How to Care for Distressed Leather

Updated April 17, 2017

Leather furniture can give a home a warm and comfortable look. Distressed leather is especially appropriate for a lived in, antique or rustic look. Distressed leather is usually aniline dyed, and then artificially aged using various techniques. Naturally occurring imperfections in the hides like scarring, fleabites and wrinkles are allowed to show through to add to the rough look. These imperfections would be cut out or hidden in other applications. Keeping distressed leather clean is easy and doesn't really require any special tools or cleansers, although a good quality leather conditioner will keep it soft.

Wipe down your leather with a clean, dry cloth to get rid of dust and dirt.

Mix a small amount of mild detergent and lukewarm water to make a cleaning solution. The mixture should be just a little sudsy. Wet your cloth and squeeze out until moist but not saturated.

Clean the leather, being careful not to saturate the leather with water. This should remove any surface dirt that is present. Over time, marks and stains will become part of the patina.

Rinse the cloth in clear water and wipe down again to remove any soap residue.

Polish the leather with a dry towel to restore the shine.

Soften the leather with a good quality leather conditioner after the leather is clean, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean towels or rags
  • Mild detergent
  • Leather conditioner
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About the Author

Mame Dennis started her journalism career in 1989. She has worked as a writer, proofreader, photo editor, researcher and photo stylist for magazines such as "House Beautiful," "New Woman," "Hotel Bel-Air Magazine," "Launch Magazine" and more. Dennis has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Drew University.