Leather is a coveted material for furniture. With its demand, though, can come a heavy price tag. After spending money on leather furniture, you undoubtedly want to keep it looking its best as it ages and gets used regularly by your family.
Unfortunately, leather furniture is prone to tears and cracking, and can stain more easily than other materials. It’s important to stay on top of a regular care regimen so your leather furniture stays as beautiful as the day you bought it.
How to Take Care Of Leather Furniture?
Things to Avoid
The first step in taking care of your leather furniture is knowing what to avoid. Leather can last for a long time if you’re careful about what you let your furniture get exposed to.
Here are a few things to keep away from your leather furniture to keep it looking, and feeling, its best for years to come:
- Direct sunlight. Sunlight may be healthy for people, but not so much for your leather furniture. Prolonged exposure to direct sun can wear down the protective oils on your furniture, causing it to fade and crack.
- Water and soap. Cleaning leather furniture with water and soap may seem to work at first, but the liquids will soak into your furniture, stripping away its protective oils and leading to cracking. A mild, non-detergent soap should only be used in case of stains, if recommended by your manufacturer.
- Sharp objects. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you may have sharp objects on you that you don’t realize. Make sure that whoever sits on your furniture doesn’t have any zippers or snaps in their clothing that may snag your leather furniture. Additionally, if your dog or cat has sharp nails, or hasn’t learned not to scratch furniture, you may need to protect your furniture with a cover, or ask your vet for recommendations.
You may not realize it, but dusting is extremely important for leather furniture. Not only does dust stick out like a sore thumb on leather, but it also can wreak havoc on your expensive furniture. Prolonged dust exposure can eat away at the oils that are essential for keeping your leather furniture soft and looking its best.
Get into a regular schedule of dusting off leather furniture with a microfiber towel or cloth duster. It’s best to do this at least once a week, and more often if your house is particularly dusty.
To reach into the creases of your furniture, use your vacuum’s hose and attachments. Remove sofa cushions, if possible, to get anything that might have fallen underneath the cushions. If your vacuum has a brush attachment, you can even use this to help dust the surface.
Surely cleaning a leather chair or sofa is as easy as applying some mild soap with a clean towel, right? Wrong.
Even the most mild soaps and detergents can contain chemicals that can quickly ruin your expensive leather furniture. The soap can eat away the protective oils on leather without replacing them, which will eventually leave leather dry and brittle.
Always try a clean, dry cloth first to wipe down your leather furniture. A microfiber cloth with clean the furniture gently, without leaving lint behind. If necessary, use a very small amount of lukewarm, distilled water applied to the towel to clean the surface. Allow your furniture to air-dry.
Spot Stain Treatment
Sometimes, you may need more than just a cloth and water to clean your leather furniture, especially in the case of spills. If you spilled a little bit of water or another light liquid, immediately wipe up the spill with a clean cloth.
If you spilled something that stains quickly, like coffee, you’ll likely need another method. Before attempting a spot treatment on any leather, test a small, out-of-sight spot first. If your cleaning method does not appear to harm the furniture after several minutes, it should be safe.
If you have an unprotected leather, it’s best to check with your furniture manufacturer for tips to remove stains. If your leather is protected, though, you can use the following methods for removing stains on leather:
- Use a very small amount of mild soap with lukewarm, distilled water to dab onto the stain. Use a damp cloth to remove the soap, and wipe dry with a dry, clean cloth. Apply a leather conditioner once the area is fully dry.
- Dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the area using a cotton swab. Wipe away the alcohol with a damp cloth, and then use a dry cloth to dry the area. Apply leather conditioner to the area once dry.
- For fresh grease or oil stains, try to blot as much of the spill as possible with a clean, dry cloth. Then, use a leather conditioning wipe or a cloth with a mild soap over the area. Use a clean, dry cloth to remove any wetness, and then apply a leather conditioner if the stain is fully removed. If not, it’s best to consult a professional.
If you see a small scratch on your leather furniture, don’t panic. Over time, leather furniture may begin to crack or create small scratches after repeated, regular use. Fortunately, many scratches are simply surface scratches that can be alarming at first, but can be buffed right out.
Use a microfiber cloth to buff out scratches using a circular motion. It may take several minutes, but you should notice the scratch fade. Once it does, apply a leather conditioner to the area. If you can’t seem to get it to budge, ask your furniture manufacturer for tips.
One of the most important steps in taking care of your leather furniture is to keep it protected. Your furniture likely came protected with a conditioner, but leather oils fade over time, and it’s your responsibility to replenish them so your furniture is protected against wear and tear, scratches, and spills.
American Leather recommends applying leather conditioner every six to twelve months. Always review the suggestions from your manufacturer, or the care instructions for your specific furniture, before purchasing a leather conditioner. Once you learn what type is best for your furniture, keep it on hand so you can also use it, as needed, after cleaning or spot treating stains.