Tips on Cleaning Leather Sofas & Chairs

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather furniture creates an elegant look in the home. With the proper care, leather furniture can remain in good condition for many years. One of the most important areas in the care of leather furniture is the method and products used to clean the furniture. With repeated use, leather furnishings begin to appear dirty or worn. Cleaning sofas and chairs with the proper method can prevent damage to the pigment and keep the leather soft and supple.

Types of Leather

Determine the type of leather used to cover the furnishings. Leather furniture can be pigmented and have a durable finish which holds up well on well-used items. Suede is a soft material that must be handled with care to maintain its appearance.

Water Based Cleaners

Solvent cleaners can damage leather and cause it to deteriorate. Furniture polish meant for wood should never be used on leather furnishings. Water-based cleaners meant for leather are the best approach for cleaning furniture without manufacturer's instructions. A damp cloth wrung almost completely of water removes dust and dirt from leather furniture. Castile soap is a gentle cleanser for leather furnishings.

Test the Furniture

Leather furniture should be tested in a small location that is not readily visible before using a cleaning product. Cleaning products may remove the dye from the leather and cause splodging when used on the surface of the furniture. On a couch, test the product on the bottom part of the sofa in an area that cannot be seen easily.

Manufacturer's Instructions

New leather furniture typically comes with cleaning instructions from the manufacturer. It is important to follow the instructions to prevent any voiding of the warranty. The manufacturer may recommend a specific cleaning product for everyday cleanings and stain removal.


Use a soft cloth to dry leather furniture after cleaning. Never use heat or a blow dryer to dry leather couches and chairs. Heating the furniture may cause cracking in the leather. Buff any moisture out of the furniture to bring the lustre and shine to the leather.

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About the Author

Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.