Leather furniture is naturally hard-wearing, but it gets dirty over time and is subject to accidental stains just like any piece of furniture. Whether you need to spot-clean your leather furniture to remove visible marks or want to clean and refresh the entire piece, consider using home remedies that call for inexpensive household items. These methods are just as effective as store-bought leather cleaners but considerably less expensive.
Before applying any kind of product, homemade or not, perform an initial all-over dusting to remove surface dust, trapped crumbs and pet hair from your leather furniture. In the case of a sofa, if you can remove the cushions or get under them, use a hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up debris from underneath and in all the crevices. Dust the entire surface of the furniture, working from top to bottom, with a clean, dry cloth. A cotton rag is ideal. If your furniture has buttons, piping or other nooks and crannies, use a soft, dry toothbrush to get out the dust and grime. Only use soft, nonscouring sponges or cloths to clean your leather furniture. Otherwise, you will scratch it.
Homemade Stain Removers
A tiny dab of regular dishwashing liquid on a damp cloth will remove many types of surface stains from leather, including ink, sticky substances and grease marks. Gently rub the mark with the damp cloth, taking care not to saturate the leather. Allow the damp spot to air-dry. To clean your furniture all over with dishwashing soap, fill a bucket or basin with warm water and add a generous squirt of soap. Use the soapy water with a soft sponge or cloth to wipe down all the leather surfaces, wringing out the cloth or sponge before use. For tougher stains that will not come out with soap, try a little toothpaste. Rub it in gently, then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Another alternative is non-acetone nail-polish remover wipes.
To clean and condition your leather furniture at once, try a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts linseed oil. These are similar ingredients to those used in commercial leather conditioners. Apply a thin layer of the mixture over the leather surfaces using a soft rag, then let it sit overnight. Buff the leather with a soft cloth the following day to leave it clean and shining. To remove mildew or mould from leather furniture, wipe it down with a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part water with a dampened rag. You can also put this mixture into a spray bottle and lightly spritz the leather before wiping it down with a cloth.