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How to clean & moisturize leather furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather furniture is a nice addition to any home. It is soft and extremely comfortable to sit on and can instantly make a home feel warm and cosy. It is often expensive, so taking care of it is necessary if you want your leather furniture to last. There are specific ways to clean leather furniture and unlike other upholstery, leather needs to be conditioned or moisturised to prevent cracking and peeling, and to maintain its original lustre.

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  1. Read your manufacturer's instructions. Your leather furniture should come with care instructions and will often include a cleaning kit. There are many different kinds of leathers and dyes, so following your manufacturer's instructions is best, especially if your leather furniture is natural (not treated), since severe damage can occur if you try anything other than what is recommended by the manufacturer.

  2. Vacuum and dust your leather furniture. Use the soft bristle brush and vacuum all the dirt and debris. Be sure the suction is not too strong, as it could damage your leather. Dust your leather furniture with a clean rag. Do not use a polishing or dusting spray.

  3. Use a couple of drops of mild dish washing detergent and water to form a cleaning solution. You can also use a moisturising soap like Dove to create a cleaning solution. Dip a clean cloth into the soapy water and wring it out as well as you can, since water seeps into leather, which can damage it.

  4. Always test the solution on an unseen spot on your furniture, usually on the reverse or underside. This way, if the soapy water causes damage, nobody can see it.

  5. Clean your leather furniture by gently wiping all around the leather. Repeat the process with clean non-soapy water to rinse.

  6. Dry as much water as you can with a clean dry rag and let it air dry until completely dry. Then, follow up with a moisturiser (see next section below).

  7. Read your manufacturer's instructions. Your furniture may have come with a moisturising solution that you can use and purchase more of as necessary. Also, be sure to know if your leather has been treated or if it is natural. If it's natural, you should not try the steps below and only do what is recommended.

  8. Purchase leather conditioner or moisturiser for your specific leather furniture. You can also sometimes use petroleum jelly. Check with your manufacture or call the furniture store you bought it at to ask if this home product is safe for your leather furniture.

  9. Test in an unseen spot. Like the cleaning solution, test your moisturiser or conditioner in a spot that cannot be seen. If any discolouring or other damage occurs, at least nobody can see it.

  10. Gently rub in your moisturiser and wipe away all excess oil with a clean rag.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Dish washing detergent
  • Leather cleaning solution
  • Leather conditioner
  • Rag

About the Author

Melissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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