Different leather materials will require different cleaning techniques, so a key first step is to determine what type of leather your furniture is made of. If your sofa is genuine leather, you will need to use a water-based shampoo and conditioner. Water-based cleaners work best on this material, and it’s important not to use oil or wax because the solvents they contain may damage the surface. If you have a man-made leather sofa, use soap or a solvent-based cleaner and wipe off the dressings with a dry cloth.
How Often to Clean a Leather Sofa
How often you need to clean your leather furniture will depend on several factors. How much and what type of use your furniture gets will be one determinant, as well as the amount of care it was given during its construction. Sofa upholstery is one of the most frequently used pieces, so very active families may need to clean theirs more often than people with a less active lifestyle.
Another factor that can affect how often you should clean a sofa is the material it’s made from. This will be another determining factor in what cleaning agents you choose to use. Genuine leather doesn’t need to be cleaned that frequently because it is able to absorb oils and create a natural barrier. However, if your upholstery is made of a man-made material, you’ll need to clean it more frequently.
Finally, you should clean your sofa as soon as possible after spills occur and stains appear. These will only get worse with time, so it’s best to nip them in the bud when they first occur.
How to Clean a Leather Sofa
If you have a well-kept leather sofa, then you can easily clean it by using simple household cleaners and outdoor spray wax. However, if your sofa needs a more thorough cleaning, it is best to take your leather sofa to the professional for a more thorough cleaning.
Mild soaps work well on most leathers and will not damage them. If you choose the old school method of using water alone, make sure you don’t leave water stains on your furniture.
What You’ll Need
- Clean sponge or cloth
- Soft bristle brush.
A good solution for leather furniture is the following: fill a bucket with warm water and add two capfuls of liquid soap. Mix together well and begin cleaning with a soft-bristled brush. You can use either a detergent designed specifically for cleaning leather furniture or any mild liquid soap.
Apply the sudsy water with a soft sponge or cloth, then wipe it off thoroughly once you’re done. If any cloth remains on the couch after you’re done, it will pull stains into the furniture. Once you’re finished, allow the furniture to dry completely. Leave it in a sunny spot if possible so that it will dry quickly.
If your leather couch is looking a bit dull, you’ll probably want to clean it. Use a soft brush to remove debris from your leather couch, followed by a vacuum cleaner. Mix together equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol in a bucket and fill it to the brim. Drop in your old-fashioned washer and fill it to the brim; submerge the couch in the solution and sprinkle some baking soda into it as well. Leave all of your furniture overnight. Then remove it, spray with a commercial leather cleaner and rinse out all of the alcohol and soda. Blot with clean cloths to get rid of loose starch residue, then leave your furniture to dry completely before returning it to the seat.
Tough stains may need to be wiped with a wet cloth. If any tough stains remain, make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions. There are many products available to clean and maintain your leather furniture.
You’ll need to do this as often as once a week to keep it clean. Be careful not to use too much water or soap; use only enough so that the cloth is damp and doesn’t drip over the leather. If you’re using an old-fashioned vacuum for cleaning leather furniture, practice some common sense when using it.
Buff to a shine with a commercial leather polish or cleaner. Oiling your leather furniture will also help restore its luster after cleaning and dusting. If you can’t afford to take your upholstery to the pro, then check the label to see if you can use a basic household cleaner or all-purpose cleaner on it.
Cleaning leather furniture is fast and easy. Only use mild cleansers and store-bought cleaners on your furniture, as soap will weaken it over time. It may be worth the cost of hiring a professional cleaner for a once-a-year cleaning, especially if your couch is made of leather.