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How to

Clean Leather Furniture

How to Clean Leather Furniture

When you take great care of your leather furniture, it can last for decades and become even more comfortable. Maintaining leather is easier than you might think, and pay-offs are numerous. With upholstery created from natural hides, furniture develops character and gets more beautiful over the years. The leather itself also gets softer with age and use, so a piece of leather furniture becomes even more pleasing over time.  Here are some leather cleaning tips from us at Pottery Barn to keep your furniture looking good for years to come.

Routine Leather Couch Care

When it comes to caring for your sofa’s leather upholstery, start with the basics. Use a soft, clean cloth or towel to wipe off all the exposed surfaces. This removes dust and loose debris, and gives you a close-up look at places that may need some extra care. Wipe gently, and if you notice any spots that seem dull, gently buff those areas to a soft luster. If you notice any small scratches or scuffed areas on the furniture, gently rub the scraped spots with your fingertip. With high-quality leather, moving the oils that occur naturally in the hide is all you need to do to remove scuff marks and scrapes.

Cleaning That Goes Deeper

The exterior surfaces of your furniture add beauty to the room, but it’s also a good idea to get your furniture clean in the places you can’t see. Your vacuum sweeper is your best friend for this step. Put the wand nozzle on your sweeper hose or get out a handheld vacuum. Pull the throw pillows and seat cushions off the sofa or chair you’re cleaning and insert the nozzle into the crevices to suck out dust, lint and debris. Sweep off the flat surfaces under the cushions before putting everything back on the seating.

Cleaning Leather Sofa Spots

It can happen to anyone. You sit down on the sofa with a snack and a spot of food falls onto the upholstery. While it seems like a disaster, it actually cleans up easily! When you find a greasy spot on your leather sofa or chair, simply use a clean cloth to wipe off excess oils and then leave it alone. The hide actually absorbs and spreads out the oil over time, so you don’t have to do anything else. If you don't want the spot to show until it dissipates, just throw some decorative pillows or a soft, pretty blanket over it.

How to Clean Leather Furniture to Keep It Soft

Ideally, you shouldn't put any cleaning products on your leather furniture other than a bit of distilled water on a soft cloth. Simply buff the leather with the damp cloth whenever you feel a deeper cleaning is needed. Buffing with a damp cloth removes dirt from the grain of the hide. If deeper cleaning is needed, or if your furniture has a spot that isn’t oil-based, it’s best to enlist the help of a leather cleaning pro to clean your couch or sectional.

Elemental Protection

The surface of leather has a soft luster that catches the light and adds beauty to a room, but that doesn’t mean it should go directly in front of a window. Direct sunlight and heat dry out the hide, making it prone to cracking and flaking. This is also why you should avoid putting your leather pieces too close to a heating vent. Put leather pieces off to the side of windows to keep the direct sunlight off the surface, or simply place the furniture in the center of the room if your floor plan allows. Let overhead lighting or table lamps cast a glow that also adds luster to your seating.