Leather Sofas: How to Maintain Them & Keep Them Clean

LeatherLeather sofas are one of the loveliest things to grace your living room. But as anyone who has purchased one knows, they require a specific type of maintenance that regular cloth-covered sofas don’t. So you’ve purchased a leather sofa for the first time and are enjoying its beauty. But it’s time to clean it, and you’re a bit stumped, right?

Here are three key tips to keeping that leather lovely:

1) Dust the Sofa Thoroughly. Make sure all the large bits are vacuumed up with a soft brush attachment, then wipe the entire surface down with a clean, damp cloth. Be sure not to scratch the leather with the plastic attachments. Use the soft brush attachment instead.

2) Less Is More. If there are only a few dirty spots, concentrate on those and leave the rest alone. For suede or nubuck, a different method is required, such as a special suede cleaner—preferably with natural ingredients.

3) No Harsh Cleaners, No Harsh Rubbing. Mild, organic soap is best for leather. Why? Leather is essentially animal skin. Cleaners containing sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate, for instance) have been proven to be harsh on humans, so why would it be any different for sofas made of leather? As for harsh rubbing, this will simply push the dirt into the material. You can also make a mixture of special leather cleaner (just a few drops will do), or mix equal parts white vinegar and water.

4) Clean on a Regular Schedule. It’s best if leather is cleaned every three months, or at the very least, twice a year, depending on how much usage you’re getting out of your leather furniture. If you have kids or pets, more regular cleaning is necessary. If it’s just you, or perhaps you and a significant other, and no pets, you’ll likely be okay with a less frequent schedule. That is, unless you’re prone to dust allergies, then you might want to keep to a more rigorous cleaning timetable.

5) When Drying, Use a Cloth. Some people might have the idea of using a hair dryer on leather. This is not ideal as leather will dry out this way. Again, it is animal skin, and you want the leather to remain smooth and soft. Hot, dry air from a dryer has a dehydrating effect. Instead, use a cloth to wipe leather dry after using the damp cloth.

Just these five tips to keep your leather sofa clean and well-maintained is simply a jump-start.

Again, with suede or nubuck, different methods are required, but once you have the basics down for regular leather or suede upholstery, you’ll be ready for more advanced cleaning tips.

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