Natural way to clean leather sofa

Cleaning Leather Furniture, Sofa Or Couch

Here are the five best easy steps in cleaning leather furniture with natural ingredients. We clean all types of leather sofas, chairs, couches, and more. Our products are safe and non-toxic. Guaranteed to remove the toughest stains from your chair. Professional leather furniture cleaning for your home or office. Contact us for more information.

Leather is a visually pleasing and durable material for furniture and clothing. To keep it looking and feeling good for a long time, it needs a little bit of love.

We’re going to show you some ways to clean your leather products, naturally. We’ll include a few stain types, cleaning methods and ingredients that you can use when tackling this type of work.

Before we start, let’s talk about why cleaning leather, naturally, is a better alternative to using an off-the-shelf cleaning product.

The first major difference between all cleaning products is the chemical makeup. Cleaning leather requires certain compounds to clear away grime and other build-ups. All cleaner formulas will use waxes, oils, and additives. However, some formulas rely on alkaline, which is a powerful chemical for cleaning. However, as strong as alkaline may be, it can also be unduly harsh and may cause damage when not used properly. Therefore, other leather cleaning products will have alkaline-free formulas, relying on gentler compounds to restore leather’s beauty. In most cases, putting together your own leather cleaning product is more cost-effective than purchasing one.

The way leather is produced has changed over the years. Leather is in an acidic state when produced in the tannery, which is why most modern leather cleaners should not be too alkaline. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to leather cleaners. It is impossible to have one type of cleaner that removes all dirt from all types of leather. It has been proven that a suitable cleaning method, complemented by appropriate products and accessories designed specifically for the type of leather and level of soiling, gives the best results. With that in mind, the following advice is not designed for suede or nubuck leather.

How to clean a leather sofa

Step 1: Vacuum

Prepare your furniture by vacuuming all dust and debris off the surface and out of the folds. Vacuum gently so as not to scratch the material.

Step 2: Wipe down

Wipe the entire surface with a clean, warm, damp cloth to remove all loose surface dirt. Again, be gentle.

Step 3: Spot removal 

Try to check the furniture manufacturer’s directions first and spot-test a small, hidden area to check for discolouration before applying any remedies to the whole piece.

For ink-based leather stains like ballpoint pen and marker try rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and gently rub along the mark until the ink begins to lift. Change cotton swabs often to reduce bleeding. Once the leather stain is removed, wipe away excess alcohol with a clean, damp cloth.

For protein-based leather stains like food and blood, try a paste of 2 parts corn starch to 1 part lemon juice.

For surface scratches, try erasing with a mild oil, like olive or baby oil. Dip a cotton swab in the oil and gently massage along scratch until well covered. Let sit for 5 minutes and gently buff away excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.

Step 4: Overall clean

The best way how to clean a leather couch and the entire surface would be to mix 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part olive oil in a spray bottle and shake well. You can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to cut the vinegar scent.

Spray generously and use a clean cloth to massage the stain using a circular motion until the entire surface has been cleaned. A soft brush when learning how to clean leather can also be used to gently scrub problem areas. Then use a dry paper towel to wipe all excess oil off the furniture.

Step 5: Polish & Finish

To revive the lustre of the material, there are several commonly available oils you can adapt. Use a clean, dry cloth to rub coconut oil into the leather in a circular motion, much like shoe polish. Let penetrate for 10 minutes, and buff out the excess oil with a new, clean cloth. You can also use bee wax or almond oil as a substitute for coconut oil. A more exhaustive recipe for leather polish would be 1 part bees wax, 1 part cocoa butter, and 2 parts almond oil.

View the related video here on how to clean a leather couch

For more information on cleaning leather furniture with natural ingredients, contact Clean Planet.

How to Clean Leather Furniture Stains with Natural Products (DIY)

Updated: Jan. 03, 2019

Leave the harsh chemicals in the cupboard and find a natural remedy.

Next Project›

These natural leather cleaning tips will make old furniture look new. The best part is you probably already have everything you need in the cupboard!

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

A full day

How to Clean Leather: Give It a Good Vacuuming

Use Those Attachments to get in the Crevices

Before reaching for harsh chemicals on a leather stain, try these natural, at-home remedies to learn how to clean a leather couch and leather furniture. Always remember to check the furniture manufacturers directions first, and spot-test a small, hidden area to check for discoloration before applying any remedies to the whole piece. First, prep the leather stain surface by vacuuming all dust and debris off surface and out of folds.

Start with a Damp Cloth

Get Rid of Surface Dirt

Next, wipe entire surface down with a clean, warm damp cloth to remove all loose, surface dirt. Be gentle and move quickly – water can sometimes discolor unfinished leather.

Use Rubbing Alcohol for Ink Leather Stain

How to Remove Ink From Leather Couch

For ink-based leather stains like ballpoint pen and marker try rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and gently rub along mark until ink begins to lift. Change cotton swabs often to reduce bleed. Once the leather stain is removed, wipe away excess alcohol with clean, damp cloth.

A Special Mixture for Protein-based Stains

Cornstarch and Lemon Juice

For protein-based leather stains like food and blood, try a paste of 2 parts cornstarch to 1 parts lemon juice as you learn how to clean a leather couch and leather furniture.

Use a Mild Oil on Scratches

Olive or Baby Oil

For surface scratches, try erasing with a mild oil, like olive or baby oil. Dip a cotton swab in oil and gently massage along scratch until well covered. Let sit for 5 minutes and gently buff away excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.

Do an Overall Clean

Make Your Own Solution

The best way to clean a leather couch and the entire surface, mix 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part olive oil in a spray bottle and shake well. (You can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to cut the vinegar smell).

Be Generous with Spray

Use a Gentle, Steady Pattern

Spray generously and use a clean cloth to massage into a leather stain using a circular motion until the entire surface has been cleaned. A soft brush when learning how to clean leather can also be used to gently scrub problem areas. Then use a dry paper towel to wipe all excess oil off the leather.

Finish with a Nourishing Oil

Coconut Oil Works Wonders

To revive the luster of leather furniture and buff out small scratches and fading, try a natural leather cleaner like coconut oil. Use a clean, dry cloth to rub coconut oil into leather in a circular motion, much like shoe polish. Let penetrate 10 minutes, and buff out excess oil with a new, clean cloth.

Originally Published: January 03, 2019

Similar Projects

Popular How-To Videos

How to clean a leather sofa at home


Leather sofa looks spectacular in the interior, with careful proper operation it will decorate the room for many years. In order not to ruin expensive leather upholstery, you should use gentle proven methods for cleaning the sofa at home. Preventive self-care will prevent the appearance of obvious contamination and help keep the leather covering in a clean and good condition for a long time. For this, specialized store cleaners or some homemade tools are suitable. If there are extensive greasy areas or complex specific stains on leather furniture, then it is more reliable to order dry cleaning of a leather sofa from a cleaning company.

Usually, the manufacturer attaches a passport, instructions, insert to the furniture. This document will be the main guide in choosing a method and means for cleaning a leather sofa. Look at the label for the type of leather and impregnation used for the upholstery, the correct care instructions will be given there. According to the general rules, leather products should not be treated with aggressive solutions , rubbed with metal or hard brushes, subjected to excessive moisture, friction, it is also not recommended to use a hair dryer or place heaters near. Consider a universal algorithm for cleaning leather sofas, consisting of several steps.

Dry clean

To avoid dust getting into the porous structure of the material, it is necessary to vacuum the sofa once a week, preferably when unfolded. For this, a household vacuum cleaner, slit-like and soft nozzles are suitable. Vacuum the entire surface and elements of the sofa with a soft brush attachment. Most of all, dust, small debris, hair accumulate in bends, folds, depressions, seams. Vacuum these areas thoroughly with a flat crevice tool.


For routine wet cleaning of leather upholstery, prepare a household soap solution. Add a few drops of liquid soap to a liter of barely warm water. Dampen a soft cloth in the product, wring it out and wipe the entire sofa, paying attention to the joints and seams. When finished, blot the remaining foam with a clean, damp cloth and then with a paper towel. It is not necessary to wet the upholstery abundantly, so as not to damage the material. Soapy water treatment is a preventative way to keep leather upholstery clean. If there are specific stains or pronounced dirt on the coating, especially in the area of ​​​​armrests, seats, then it is better to use specialized products for cleaning leather furniture or call a professional dry cleaner at home.


Special polishes are applied to the leather to give it a shine and a well-groomed appearance. In addition to aesthetic characteristics, such products also create an additional protective film, soften the material, and prevent drying and cracking. Such a caring balm, skin conditioner or aerosol wax is sold in the departments of household chemicals. Glycerin is a homemade alternative.

For cleaning leather sofas at home, there are all kinds of special cleaners on sale in different forms of release. The compositions of the products are purposefully designed for the delicate treatment of leather upholstery and are focused on solving several problems at the same time - cleaning dirt, removing specific stains, eliminating unpleasant odors, creating a protective layer. It remains only to choose the right cleaner, study the instructions on the package and follow the recommendations.

Popular commercial leather cleaners:

In addition, it is useful to have moist cleaning wipes for leather furniture on hand. They add shine and quickly remove fresh dirt. For example, you can use napkins from the brands Home Queen, Presto Clean, Tarrago, House lux and others.

Folk remedies for cleaning a leather sofa should be used with extreme caution, there is a risk of completely spoiling the material as a result of the experiment. Still, it is better to give preference to the above store products or resort to professional dry cleaning services.

The most versatile and safest home remedy is a soapy water solution.

As a last resort, the following may be useful:

It is believed that some stains can be removed with acetone, alcohol, gasoline, ammonia, milk, onion, egg white and other unimaginable means. Such folk methods are more likely to do more harm than good. Thinner and alcohol can peel off the paint or stain, so a sensible approach is needed. It’s not even worth commenting about the listed food products - not only will you not clean anything with them, but you will create even more problems, dirty stains combined with unpleasant odors.

To clean the white leather sofa, you can use Lucky Bee Light Leather and Artificial Leather Cleaner or Tri-Bio Bio Cleaner. They are easy to use and delicately help to bring white furniture in order without unnecessary effort and unpredictable damage. First, test your chosen product on a small, inconspicuous product.

If these products are not available, then treat the sofa with soapy water. Fill a basin with warm water and add baby or liquid soap without coloring ingredients. It is not necessary to pour water on the upholstery. Dip a sponge into the foam and gently scrub the finish without rubbing too much. Then pick up any remaining dirt and grout with a clean, damp cloth and blot with paper towels. If, after cleaning, the contaminated areas are not completely washed out, then it is better to call specialists with on-site dry cleaning.

Leather is susceptible to excessive wetting, and from active friction, the material becomes thinner and cracks over time. To avoid deformation, it is advisable to clean the leather upholstery with a gentle method - manually using professional detergents. First, dry cleaning is performed with a vacuum cleaner to collect surface dirt, dust, wool, and hair. Then the detergent is distributed over the surface from the sprayer and with the help of a brush or sponge, all the elements of the sofa are manually cleaned with light, gentle movements. Dirt will fall away before your eyes. As small areas are processed, the dirt is then wiped off with a clean cloth. At the end of the process, the skin must be treated with a special conditioner, protective cream or impregnation and left to dry completely naturally.

Leather sofa cleaning professionals can use vacuum cleaner-extractors, polishers and other equipment in their work. But the use of specialized equipment requires knowledge of a clear algorithm and sequence, therefore it is risky to do dry cleaning on your own, it is better to entrust this process to the masters.

This option is possible, but usually rarely used, given the quality of the leather and the nature of the contamination. If you decide to experiment, you will need a quality professional steam cleaner with adjustable steam level , and you should work at the lowest setting and carefully, using a special soft nozzle. Of course, modern technology significantly speeds up the processing of the sofa, compared to the manual method, but for leather upholstery this is not the safest option. The fact is that the skin can wrinkle, warp, deform and stretch during exposure to steam. Restoration will then be too expensive.

Fresh drops of blood are very easy to remove with ordinary cold water. Moisten the tissue and wipe off the blood, usually this is enough. Old stains are much more difficult to remove, in this case, try to remove the mark with a store cleaner, which were mentioned above.

In fact, traces from a marker, felt-tip pen, ballpoint pen are difficult to remove. The components are absorbed into the structure and literally dry out. Many use alcohol or nail polish remover without acetone. But this method does not guarantee an effective result, although it can help. The use of such liquids often contributes to an even greater increase in the ink stain or provokes peeling of the paint. There is another way - hairspray. Spray it on the mark and after 5-10 seconds wipe off with a damp sponge.

If caught in hot pursuit, no stain will remain on the leather upholstery. Absorb liquid from freshly spilled tea or coffee immediately to the maximum with paper towels. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, talc or starch on the wet track for 20-30 minutes. The dry mix absorbs moisture. Wash the mark with a cloth dampened with cold soapy water and wipe dry. For old pigmented spots, use professional products.

If possible, remove fallen food crumbs, leftover food, greasy marks as soon as you notice. Sprinkle soda on a fresh greasy mark for 2-3 hours, and then remove it with a brush. If the stain is not completely gone, treat with soapy water or a special cleaner in the same way as when removing other stains.

How to clean a leather sofa at home

Modern designs, thanks to their thoughtful design and construction, from leather upholstery as a finishing element, only add sophistication and elegance to themselves. Any furniture in the apartment is used daily by people. We open the cabinet doors and pull out the chest of drawers. We try to protect those surfaces that we have to touch more often with various kinds of covers. We put a blanket on the bed. We cover the surface of the table with a tablecloth. Only the sofas and armchairs, despite being the most frequently used, remain open. If you can still pick up a cape on fabric upholstery and at the same time everything will look organic, then this will not work with leather products. You didn’t buy such a set, definitely not cheap, to hide it under a cape.

It remains to either refrain from using it for its intended purpose, or prepare for the fact that you have furniture that requires special treatment and care. We suggest you find out in advance how to clean a leather sofa from stains and dirt at home. Regularly transporting the product to a specialized dry cleaner or calling a team of specialists at home is troublesome and expensive. In some cases, professional equipment and specialized preparations are indispensable. But ordinary cleaning is quite within the power of everyone to do.

Daily care of upholstered furniture

The most important thing for the preservation of such products is a comfortable environment - constant temperature, moderate humidity and no direct sunlight. Simply following these requirements will prolong the appearance of the headset. More effective methods of maintaining cleanliness will be needed only with significant contamination. This article contains the most common ways to care for such things. The ingredients used for this are publicly available and are in every home. We will tell you in detail what and in what cases you can use.

Use a vacuum cleaner

At least once a week, along with the general cleaning of the apartment, vacuum your rest area. On a smooth glossy surface, dust is visible just as well as on a polished one. But, before cleaning a leather sofa, take a closer look at the nozzles used. Whether they are metal or plastic, they can damage the skin. There should be no sharp edges or corners. A small scratch on the protective layer will lead to further damage and cracks. The degree of safety of the furniture depends on your attentiveness and accuracy.

If the coating is fluffy, it is not recommended to use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning. Dust and dirt should be swept away only with a soft bristle brush and all movements should be made strictly in its direction. The same applies to corrugated trim elements.

Wet cleaning

After removing large debris and dust, it is necessary to wipe the entire upholstery. Such a procedure will help remove contaminants that have not been pre-cleaned, but have not yet had time to penetrate into the pores of the material. We dilute a little soap in clean warm water, you can use liquid soap. Even better if it has a moisturizing effect. We moisten a soft sponge in the solution, wring it out well and wipe all accessible surfaces, not pressing hard. This procedure will help you, without any cleaning products, at home, wash the dirt off the leather sofa before it penetrates the structure. We wait 15-20 minutes until the solution dries, and wipe it along with the lagging dirt.

Use of Vaseline or baby oil instead of a cleaning solution gives a good effect. Apply the composition to the product and, after waiting a quarter of an hour, wipe everything with a dry cloth, making polishing movements. Under the influence of external conditions, the skin dries up from time to time, which leads to its cracking and loss of presentation. Treatment with such oils moisturizes and softens leather upholstery. It restores its softness and shine.

Beaten egg white can be used for this purpose. The natural component works more effectively. But, if the coating is old and dotted with a network of cracks and damage, there is a risk that the organic matter will not be completely removed by wiping. Its remains can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and microorganisms.

How to clean stains on a leather sofa and wipe off stubborn dirt

Before proceeding with direct removal, read the accompanying passport for your furniture from its manufacturer. The upholstery material, the type of dye used and a list of recommended care products are necessarily indicated there. If such a document is not available for any reason, check all formulations for interaction with the coating in places that are not conspicuous before use.

First try soapy water, petroleum jelly or baby oil. Most types of pollution are amenable to these means. You can use special ones designed for skin care:

All of them have a composition that not only destroys dirt, but also protects the product, creating a barrier from environmental influences, and restoring the structure. Thereby extending the service life. Before cleaning your leather sofa with an unfamiliar product at home, carefully read the instructions. Compositions not intended for skin treatment should not be used. Preparations intended for smooth material are not suitable for suede and nubuck. And vice versa.

Additional detergent components that can be used in the fight against pollution are also familiar to every housewife:

With some care you can use:

This set is enough to keep the furniture in good condition. Any dirt is easier to remove while it is fresh. The more neglected the situation, the more actively and aggressively the means will have to be used. For application and processing, use only foam sponges, flannel cloths, microfiber and soft brushes with natural bristles. But don't put too much effort into caring for a leather sofa. Otherwise, the paintwork or protective layer may be damaged, or the upholstery may stretch or tear.

Classification of stains and how to deal with them

Most often, unexpected stains on furniture come from food and drink. If you have not made it a rule to ban eating in the rest corner, these further tips are for you.

Grease marks

When the stain is very fresh, do not rub it with a cloth. So you only increase the area of ​​​​contamination and press particles of fat into the pores, which will become more difficult to remove from there.

Sprinkle any absorbent on the mark - chalk, talc, starch, salt, soda. Allow a few minutes for the grease particles to soak in and gently sweep everything off. If necessary, the procedure can be repeated. Then wash the entire area with soapy water or dishwashing detergent.

Old stains are removed by covering with soapy water or petroleum jelly. Allow to stand for 15-20 minutes and wipe with a dry cloth.

Spilled drinks

Freshly spilled tea, coffee, beer, wine and other liquids should first be blotted with a dry cloth. Then sprinkle with any available substance to absorb residual moisture. After a few minutes, remove the remaining dirt, wash the place with soapy water.

We try to clean a leather sofa from old stains in the same way as other dirt. First we try to soak with any warm detergent composition, and then we wipe it with a rag. If that doesn't help, try using Vaseline. If this does not work, as an extreme method, you can use a solution of ammonia, alcohol or lemon juice. But on painted products, we must first check the action in a hidden area. In order not to discolor the treated area. After processing, we rinse again, wipe everything thoroughly with clean water, dry it with a napkin and apply a layer of petroleum jelly or oil. The unpleasant smell after spilled beer is removed by adding a little ammonia to the water.

Blood stains

Blood stains, whether fresh or dried, can only be treated with cold water or solutions. Heat accelerates clotting and makes cleaning difficult. If the pollution has not had time to dry, apply talc, starch, soda on it and let it soak. Then remove the resulting slurry and wash the area with cold water and any detergent.

Moisten old stains with soapy water and let stand in this form for about twenty minutes. Then you need to rinse the leather sofa with a damp sponge, let it dry and grease it with petroleum jelly or baby oil, protecting it from drying out.

Ink and marker marks

These marks can be easily removed with weak alcohol solutions or acetone. But check if this concentration will affect the coloring layer. Sometimes small spots can be erased with an ordinary eraser.

Microbial Infestation

A common skin problem is mold and mildew. A contributing factor can be increased humidity in the room, spilled and not cleaned liquid, and even poorly wiped furniture after washing. It is especially necessary to carefully monitor products that have abundant folds and additional elements.

If a colony of spores is found, immediate disinfection is required. This is best done by wiping the area with a mild vinegar solution. But, without allowing the composition to be absorbed, rinse everything with detergent and wipe with clean water and napkins. Launched cases of mold damage to a leather sofa cannot be washed off on their own, like ordinary dirt. The fungus penetrates deep into the structure. To get it, you will need the effort of professionals and special operating means.

Care instructions for light colors

Keeping such furniture clean turns out to be an additional hassle for the owner. Any blots on such a surface stand out especially brightly. In part, this inconvenience is offset by the ability to use more radical cleaning products.

Many steps are the same as for painted products. Vacuum and wipe regularly. First with a damp sponge, then with Vaseline. We only note the distinctive features that can be used on such headsets:

If you are going to clean a white or light leather sofa at home, do not forget to test the product on an inconspicuous area before treating the base. And after washing with water, dry and lubricate the surfaces with nourishing baby oil.

Restoration of scuffs and scratches

You can easily repair leather goods yourself. After the standard cleaning procedure, allow the material to dry and carefully inspect it in good light from different angles. Over time, scratches and worn spots form on any surface. Under the influence of cleaning agents, the painted surface also brightens. To restore the appearance, you can use special tools. Whitish spots are returned to their juiciness with cream-paint for leather products. To hide cracks, treatment with a spray or napkins impregnated with a restorative composition based on wax or silicone helps.

Restoration of wooden elements

If your set has decorative inserts and armrests made of wood, they also need to be looked after. The already tested furniture polish and petroleum jelly will help you with this. They will help hide minor scratches on lacquered surfaces, and remove whitish stains left after hot cups.

A few more tips for caring for furniture

In this article we tried to tell you how to wash and how to clean leather sofas and armchairs. But no matter how hard you try, no matter how carefully you use them, over time, the coating wears out, tears and loses its presentability. If earlier such a product was considered to have served its time and was thrown away, modern technologies allow it to return to its second youth. Only such a procedure requires special tools, consumables and some experience in their use.

Leather repairs

These are done in leather repair workshops. But for those who like to make their own hands, all means are quite affordable. And the necessary skills are developed in the course of actions. What opportunities exist in this service sector: