How to Clean Leather Sofa with Household Products

How to Clean Leather Sofa with Household Products?

Your leather sofa is the centrepiece of your living room, offering both comfort and style. But over time, it gathers dust, spills, and stains, turning your once pristine investment into a bit of an eyesore. Fear not, because you don’t need expensive products or professional services to bring back its original lustre.

With a few household items, you can embark on a DIY cleaning journey that’s both effective and gentle on your sofa’s delicate material. If you’re looking for a deeper clean or professional touch, consider exploring a sofa cleaning service that specialises in rejuvenating all types of upholstery. Ready to get started? Let’s jump into the simple steps to make your leather sofa look as good as new, using products you likely already have at home.


Key Takeaways

  • Understand Your Leather: Differentiate between protected (finished) leather and unprotected (unfinished) leather to choose the correct cleaning approach, ensuring the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your sofa.
  • Household Cleaning Solutions: Utilize simple household products like mild soap and water, white vinegar, baking soda, and olive oil mixture for cleaning and conditioning your leather sofa, proving effective yet gentle methods for maintenance.
  • Regular Maintenance: Dust and vacuum your sofa regularly, immediately clean up spills to prevent stains, and apply a leather conditioner semi-annually to protect and preserve your sofa’s quality and appearance.
  • Spot Test Before Cleaning: Always perform a spot test on a hidden area of your sofa before applying any new cleaning solution, to prevent damage or discoloration to the leather.
  • Protect From Damage: Keep your leather sofa in prime condition by protecting it from direct sunlight, heat, and sharp objects, thereby extending its life and maintaining its luxury.

Understanding Leather Types and Their Cleaning Needs

When embarking on the journey to clean your leather sofa using household products, recognising the type of leather you’re dealing with is crucial. Each type has its own care requirements which, if followed, ensure your sofa remains in pristine condition. There are primarily two types you’ll encounter: protected (finished) leather and unprotected (unfinished) leather.

Protected (Finished) Leather

Protected leather is the most common type used in furniture, including sofas. It has a durable surface finish that provides resistance against spills and stains, making it easier to maintain. For this type, a simple cleaning solution of equal parts water and white vinegar works wonders. It’s gentle yet effective in removing surface dirt and grime.

Unprotected (Unfinished) Leather

Unprotected leather, such as nubuck or suede, lacks a protective coating, rendering it more susceptible to damage. Cleaning this type requires a softer touch. A dry brush or cloth is often all that’s needed to lift dust. For stains, applying a small amount of baking soda or cornstarch overnight can absorb grease without the need for moisture, which could further damage the material.

Test Before You Clean

Regardless of your sofa’s leather type, it’s imperative to perform a spot test on a hidden area before applying any cleaning solution extensively. This step ensures that the method you’ve chosen won’t cause discoloration or damage.

  • Dusting your leather sofa regularly with a soft cloth helps prevent dirt build-up.
  • Immediately blotting any spills with a clean, dry cloth can prevent stains from setting in.
  • Placing your sofa away from direct sunlight reduces the risk of fading.

Understanding your leather sofa’s specific needs allows you to clean and maintain it effectively using products you likely already have at home. By following the guidelines suited to your sofa’s leather type, you’ll ensure it remains inviting and durable for years to come.

Essential Household Products for Cleaning Leather Sofas

Maintaining the luxurious look of your leather sofa doesn’t require an arsenal of expensive cleaners. In fact, you’ve likely got everything you need right in your kitchen or laundry room. Here’s a focused list of household items that’ll keep your leather furnishings in prime condition, ensuring they remain a centrepiece in your home for years.

Mild Soap and Water

For routine cleaning, a solution of mild soap and water works wonders. Opt for a gentle soap, like dishwashing liquid, diluted in water. Use a microfiber cloth to apply, ensuring the cloth is only damp, not wet, to avoid soaking the leather.

White Vinegar and Water

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to tackle tougher stains or build-up. White vinegar, a natural cleaner, effectively removes surface stains without damaging leather. Apply with a soft cloth, and always follow up with a dry cloth to remove any lingering moisture.

Baking Soda

For oily stains, baking soda is your go-to. Sprinkle a small amount on the stain, let it sit for a few hours or overnight, and dab away. Baking soda absorbs the oil, making the stain easier to lift.

Olive Oil and Vinegar

A mixture of olive oil and vinegar can double as a leather conditioner, keeping the sofa’s surface soft and preventing cracks. Mix two parts olive oil to one part vinegar. After cleaning the sofa with your chosen method, apply this mixture sparingly with a soft cloth.

Rubbing Alcohol

For ink stains or stubborn spots, dabbing a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and gently applying it to the area can be effective. But, it’s crucial to conduct a spot test on an inconspicuous area first, as alcohol can cause discolouration on some types of leather.

By incorporating these household products into your leather cleaning routine, you not only ensure that your sofa stays looking its best but also extend its lifespan. Remember, it’s always important to perform a spot test with any new product or method. Regular dusting and immediate attention to spills will further help in maintaining your leather sofa’s elegance.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean Your Leather Sofa

Cleaning your leather sofa doesn’t require expensive products or professional services. With everyday household items, you can maintain its look and feel. Here’s how to clean your leather sofa step by step, using items you likely already have at home.

Vacuum Gently to Remove Dust and Debris

  1. Detach cushions: If your sofa allows, remove the cushions to access every nook.
  2. Use a soft brush attachment: Vacuum the sofa surfaces with a soft brush to prevent scratching the leather.
  3. Reach tight spots: Use the crevice tool on your vacuum to clean in between cushions and in the seams.

Create a Cleaning Solution

  1. Mix mild soap with water: Combine a small amount of mild, liquid dish soap with warm water in a bowl.
  2. Test first: Apply a small amount to an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t harm the leather.

Wipe Down the Sofa

  1. Dampen a cloth: Submerge a soft microfiber cloth into the soap solution, then wring it out until it’s just damp.
  2. Gently wipe: Clean the leather surfaces with the cloth, working in sections and paying extra attention to any stains or spills.

Tackle Stains with Natural Products

  1. Ink stains: For ink, dab gently with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol, avoiding rubbing which can spread the stain.
  2. Grease spots: Apply baking soda to grease stains, let it sit for a few hours to absorb the oil, then dust it off.

Condition the Leather

  1. Mix one part white vinegar with two parts linseed oil: Apply this mixture to the leather with another clean, soft cloth.
  2. Buff gently: After applying, let the mixture sit overnight, then buff it with a dry cloth for a shiny finish.
  1. Quick cleans: Wipe your sofa with a dry cloth weekly to remove dust and prevent build-up.
  2. Deep clean: Every three to six months, depending on usage, give your sofa a thorough clean as described above.

By following these simple steps, you’ll keep your leather sofa looking its best. Remember, regular maintenance not only extends the life of your sofa but also preserves the quality of the leather over time.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Leather Sofa

Maintaining a clean leather sofa requires regular attention and the use of suitable household products to ensure its longevity and aesthetic appeal. By integrating these practices into your cleaning routine, you’ll keep your leather sofa in pristine condition for years to come.

Regular Dusting and Vacuuming

Begin by dusting your sofa weekly with a soft microfiber cloth to remove surface dust and allergens. Use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to reach into crevices and under cushions, preventing the buildup of dust and debris that can scratch and wear down the leather over time.

Immediate Spill Clean-Up

Act quickly when spills occur by blotting them with a clean, dry cloth. Avoid wiping as this can spread the liquid further into the leather. For tougher spills or stains, refer back to the natural cleaning solutions discussed earlier, like diluted vinegar or mild soap, ensuring you test on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Apply a Leather Conditioner

Conditioning your leather sofa every 6 to 12 months is essential to prevent drying and cracking. Use a good-quality leather conditioner; a small amount goes a long way. Apply the conditioner with a soft cloth in circular motions, allowing it to soak in and protect the leather.

Avoid Direct Sunlight and Heat

Place your sofa away from direct sunlight and heat sources like radiators or air vents. Excessive heat and UV exposure can cause the leather to fade, dry out, and crack over time, diminishing its natural beauty and resilience.

Be Mindful of Sharp Objects

Protect your sofa from scratches and tears by being mindful of sharp objects. Encourage family members to avoid sitting on the sofa with sharp-edged items in pockets and keep pets’ nails trimmed. Using throws and blankets can also add an extra layer of protection while adding a personal touch to your decor.

By following these practical tips and incorporating the household cleaning methods discussed previously, you’ll effectively maintain the elegance and durability of your leather sofa. Regular care not only enhances the sofa’s appearance but also its lifespan, making your investment worthwhile.


Keeping your leather sofa in top condition doesn’t have to be a chore. Armed with the knowledge of the right household products and a bit of elbow grease, you’re well on your way to ensuring your furniture remains as inviting and luxurious as the day you brought it home. Remember, a little care goes a long way. Regular maintenance, coupled with the occasional deep clean, will keep your sofa looking its best. So don’t wait for a spill to turn into a stain—tackle it head-on and enjoy the comfort and beauty of your leather sofa for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I clean my leather sofa with common household items?

Yes, you can clean your leather sofa using common household items, focusing on removing dust, spills, and stains in a gentle manner to prevent damage.

What should I know about professional leather sofa cleaning?

Professional leather sofa cleaning provides a deeper clean than DIY methods can achieve, particularly beneficial for sofas that have not been cleaned for a long time or have stubborn stains.

How important is it to know the type of leather of my sofa?

It’s very important to know whether your leather is protected or unprotected, as cleaning methods and products should be tailored accordingly to avoid damage.

What are the top tips for maintaining a clean leather sofa?

Maintaining a clean leather sofa involves regular dusting and vacuuming, immediate spill clean-up, applying a leather conditioner every 6 to 12 months, avoiding direct sunlight and heat, and preventing scratches and tears with careful use.

How frequently should I apply leather conditioner?

You should apply leather conditioner to your sofa approximately every 6 to 12 months to maintain its softness and prevent drying or cracking.