How to clean white leather sofas

Updated April 13, 2018

Leather furniture is beautiful and stylish, but a white leather couch can look especially bad when overdue for a cleaning. Many leather cleaners on the market claim to be safe and effective. While many are sufficient for some leather items, they are too harsh for the delicate types of leather often used for making furniture. Keep staining to a minimum and absorb spills immediately with a sponge. Do not rub spills; this will cause them to spread. Instead, blot gently until all moisture is absorbed.

Remove all unattached cushions. Pick up any large bits of debris and thoroughly vacuum the entire couch, including cushions.

Read the manufacturer's label for cleaning instructions. Purchase the commercial cleaner your manufacturer recommends and follow the directions on the bottle. Spot test an inconspicuous corner before applying to your entire couch.

Make a homemade leather cleaner. Mix one-fourth cup sea salt, two tablespoons baking soda, one teaspoon flour and three-quarters cup water in a small cleaning bucket.

Moisten a clean cloth and dip it into the salt-soda mixture. Gently rub a small amount on an inconspicuous area. Wipe off the mixture and dry the spot with a clean cloth.

Wait 24 hours. If the spot is clean and no discolouration or damage has occurred, clean the entire couch the same way, cleaning and drying one small area at a time.


Fill a thin cotton sock with table salt and use it to absorb wet spills on your leather couch. First, clean the messiest part of the spill with a dry towel, then set the sock on top of the spill and leave it there for a few minutes. The sock will act like a natural wick, pulling the moisture up and into the salt.


Do not clean a leather item without first vacuuming. Dust and other small particles can abrade leather when rubbed into it repeatedly, as when cleaning or polishing.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Commercial leather cleaner
  • Soft cloth
  • Sea salt
  • Baking soda
  • Flour
  • Cleaning bucket or container
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About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.