How to clean a leather sofa

How To Clean A Leather Sofa

Leather sofas are elegant, comfortable and long-lasting. However, they can be very pricey to buy brand new. The great news is it’s easy to shop for a pre-loved or used leather sofa, and with a bit of maintenance, you can enjoy the luxury of leather for a fraction of the price.

Materials you’ll need for cleaning leather lounges

When it comes to cleaning leather lounges, it’s important to first check to see if there is a cleaning manual or a tag with cleaning instructions from the manufacturer. If you can’t find these things, you should get in touch with the manufacturer to find out how to best care for your leather sofa. 

As a general rule, it’s always good to keep these cleaning materials on hand:

  • Soft cleaning cloths – Good quality microfibre cloths are best for cleaning a leather lounge.  
  • Saddle soap – This product is specially formulated to clean and condition leather goods.
  • Distilled white vinegar – This handy household item can be used to remove stains and odours from couches.
  • Bicarb soda – Bicarb can either be sprinkled on a couch or mixed with water to remove greasy stains.
  • Rubbing alcohol – If your leather couch comes into contact with ink or wine, you can try to remove the stain by gently dabbing with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • Leather conditioner – Also called ‘leather cream’ or ‘leather milk’, this is a conditioning agent that will keep your leather couch supple and shiny.

How to make homemade leather cleaner

Depending on the type of leather and the nature of the stain, you might be able to make an effective homemade leather cleaner from natural ingredients. Here are some remedies for common problems:

General cleaning

Cleaning your couch twice a year will help to keep it looking beautiful, while also caring for the leather. 

To make your homemade leather couch cleaner, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a clean bowl. Then, dip a soft cloth into the solution, wring so the cloth isn’t too wet, and gently wipe any areas of the leather that are stained or dirty. Finish by wiping the couch down with a soft dry cloth. 

Removing oil & grease 

Bicarb of soda can be used as a simple but effective leather sofa cleaner. It’s especially great for removing grease stains, thanks to its absorbent properties. 

To use, simply sprinkle a small amount of bicarb over the stain, and let it sit for around 2 hours. Once the oil has been absorbed, wipe the bicarb residue away with a soft damp cloth. 

Removing ink 

The trick to removing ink stains from leather is to act as quickly as you can. The best thing to use in these situations is rubbing alcohol (available from chemists). Simply apply a small amount of alcohol to a clean cotton ball, and carefully dab the ink stain. Be careful not to rub, as this could drive the stain further into the leather. Finish by gently patting the area dry with a cloth. 

How to remove stains from leather couches: a step-by-step guide

Again, when it comes to cleaning leather lounges, the most important thing is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The following instructions should be used as a general guide only:

  1. Vacuum – Before you get started, give your leather couch a thorough vacuum with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. This will remove dirt, which might otherwise get rubbed into the leather during the cleaning process.
  2. Apply cleaning solution – Once your couch is free from dirt, you can apply a natural leather cleaner such as saddle soap or a diluted vinegar mix. Make sure to only ever use a damp (rather than soaking wet) cloth. 
  3. Wipe with a soft cloth – When you’re finished cleaning, wipe all surfaces with a soft damp cloth.
  4. Dry thoroughly – It might help to point a fan at your couch to speed up the drying process. It’s important to keep leather dry to avoid developing mould. 
  5. Re-moisturise with leather conditioner – Again using a soft cloth, carefully apply leather conditioner to your couch, as a finishing touch.

Tips for maintaining your leather sofa

All it takes is a little bit of love and care to maintain the quality of your leather sofa. Here are some ways you can maximise the lifespan of your couch:

Be pet-aware

Cats have been known to use couches as scratching posts, and dogs can cause damage to the leather by scrabbling up onto the cushions. To minimise damage to your leather sofa, make sure your cat has a dedicated scratching post inside the home, so they don’t need to resort to sharpening their claws on your couch. You should also train your dog not to jump up on the couch. Additionally, you can place blankets on top of the cushions to create a buffer between your pets and the leather. 

Moisturise with leather conditioner

A leather conditioner for couches can be applied regularly to keep the leather soft and protected. Always test a small spot first before applying to the entire couch, to make sure the product won’t cause any discolouration. This is particularly important for coloured leather. 

Protect from dry air and heat

Air conditioning, direct sunlight, and exposure to extreme heat (such as a fireplace) can all be damaging to leather couches. Try to position your couch so it’s not directly underneath an air conditioning duct, and away from gas heaters and fireplaces. During the day, glass doors and windows can be covered with sun-blocking curtains to reduce sun exposure. 

Seek professional assistance for cuts and tears

While cleaning leather lounges can be done without professional training, repairing more serious damage to the leather should be left to the experts. This way, you can avoid doing even more damage to the leather. 

Trade pre-loved leather sofas on Gumtree

Not only are leather lounges expensive to buy new, but they also require an incredible amount of resources to produce. By shopping for leather sofas on Gumtree, you’ll be doing your bit to create a more sustainable future, while saving money as well. 

One of the best things about a leather sofa is its durability. If you have a couch you’d like to sell, you’ll be amazed by what a difference a good clean can make. All it takes is a bit of love and attention, and you can sell your couch on Gumtree, reduce your environmental footprint and make some money in return.

Extend the life of your couch

Cleaning and caring for your furniture will keep your home looking smart and stylish. If you feel it’s time for a change, try freshening it up first and see if you change your mind. If you end up deciding it’s indeed time to replace it, you’ll be able to sell it instead of sending it to landfill. When looking for a new couch, make a quality investment for a fraction of the price by browsing Gumtree for leather sofas near you. 


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