage that no conditioners can reverse it.
  • And finally – tending regularly to your leather furniture will preserve it for longer.

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Related post: How to Clean a Velour Sofa. Step by Step Guide
  • Last update: May 30, 2020

Posted in All Articles, Cleaning Guides

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