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How To Clean A Leather Sofa

27 January 2023

Cleaning tips are a dime a dozen on the internet, right? You can find information about cleaning up pretty much any stain from any material. And yes, there are even other articles out there explaining how to clean a leather sofa.

But You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.

You see, here at The Leather Colour Doctor we're experts in all things leather. From leather furniture to leather jackets, we deal with them all. And one thing we know how to clean is a leather sofa. And when we say clean, we mean clean-clean.

We've got products that can help you out, but in the interest of fairness, we'll also talk you through a DIY method that will do just fine if you don't want to buy additional products right now. Whichever way you decide to clean your leather sofas, we've got all the info you could need right here.

If you're ready to learn more about how to clean a leather sofa, then join us below!

How To Clean A Leather Sofa

The Two Options

There's the easy way, and the hard way. Both are valid, but one will require a little more work and a little more resourcefulness on your end. To get it out of the way, we should probably talk about the hard way first, right?

  1. The hard way - creating a homemade solution using white vinegar, warm water, and a lot of elbow grease to clean up ink stains, grease stains, and general messes.
  2. The easy way - using our leather cleaning solution kit from The Leather Colour Doctor, which contains the leather cleaning solution and leather protection cream you'll need to sort out messes and restore your leather.

Either may be right for you, so let us explain both methods below so you can decide which one to go with to help clean up your leather sofas and get them looking right.

Cleaning Leather Sofas With A DIY Solution

What You'll Need

  • vacuum cleaner (with soft brush attachment)
  • soft cloth (microfibre cloth) x 2 at least
  • rubbing alcohol
  • distilled water
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • cotton ball

Prepping The Leather Sofa

First, take your hoover with its soft brush attachment and run it over the entire sofa. This will ensure any ingrained dirt, pet hair, and general mess is off your leather sofas before you start using products.

Switch to a thin crevice tool, if possible, to help you get down the back of the leather sofa and under the cushions where dirt usually accumulates.

Cleaning leather upholstery won't be as effective if you don't clean the leather's surface first. So remove dust, dirt, and debris, and then follow the tips below for deep cleaning your sofa.

Tips For General Cleaning

  1. Start with making your cleaning products. Combine equal parts water and white vinegar in a bowl. Use distilled water, because tap water can sometimes contain harmful chemicals to leather.
  2. Take a clean cloth or rag and dip it into the cleaning solution. You only want a damp rag here, so wring it out thoroughly until you have an almost dry rag. This will mean the leather sofa doesn't get damaged due to excess liquid.
  3. Wipe all over using a small circular motion, working every part of the leather. When you clean your leather sofa, gently buff the surface as you go and apply the cleaning products evenly.
  4. Now take a dry cloth and wipe over the entire sofa. Gently rub as you go to buff up the surface and bring back its natural shine.

This method is perfect for a regular cleaning routine that will clean leather fast and help you see results.

But if your leather couch has additional problems, then you might need additional products to help the cleaning process along.

Tips For Ink Stain

If you're dealing with an ink stain, then you might require some heavy duty cleaning supplies - namely, rubbing alcohol, a cotton ball, and a clean cloth or two.

Remember, a microfibre cloth is best to prevent transfer of lint.

Here's how to remove those stubborn ink based stains:

  1. Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, being careful not to soak it, just a slight dampness will do. Then rub the cotton ball over the ink stain.
  2. Take a clean rag or cloth and rinse it in water. Ring it out, and rub over the stain to remove any residue.
  3. Replace your damp cloth with a dry cloth and wipe over the area.

This should lift the stain from the surface quickly and effectively.


Tips For Grease Stain

For grease, you will need baking soda, especially on liquid stains.

Here's what to do:

  1. Sprinkle the baking soda directly on to the sofa dry.
  2. Let the powder sit overnight.
  3. Vacuum or brush away the powder the next day.

The sofa will be completely dry and the grease stain gone.

Grease Stain 1

Cleaning Your Leather Couch With The Leather Colour Doctor

What You'll Need

Step 1: Prepping The Leather Sofa

Before you start work on leather furniture with leather cleaners, you will need to prep the leather couch first. Take your vacuum with its soft brush attachment and run it over the entire couch. Leave no area un-hoovered. Otherwise, the dirt and dust will affect the next stages.

The Leather Sofa

Step 2: Applying Leather Cleaning Solution

Always test any leather cleaning product on an inconspicuous area BEFORE carrying out further cleaning.

Take our The Leather Colour Doctor leather cleaner and apply a small amount to a damp plastic scrubbing brush (make sure it has soft bristles, you don't want to mark or scratch the leather sofa, which is ESPECIALLY obvious on light coloured leather).

Work the cleaner into the sofa using a circular motion, creating a foam.

Once the whole sofa is covered, follow the manufacturer's instructions and leave for a few minutes to allow the product to activate. Once done, wipe clean with a clean cloth or clean rag (microfiber cloth if possible).

Our leather cleaner will do the same job as leather soap (like saddle soap, for example) but it will deep clean the sofa quickly and the cleanup is much faster.

Leather Cleaning

Step 3: Protective Coating With Cream

After the cleaner, our leather protection cream is always a great idea. It will lock in essential oil and prevent further stains and messes from occurring.

Simply take a clean cloth and apply a small amount of cream before rubbing the product into the leather sofa. A few strokes is all that's necessary here for the leather sofa to absorb the cream.

Once done, buff the leather sofa with a clean cloth until it shines.

Which Method Is Best?

You guys know which way we're going to go with this one, right? We're The Leather Colour Doctor, so we're bound to recommend using our products to clean your leather sofa. It's predictable.

But this isn't just us singing our own praises. We know our products work. Sure, the homemade solution works too, that's why we recommend it. But if you're working with specific products like aniline leather, for example, you have to be really careful. Too much vinegar and you've got a problem. Too much liquid and you might damage the leather sofa altogether.

If you know what you're doing and you've cleaned your sofa using a DIY approach before, then go ahead and do it again.

But if you're not sure or you want products that are guaranteed to deliver amazing results, well, you know where to find us.

Tips For Leather Conditioner

Even if you decide to use a homemade cleaning approach, please, consider using a leather conditioner. Leather conditioner will restore some of the essential oils to your leather, not only cleaning it, and helping it stay clean for longer but also caring for it so your leather is as healthy as it can be.

Yes, you could use lemon oil or tea tree oil as a replacement, but it won't be as good for your sofa as our leather conditioner/leather protection cream.

If you choose to clean your sofa using white vinegar and water, that's fine. But using a conditioner after it will nourish your leather and make it look and feel wonderful.

Our Advice

There are many ways to clean your leather sofas. But today we presented you with just two: the easy way and the hard way.

We know we'd prefer the easy way, but really it's up to you guys. If you have the time and patience to use homemade cleaning products every week or two to keep your sofa clean, that's fine.

But if you'd prefer to have us here at The Leather Colour Doctor help you out, well, we can not only provide you with the best products and advice, but you might even notice that your sofa stays cleaner for longer too. You can also check out our guide on how to restore a leather sofa.

Whatever you decide, we hope you now know how to clean a leather sofa at least, and we wish you a very comfortable time relaxing on your new sofa!

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