How to Clean Leather

How luxurious and soft fine leather is. But how to clean leather, is a question often asked. Few materials exceed leather when it comes to making fine furniture. When cared for correctly, leather, like a fine wine, improves with age.

We suggest several ways for maintaining that beautiful luxurious look and feel of fine leather.

Generally, for all leather types, you will want to test a small hidden area to confirm that your treatment method will not harm the leather.

Before we get to How to Clean Leather, here are a few –

Leather Care Tips

  • Keep your leather dust free by dusting with a cloth once a week
  • Blot up spills immediately when they occur.
  • Protect your leather from direct or even indirect sunlight. Leathers such as full and semi-aniline will fade over time.
  • Keep your leather furniture at least 2 feet from heat sources such as radiators
  • Be careful about placing or using sharp objects on or near leather.
  • Be aware that cigarette and cigar smoke as well as cooking fumes may cause your leather to fade or change color.
  • Consider treating your leather with a protector or conditioner periodically

How to Clean Leather

First, Pretest any product you decide to use in a hidden area to ensure they will not ruin your leather

For spills of milk, ketchup, coffee, and other water based items

  1. Quickly blot dry the area with a clean cloth or sponge.
  2. Next, pre-test a "Leather Cleaner" product which is typically nothing more than a solution of emulsifiers and distilled water. Allow the pre-test area to dry, and verify that no color damage occurred.
  3. Next, apply the leather cleaner to a sponge. Squeeze the sponge several times to create a lather (A lather is important).
  4. Now clean the leather in a light circular motion. Do not rub! Clean the entire panel where the spill occurred.
  5. Blot up any excess leather cleaner with another clean dry cloth, and allow the newly cleaned area to dry for 30 minutes.
  6. If the area affected is still stained, repeat the cleaning steps above
  7. After cleaning is complete, treat smooth leathers with a leather conditioner. Treat buffed (Nubuck) leathers with a special Nubuck Protector.
  8. Homemade Leather Cleaning Tips

    • Hairspray works pretty well to remove pen ink. Spray hairspray directly onto the stain and wipe away. Repeat as necessary. Hairspray works to remove pen ink from other fabrics as well.
    • Conditon your furniture with a mixture of:
      • 1 part vinegar and
      • 2 parts linseed oil
      Mix this well and apply in a circular motion. Then buff it dry.

      Although a little more expensive, boiled linseed is purer and better for this conditioning. I have found linseed oil at Home Depot, Lowe's Hardware, Dick Blick Art Supplies, and Amazon.

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