Leather Cleaning Tips from a Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Leather has always been a popular choice for furniture, and it is not difficult to understand why. Leather furniture adds a certain classic, elegant touch to any home. When people think of leather furniture, it automatically means quality, comfort, and a style that is versatile and adaptable to changes you might make in your interior decorations.

Leather, as opposed to fabric furniture, can last you for years, as long as you take proper care of it. And there’s the rub: how do you take proper care of leather furniture and upholstery? How do you clean and nourish leather so that it does not get ruined, and can potentially last for many more years to come?

General Warning!

barstoolIt is always a good idea to test your cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous area of your leather first. This way, you can see if the surface will have an adverse reaction to your cleaning product, such as fading or staining. It’s the same as when you clean your carpets or even furniture with fabric upholstery. The importance of this preliminary checking is important, particularly for an expensive leather couch.

As a general rule, never over-saturate the leather with wet cleaning products, and steer clear of wax or oil-based products. The only exception is linseed oil, which dries quickly compared to other oils, which can saturate and damage the leather. There are different kinds of leather used in leather furniture, depending on how they were treated. Some contain a stronger protective coating than others, though this does tend to make them look less like natural leather. It is always a good idea, though, to keep leather furniture away from direct sunlight to prevent drying and cracking on the leather surface.

brushIf you are unsure about how best to clean your leather furniture, the great news is that many carpet cleaners also offer leather and upholstery cleaning services, and they bring the same kind of professionalism and expertise to cleaning leather upholstery as they give your carpets. We present some general guidelines on how to clean leather upholstery below, but it might be a good idea to ask your carpet cleaner whether or not they also provide cleaning for leather upholstery, and what their professional opinion is. Or better yet, hire these same professionals to do the cleaning for you.

How to Clean Leather Upholstery

Keeping the above warning in mind, here are a few ways by which you can clean your leather-upholstered furniture or car seats.

  • Quick Clean: Use leather wipes

A quick and easy way to clean leather seats is by using leather wipes, which you can get from your local auto parts store. This is a quick and easy way for you to clean leather surfaces without worrying that you’re damaging the leather. Many of these leather wipes also contain conditioner in addition to the cleaner, so that’s a plus right there!

  • Cleaning with water-vinegar solution

An inexpensive way to clean your leather seats using household products you readily have at home is by using a DIY cleaner made from water and vinegar. The proportions are three-quarters vinegar to one-quarter warm water.

Using a spray bottle, apply the solution to the leather surface of your furniture or car upholstery. Use a damp chamois to rub the solution into the surface lightly.

Once done, use plain water in the spray bottle, this time to rinse off the water-vinegar solution.  Leave to dry.

  • Clean with laundry detergent

Detergent can also be used to clean leather furniture and upholstery. Start off by brushing off any dust and dirt that may have accumulated in the small nooks and crannies of the sofa. Then, using a mixture of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of detergent, spray the surface of your furniture, using a soft cotton cloth to apply the cleaning solution better.

When done, spray with water to rinse, and leave to dry.

  • Clean with a moisturizing soap

If you are concerned about the effects of using detergent soap on the soft surface of your soft leather furniture, you may want to try some moisturizing soap instead. Lather and use a soft cloth to wipe away dirt and dust. If you use a soft cloth to buff the leather afterward, instead of rinsing to finish, you may be able to utilize the moisturizing property of the soap to condition the leather. Again, leave to dry.

  • Use commercial leather cleaning products

If you aren’t a fan of DIY projects, and would rather use specialized cleaning products that are commercially available, feel free to do so! Just remember to test the product first on a small area of your leather furniture. If all seems well, go ahead and clean to your heart’s content. Read the manufacturer’s guide and follow the directions as provided. Leave to dry.

Most commercial leather cleaning products will result in a kind of matte-finish instead of a brilliant sheen. Do be careful not to use too much of the cleaning solution or you may end up saturating the leather.

Finish off with leather conditioning

Mixing one-part white vinegar and two parts linseed oil, apply this mixture to the leather using a soft cloth. Working in a circular motion, rub the mixture in thoroughly. Let sit for about ten minutes, and then buff with another soft cloth. You may want to buff at least two to three times before the couch can be ready for sitting again.