How to Clean Sticky Leather

Updated March 23, 2017

Supple to the touch and elegant to the eyes, leather makes a statement. Whether it is leather upholstery in your vehicle, a couple of leather club chairs in your den or leather accent pillows, the natural material makes a room feel expensive. The problem is that grime builds up over time, from sticky hands, candy, dog saliva and body sweat. Clean sticky leather surfaces to maintain both the look and the feel of your leather. Choose household ingredients or speciality leather care products to return your leather to like-new condition.

Vacuum the leather. Remove the seats and get under the cushions. Follow the line of the furniture and run the soft brush vacuum attachment along the sides and top of the leather. Prepare the leather with this first step before cleaning.

Read the tags on the leather furniture. Review the written cleaning instructions. Abide by the instructions as you clean the fabric to their recommended suggestions.

Open the bottle of leather care that came with the leather piece. Read the manufacturers instructions. Follow the instructions to clean the leather.

Mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts neat's-foot oil in a small pail. Swirl the mixture onto the leather with a clean cloth. Allow it to remain on the furniture for 12 hours. Buff the furniture the next morning.

Combine 1 quart distilled water with 4 drops of liquid soap in a pail. Swirl to get suds. Fill a second pail with clear distilled water. Insert and wring a clean cloth in the sudsy soap. Wipe the furniture down, rinsing and repeating as necessary. Run the second cloth, dipped into the clean water, over the leather surface to remove the soap residue. Use a third clean cloth and thoroughly dry the furniture. Change the cloth as needed. Buff the leather down, once furniture is dry.


Clean your chairs often to maintain the lustre.


Read all labels to ensure the product won't damage your leather as some leather furniture may not be treated.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather care bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Neat foot oil
  • 2 pails, 3 quart
  • Distilled water
  • Liquid soap
  • 4 clean cloths
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About the Author

Angelique de la Morreaux began writing articles for various websites in 2010. Her focus is in the legal, small business, beauty, holiday, culture, food, drinks and automotive categories. Morreaux holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from San Diego State University.