Unilever logo
Cleanipedia AU logo

How to clean a leather couch or sofa

Read on to discover how to clean a leather sofa with our answers to frequently asked questions.


Cleaning a leather sofa

Key Steps

  • Use baking soda to remove odours.

  • Use a microfibre cloth.

  • Make sure your cloth is damp, not soaking. Too much water will cause damage.

  • Dry with a clean towel before air drying overnight.

  • Condition your sofa to ensure it stays in good shape.

  • Avoid exposure to the sun.

A leather couch is a comfortable and luxurious addition to any home, but it can be hard to keep it looking showroom perfect without regular cleaning. Fortunately, we can provide a handy guide for how to clean a leather couch to help you keep dirt at bay!

When it comes to cleaning a leather sofa, a lathered mixture of a moisturising soap like Dove and water can work wonders on light dirt. Always vacuum the surface first.

How to clean a leather sofa: FAQs answered

Ready for our answers to common queries about cleaning your leather sofa or how to clean white leather couch seats? Here goes!

  1. How do I get rid of loose dirt? Before you clean your sofa, it’s important to get rid of any loose dirt and debris. Use a vacuum to suck up all those crumbs and more. This will prevent them being rubbed into the sofa when cleaning. Use the brush attachment to make sure you dust the surface too.

  2. What materials should I use for cleaning my leather sofa? Make sure that you use a soft cloth, like one made from microfibre, for cleaning your sofa.

  3. What household products can you use to clean leather? There are a couple of different items you can use to create a homemade cleaner for your leather sofa. For example:

    • A drop or 2 of washing-up liquid in warm water for light dirt.

    • A mix of equal parts water and white vinegar is great for more stubborn marks.

    • Rubbing alcohol is good for treating set-in stains.

    • Ice inside a sandwich bag is a great way to loosen and remove sticky gum, candle wax or slime.

    • Mix 1-part white vinegar with 2-parts linseed oil to make a homemade conditioner for your leather.

    • Whatever products you choose to use, ensure that you test them on an inconspicuous part of the sofa before cleaning. This will allow you to check for any adverse reactions.

  4. Will baking soda damage leather? No! In fact, baking soda is great as part of the cleaning routine you use on your leather sofa. It works as a deodoriser – perfect for getting rid of smells if you have potty-training children or pets rambling around the house. Simply sprinkle it over the surface, let it soak up the odours for 24 hours (or overnight if you prefer) before vacuuming it up.

  5. Is there anything I shouldn’t do when cleaning my leather sofa? Here are a few things you need to remember:

    • Never use a blow dryer to dry your leather sofa as it will dehydrate the leather.

    • Never use a product without first testing it on an inconspicuous spot to ensure it doesn’t cause damage.

    • Never use abrasive products as they could damage the surface of your sofa.

    • Never saturate the cloth you clean with. Too much water will damage the leather.

    • Never leave stains to set. This could lead to discolouration and spots on the leather, so always blot up spills as soon as they happen.

  6. How do I clean my leather sofa? Here is our simple step-by-step guide to cleaning your leather sofa:

    • Dip your microfibre cloth into your chosen cleaning solution. Ensure it’s damp, not soaking.

    • Wipe the surface of your sofa with the cloth.

    • Clean from the top of the sofa to the bottom.

    • Use a clean towel to dry the sofa.

    • Leave to air dry overnight.

    • Condition the surface of the sofa.

    • Leave your conditioner overnight.

    • Buff the sofa the following day using a clean rag to restore its shine.

  7. How can I stop my leather becoming discoloured? The easiest way to keep your sofa looking its best is to avoid exposing it to sunlight. Sunlight can dry and age the leather leading not only to it becoming discoloured but also cracked.

Whether you need to know how to clean white leather couch seats, or simply wanted to check you’re following all the right steps, this guide should give you all the information you need! For more cleaning advice, check out our article on how to clean leather.

Originally published