How to Clean and Care for Leather Furniture

If you own a piece of leather furniture, you’ll know how much luxury and sophistication it adds to any living space. However, what you might now know is the type of cleaning and care it requires to maintain its beauty and extend its lifespan. These practices are essential if you want your leather furniture to continue wowing your guests for years to come; and, unlike other upholstery materials, leather falls into a category of cleaning specific areas and items, meaning it requires specific attention and gentle handling. 

In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to clean and care for your leather furniture, ensuring it remains in pristine condition for years to come.

Before You Clean – Know Your Leather

Different types of leather require different cleaning methods. Before you begin any cleaning or maintenance routine, it’s important to identify the type of leather you’re working with. The most common types of leather used in furniture include aniline, semi-aniline, pigmented, and suede. Check the furniture manufacturer’s label or consult the owner’s manual for information on the type of leather and any specific care instructions.

4 Steps for Cleaning Leather

Close-up of a woman cleaning a leather chair.

1. Dusting and Vacuuming:

Start by removing loose dirt, dust, and debris from your leather furniture. Use a soft, dry cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove any surface particles. Pay close attention to crevices and seams where dirt tends to accumulate. Be sure to dust and vacuum regularly, even when you aren’t cleaning, to prevent dirt from settling into the leather’s pores.

2. Spot Cleaning:

For small stains or spills, it’s crucial to act quickly to prevent them from setting into the leather. Blot the area with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this can spread the stain or damage the leather. If necessary, use a mild soap solution or a specially formulated leather cleaner recommended by the furniture manufacturer. Always perform a spot test on a hidden area before applying any cleaning solution to the stained area to ensure no damage is done.

3. Deep Cleaning:

Over time, leather furniture can accumulate dirt and oils, meaning the item will require a deeper clean. Use a mild soap solution or a specialised leather cleaner, making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. Gently wipe the entire surface of the furniture with a soft cloth dampened with your product of choice. Avoid using excessive water or soaking the leather, as this can cause damage. After cleaning, wipe the furniture again with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue, and then dry it thoroughly with a soft towel.

4. Conditioning and Moisturising:

Leather is similar to our skin in that it needs proper hydration to remain supple and prevent cracking or drying out. Regularly applying a leather conditioner or moisturiser helps replenish the natural oils and keeps the leather looking its best, while also extending its lifespan. Use a product specifically designed for leather furniture and follow the instructions for application. Apply the conditioner in a circular motion, allowing it to penetrate the leather. Wipe off any excess conditioner and buff the surface with a clean, soft cloth.

Care and Maintenance Practices

Close-up of a leather couch with a pillow on it.

1. Avoid Harsh Substances and Direct Sunlight:

To preserve the integrity of your leather furniture, it’s crucial to avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals, including ammonia, bleach, or abrasive cleaning agents. These substances can cause irreversible damage to the leather’s finish. Additionally, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can fade and dry out the leather. Position your furniture away from windows or use curtains or blinds to block out the sun’s rays.

2. Regular Maintenance:

Prevention is key when it comes to leather furniture care. Implementing simple habits can go a long way in maintaining its appearance. Avoid placing sharp objects or items with rough edges on the furniture that can scratch or puncture the leather. Use coasters or protective mats under glasses, cups, and other items to prevent stains and spills. Regularly fluff and rotate cushions to maintain even wear and prevent sagging.


Cleaning and caring for your leather furniture doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, you can ensure your leather furniture remains beautiful and durable for years to come. 
Give the rest of your home the same expert treatment you would want for your leather by booking a SweepSouth cleaning service. Whether on our website or our easy-to-use app, you’ll be able to choose from a large number of vetted and experienced cleaning professionals to care for your home. With just a few clicks and rewards with every booking, get ready to enjoy a spotless, healthy home.

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