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How To Properly Clean and Care for Genuine Leather Furniture

How To Properly Clean and Care for Genuine Leather Furniture

Leather furniture is an eye-catching addition to any room. Genuine leather brings style and intrigue to your space, turning your décor into a fashionable statement. Like all furniture, though, leather pieces take care and maintenance to preserve their original beauty. By staying on top of a cleaning routine, you can keep your favorite leather furniture looking and feeling incredible throughout its life span. Don’t let stains or scratches stress you out—instead, learn how to properly clean and care for genuine leather furniture with this guide.

Start with the Right Supplies

As with all projects, the first step is to gather your materials. You can’t take proper care of your furniture if you don’t have the right supplies on hand. Safely cleaning leather without fear of stains or other damage requires specific products. Avoid harsh cleaners, furniture polish, oils, varnishes, and other abrasive materials. Instead, stock your cleaning shelf with leather-safe products that will react gently and effectively with your furniture. Using saddle soaps and other leather-specific cleaning products is the best way to keep your furniture clean, fresh, and beautiful. You should also invest in soft microfiber cloths to blot or wipe away stains without damaging the leather.

Vacuum Away Debris

Before you take soap and water to your lovely leather European sectional or any other genuine leather pieces in your home, you need to bring out the vacuum. Vacuuming your leather sectional, armchair, or other furniture is a good habit to keep in general. This is the simplest way to get rid of dust, pet hair, and other debris that can gather in and on the piece over time. If your furniture still has crumbs or fur on it when you take a damp cleaning cloth to it, those materials will get in your way and ruin your cleaning job. Make life easier on yourself by taking your vacuum hose to the furniture first. While you’re at it, don’t forget to get into those hard-to-reach places beneath cushions and around seams.

Test Before You Clean

Most cleaning products recommend that you test the cleaner on an inconspicuous part of your furniture before you use it to clean the entire piece. This is a crucial practice when you’re caring for your genuine leather furniture. If a cleaning solution reacts poorly with the leather, it can permanently stain or damage the material. Clean with peace of mind by testing the cleaning material on a small, hidden part of your furniture piece. Give the product time to work and dry completely. If the leather is perfectly fine afterward, that product is safe to use on the entire piece of furniture.

Stains, Meet Soap and Water

If your gorgeous leather furniture suffers a mild stain, the best way to tackle it is with warm water and that leather-safe soap we mentioned above. Take a clean washcloth and dampen it in soapy water. Make sure the cloth isn’t dripping wet, as this can cause more of a mess as you work. Gently wipe away the stain while making sure you don’t let any part of the leather become too soaked. When you’re done, dry the area with another cloth to get rid of excess moisture. Leave the furniture alone overnight so that it can completely air-dry.

Tackling Harder Stains

Leather soap and warm water can tackle mild stains, but some messes will require a different solution. Below, we explore a couple of specific but common stains and how to get rid of them before they become permanent problems for your furniture.


Ink and other dark stains take a little more care than a few gentle swipes with a damp cloth. The key to cleaning these messes is to act quickly before the stain has a chance to set in and leave a permanent mark on your furniture. To tackle ink and similar dark stains, dip a cotton swab or cotton ball into rubbing alcohol and use this to dab the stain. Take care not to rub the stain, as this will spread it around instead of removing it. Use fresh cotton balls or swabs as needed until the stain is gone; then, thoroughly dry the area with a soft cloth.

Grease and Oil

Grease and oil stains don’t have to be a headache, even when they threaten your gorgeous leather furniture. If you notice such a mess on your sofa or chair, wipe the area with a clean, dry cloth. Don’t use water, as this can help the oil soak deeper into the leather. Sprinkle baking soda over the stain to draw out the grease. Leave the stain alone to give the baking soda time to absorb the oil. After a few hours or the next morning, vacuum or wipe away the baking soda.

Prevent Damage Before It Occurs

Now that you know how to clean your leather furniture, let’s talk about saving yourself some hassle in the first place. Preventative measures such as pet-proofing your furniture or protecting your favorite pieces from the sun can help you preserve your furniture over time.

Conditioning Your Leather Furniture

Conditioning is another crucial part of how to properly clean and care for genuine leather furniture. Leather contains natural oils that keep the material soft and supple over time. If you let these oils fade, your luxurious furniture pieces are more likely to crack and fade. Keep your favorite pieces looking and feeling brand new by applying a commercial leather conditioner every 6 to 12 months. You should also apply conditioner after cleaning so that the water and cleaning products don’t dry out your leather.

Pet Protection

Pet scratches are common complaints among owners of leather furniture. If your cat or dog gets their nails into your genuine leather, they’re going to leave unsightly scratch marks behind. Protect your furniture by training pets to stay away from it. Utilize protective furniture coverings, pet beds, and scratching posts to eliminate the temptation of your high-end furniture.

Stay Sun Safe

Natural light is a boon to any room, but it can damage your leather furniture if you’re not careful. If your leather pieces spend too much time in the sun, they’ll dry out and lose their gorgeous color. Protect your furniture by placing it away from direct sunlight. If you can’t avoid those naturally sunny areas, hang light-blocking curtains to preserve your furniture’s natural color. Conditioning more frequently can also keep your leather furniture in good shape if it spends a lot of time in the sun.

Even the most high-end furniture is only stylish when you keep it in good shape. These care tips will ensure your favorite pieces continue to make you smile for years to come.

How To Properly Clean and Care for Genuine Leather Furniture