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How to protect a leather sofa from scratches and chips

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather, available in a variety of colours, is an attractive and durable material that is unfortunately prone to scratches, creases and chipping. The material is also susceptible to dulling if you don't properly care for it with a cleaning solution and conditioner. While leather sofas require regular cleaning to keep them looking like new, there are steps you can take to protect your leather sofa from scratches and chips. Once scratches and chips appear, however, small imperfections are removable but large ones are usually permanent.

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  1. Adjust your home's thermostat to a setting between 20.0 and 24.4 degrees C (68 and 76 degrees F) to maintain a temperature that doesn't promote high heat and excessively low relative humidity, both of which can lead to the formation of cracks on your leather sofa. Alternately, a too-low temperature with high humidity can lead to mould forming on your sofa's leather and wooden frame.

  2. Remove any sharp objects, if any are present, from your leather sofa and keep them away from the sofa at all times. Sharp objects include pocket and regular knives, scissors, ink pens, tools and any object that is capable of scratching or chipping the sofa.

  3. Keep pets off of your leather sofa. Your pet's claws are especially harmful to the sofa's leather.

  4. Keep children off of your leather sofa if they are sitting or playing on the sofa while holding a sharp object.

  5. Do not place objects on your leather sofa that may leave an indentation. These objects can not only scratch the leather but also cut into your sofa and leave deep scratches and chip marks.

  6. Dust your leather sofa weekly with a soft, white cloth or rag to remove any loose dust and dirt to keep debris from building up and scratching the leather. Use a vacuum cleaner's crevice attachment to remove any debris from areas you cannot clean with the cloth or rag.

  7. Fold the soft, white cloth or rag in half and apply 30 ml (2 tbsp) of a leather cleaner to the cloth or rag. Wipe any stains with the cleaner-soaked cloth or rag to remove the debris, then wipe the leather clean with a dry, white cloth or rag.

  8. Buff out any small scratches by wiping the scratch with a chamois in the direction of the leather's grain.

  9. Apply 30 ml (2 tbsp) of leather conditioner to a clean, soft, white cloth or rag. Wipe any medium- to large-scratches with the conditioner-soaked cloth or rag in the direction of the leather's grain.

  10. Condition the entire sofa with a leather conditioner twice a year to keep the leather soft and protect it from cracking and chipping. Apply 30 ml (2 tbsp) of leather conditioner to a clean, soft, white cloth or rag, and then wipe the conditioner into your sofa in the direction of the leather's grain. Reapply the leather conditioner to the cloth or rag and keep applying the conditioner to your sofa until the entire sofa has been conditioned.

  11. Warning

    Do not use an abrasive cleaner or solution not designed for cleaning leather sofas to clean your leather sofa. These cleaners and solutions will damage it.

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Things You'll Need

  • 3 soft, white cloths or rags
  • Vacuum cleaner with crevice attachment
  • Leather cleaner
  • Chamois
  • Leather conditioner

About the Author

Nick Davis

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.

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