Stained, discolored or cracked leather can ruin the look of your couch. Here’s how to keep your leather couch clean and buttery soft for years to come.
Nothing is more exciting than sitting on a brand new leather couch, and nothing is more tragic than spilling something on it. If you’re prone to accidents and worried about leaving your mark, or simply want tips to preserve and maintain the quality of your investment, we’ve got you covered.
Reuven Noiman, owner of NYC Steam Cleaning, specializes in cleaning and sanitizing all types of floors, furniture, and decor, but is a self-proclaimed expert in all things leather. We asked Noiman (who has practically seen it all) for his advice when it comes to cleaning a leather couch. Here’s what he had to say.
How to Clean a Leather Couch
If you can swing it, always opt for a professional cleaning service to undertake any massive cleaning jobs.
“This way mistakes can be easily avoided,” says Noiman.
But if money and patience (or lack thereof) has you seeking different alternatives, there are a few quick tips from Noiman to keep in mind when cleaning your leather couch.
- Never clean leather with alcohol or bleach. Once the alcohol or bleach touches the surface, it will remove the dye and lead to discoloration. Also, avoid high heat, which will do the same.
- Do not saturate leather or keep it in direct sunlight. Blot liquid stains with a clean and damp towel. Never rub any new liquid into the material or it will generally make it worse. Also, leather tends to fade easily if exposed to direct sunlight. Consider keeping your couch away from oversized windows.
- Vacuum your sofa often and wipe it with a clean, damp cloth. This will help to remove dust or any other material that may be resting or collecting on the surface.
How to Clean Different Types of Leather
There are two types of leather, protected and unprotected, that require different cleaning techniques. If you’re unsure about the material of your couch, err on the side of caution by assuming it’s unprotected and start only with the clean towel blotting technique.
Protected leathers can withstand a bit more elbow grease. Mix a mild, non-detergent soap with lukewarm water and use a soft cloth or sponge to blot the stain and gently wipe away excess. Wipe away any remaining liquid with a clean, damp cloth and then blot dry with another cloth. Always allow your couch to air dry — a blow dryer will potentially damage the material.
You can also concoct a simple solution of 50/50 vinegar and water to target tougher stains. Dab a microfiber cloth into the liquid blend and rub delicately in a circular motion. But be gentle—the purpose is to lift dirt or stains and not push them deeper into the natural material.
If none of these approaches work, try one of the products below or consult a professional.
The Best Leather Couch Cleaning Products
Harsh chemicals and liquids like the aforementioned bleach and alcohol are leather couch no-nos, but there are some products, both natural and store-bought, that Noiman recommends.
The common household substance can be sprinkled on an oil stain and left for 15 minutes to absorb the liquid. Once absorbed, use a microfiber cloth and some water to clean up the salt.
All-Natural Leather Cleaners and Wipes
“These can help to remove dead skin and are great for maintenance cleaning,” adds Noiman. Just be sure to read the ingredient list to ensure that they’re plant-derived and not chock-full of artificial solutions that can do more damage.
Pre-mixed and ready to use, this non-toxic, all-natural formula gently removes dirt, oil, tough stains and grime from not just your couch, but any leather item that you own.
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Don’t be fooled by the name. The pH-balanced duo works to bring shine and shimmer back to cracked, faded, and dried out leather. It also smells great!.