How to clean a leather sofa

Leather furniture requires a lot of care and specific methods of cleaning.

You need the right products and regular maintenance to keep your sofa in good condition. These tips below will help you out with that.


Dust thoroughly


This is a bit obvious, but what a lot of people don't realise is you need to get those spots in between the sofa seat cushions too. It's easy to overlook this or not notice how far the dust and dirt goes.

Carefully use a vacuum to get the larger pieces of dust and dirt making sure not to scratch the leather sofa with the attachments.

Once you've got the large chunks off your leather sofa or leather arm chair; you want to a soft and clean cloth to wipe down the sofa. This is to make sure no dirt or dust is pressed into the leather before you carry on cleaning.


Wiping down the surfaces


You don't always need clean the whole leather sofa in one go. You've brushed off the majority, now you just need to look it over and look at the parts where it's dirty. Cleaning areas that don't need to be cleaned can lead to fading the leather or damaging it. You need a 'less is more approach'

To actually clean the affected areas. You only need to use a damp cloth to wipe it down. Make sure it's not soaked and not too wet as this will cause more damage to the sofa.

For any lightly soiled areas or anything sticky, use a damp, soapy cloth to wipe down the areas as using a leather cleaner would be wasteful and tedious. The soap should be mild and all-natural. Any harsh, strong soaps will dry out the leather which you don't want.

Spot test the sofa first in an area hidden from view to check it won't leave any marks. Don't press too hard either as that will push the dirt further into the leather.

Rinse the cloth frequently and wring it out well to keep it in a damp state. Remember, if it's too wet then it will cause damage. You'll want to alternate with a dry cloth to get the loose dirt and make sure the surface isn't too wet.

For mould and mildew, you'll need a slightly different approach. You'll want to use a mixture of white vinegar and water and spray it onto the affected area. Use as little liquid as possible and wipe away quickly to stop it soaking into the leather sofa too much. You use vinegar here as it works like a mild disinfectant and kill any mould.

Please note, we advise that you contact the store you purchased your furniture from before using vinegar on it to advise if this is safe. remember, leather is a natural product and every piece is unique. Each hide might react differently to the acidic nature of the vinegar.


Deciding on a leather cleaning kit


If water hasn't worked for you or you have heavier soiled areas, you will want to buy a leather cleaner for your leather sofa. You need leather cleaner as other cleaning products not designed for leather can strip away the natural oils in the leather and lead to it drying out and cracking over time.

When choosing your leather cleaner you want to look for a good quality saddle soap or a cleaner that contains natural beeswax rather than solvents or petroleum based products. Wax based cleaners are a better option generally than oil based ones. Wax conditions the leather sofa but doesn't soak in as much as oil so still allows the leather to breathe.

Since leather is a natural material, every piece is unique and different so you might need to try several cleaners before you find the one for you and always spot test your leather sofa before applying all over. Clean a small spot that isn't really visible with your cleaning kit. Make sure the leather is fully dried and there are no stains or discoloration left on the leather sofa. A lot of leather cleaning kits can contain solvents that will damage your furniture. Once you know that you're good to go with that cleaner, it's time to apply.


Using a leather cleaning kit


Just like before, you want to use a damp cloth to apply the cleaner to your leather sofa. Take your damp cloth and dip in into the cleaner to apply on the leather sofa. You want to start on the least dirty area and work your way in towards the dirties areas. You do it this way in order to stop the dirt spreading out further and you want to clean in a circular motion.

Don't forget to change the cloth or clean it frequently to remove any dirt thats on it. You will want to keep reapplying the cleaner and using clean parts of the cloth until you have cleaned all the dirty parts of the sofa.

Once you're done, wipe off the excess cleaner with a clean and damp cloth. Wipe each cushion of your leather sofa again and clean your cloth after each pass over a cushion.


Removing Stains


Stains are a lot trickier. Depending on what kind of stain it is as well has how severe it is. If the stain is set deeply into your leather sofa or the stain has stubborn dyes in it, you might not be able to get it out so easily.

You will want to use a more heavy duty leather cleaning kit for stains that is mildly abrasive and make sure you wipe it off completely when you're done to stop it damaging the leather and remember the spot test!

If you can't get the stain to come out easily then don't keep scrubbing it. You'll just damage the leather. At this point your best choice is to get a professional to come out.

Homeserve Furniture Repairs offer an onsite clean to all sofas including leather sofas. Each of our technicians is trained to deal with even the trickiest of stains and carry a state of the art cleaning machine on their vans. A technician will be booked to come visit you within 5 days of you contacting us and will remove your stain as well as providing more details on maintaining your leather sofa and taking care it.

In the event that a stain cannot be cleaned out of your leather sofa. Homeserve also offer a re-covering and reupholstery option to replace any damaged leather sections or if you wish for a new style for your sofa.

Contact us for a quote to repair your furniture

We are always happy to help
Fill in the form below

Please Add photo's below as this will help with your enquiry.


Find us
Office Address
Unit 2
Delph Road Industrial Estate
Delph Road
Brierley Hill
West Midlands
DY5 2UA
Contact Information
Telephone: 01384 473 000
Fax: 01384 473 009
info@homeserverepairs.co.uk