How to Clean a Leather Sofa Naturally

Updated February 21, 2017

The luxurious look and feel of leather is often enough to overlook its downside, which is the care and maintenance it needs. Because it is sensitive to moisture and ordinary cleaning products, cleaning leather furniture can seem like a frustrating chore. Given that leather is such a sensitive material, the mildest and most natural cleaning method is your safest option. You can effectively clean your leather sofa, without the use of chemicals and commercial products, in a manner that is safe for both your family and your furniture.

Remove the cushions from the sofa and vacuum away loose dirt, dust and debris with the brush attachment.

Add 1 tbsp of a mild, lanolin-based natural soap to a quart of warm water. Purchase this soap wherever natural products are sold or in the natural/organic section of some grocery stores.

Dip a soft, lint-free cloth or sponge into the solution and wring it out well.

Wipe down the sofa with the cloth or sponge. Be sure to wipe down the cushions as well.

“Rinse” the sofa by wiping it down with a cloth dipped in clean water and wrung it out well.

Wipe away excess moisture with a dry, soft, lint-free towel.

Place a fan nearby to help circulate air over the sofa, helping it dry quickly.

Apply petroleum jelly to a soft, lint-free cloth and gently work it into the leather to condition it. Wipe over it a second time with a dry towel to remove any excess.


Most stains can be treated with a clean, damp cloth. Apply cornstarch to a grease stain and leave it overnight. Remove the cornstarch and wipe away the residual stain in the morning with a clean, damp cloth.


Harsh chemicals and abrasives, as well as excessive moisture, can damage leather. Be sure to wring out each damp cloth well and make sure that your sofa dries completely before sitting on it or putting the cushions back on.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
  • Natural lanolin soap
  • Clean, lint-free cloths
  • Clean, dry towel
  • Fan
  • Petroleum jelly
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