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How to clean a leather sofa

Real leather sofas and chairs are a popular choice, and for good reason. There’s no substitute for the look, feel and smell of gorgeous, butter soft, 100% leather upholstery with its beautiful natural grain. Leather only improves with age, and lasts for years if you look after it properly. However, cleaning leather furniture can cause confusion and often unnecessary worry about getting it wrong, so we’re here to help. Read on for our top tips on how to clean a leather sofa.
Guides Hints & Tips
Leather Sofa Care

TIP 1: Make sure it’s the real deal

Some faux leathers are so convincing they’re hard to tell apart from real leather. Many dining chairs, for example, look as if they have leather upholstery but it’s really faux leather. So make sure your classic brown leather Chesterfield or sleek contemporary black corner sofa is actually a real leather sofa. If it’s the real deal… read on!


TIP 2: Vacuum with a soft brush first

To remove dust and small debris from your leather sofa, armchair or footstool regularly vacuum the entire body. Make sure you use a soft brush attachment, as a plastic vacuum nozzle directly on the leather could mark it. Vacuuming off surface dust and dirt first ensures that these particles are not pressed into the fine grain of the leather during the cleaning process. The same is true for fabric sofas – vacuum first, before cleaning.


TIP 3: Blot with a damp cloth

For small marks or excess dust removal, use a damp (but not wet) cloth and very gently blot the problem area. Wring out the cloth thoroughly so there’s no excess water that could saturate and damage the leather. Avoid forceful wiping or scrubbing movements at all costs. A ‘less is more’ approach is required – small, grimy spots of dirt should not require more than gentle blotting. For more difficult patches of soiling use a damp, soapy cloth with the soap ideally all natural and fragrance free. Alternate with a clean, dry cloth to lift off the dirt and prevent the leather from getting wet.


TIP 4: Use only specialist leather cleaning products

For larger or deeper stains that have penetrated into the leather, you will need to buy a professional leather cleaning product. Only ever use a product designed specifically for leather. Any other cleaning products, particularly household sprays, can strip away the leather’s natural oils, causing it to dry out and crack over time. Test the leather care product out on a small patch of the sofa that’s out of sight before you apply it anywhere else. Once you’re confident that the particular product will work well with your sofa, carefully follow the product’s directions for use. Always apply minimal amounts and add more if required.



TIP 5: Condition the leather regularly

Leather is a natural material, and will only stay soft, smooth, supple and shiny if you condition it regularly, just as you might care for the wood of a solid oak coffee table. Once your leather sofa is completely dry after cleaning, massage a light coating of leather preservative over the entire sofa, following the manufacturer’s instructions with care. Use a clean cloth and work in circular motions, focusing on one area at a time. For best results use a natural, wax-based conditioner. Once complete, buff the sofa all over with another clean cloth to make the leather really shine.

You do not need to condition the leather after wiping small areas of dirt, however we’d recommend doing so after a more rigorous clean, or at monthly intervals.



We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips on how to clean a leather sofa, chair or footstool and that you’ll enjoy your beautiful leather living room furniture for many years to come.

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