The Best Way to Clean and Protect Leather Furniture


Leather is a luxurious, yet durable and low-maintenance material that is used for furniture in your home. With proper maintenance and care, you can maintain your leather furniture for quite a long time. On the other hand, if your furniture is damaged or broken you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire professionals to fix it for you. For now, let’s check out how you can clean and protect your leather furniture. 

The Ways

  1. Leather upholstery – Clean and care for your leather furniture starts when you’re able to identify the leather upholstery. You can figure it out by checking up on the manufacturer’s website, or by looking up the materials listed on the label or box that came with the furniture. Those labels should also contain details about how you can clean and care for that leather surface. However, if there is no label and you can’t figure out the type of leather on your furniture, here’s how you can identify them.  

Unprotected leather, also called full aniline or pure aniline will give you a luxurious and soft feel upon touch. The leather is called full aniline since it gets dyed through with aniline dye. However, that doesn’t leave any pigmentation on the surface. Apart from dirt resistance, there’s no special coating on this type of leather. This kind of leather is more expensive than the rest and can be stained easily. 

There’s also protected leather that is widely used across the furniture industry and is also called pigmented leather or semi-aniline. It’s more durable than its unprotected counterpart, has a uniform appearance, and is resistant to stains. Apart from being dyed with aniline, this leather also gets a pigment treatment. They feel stiffer than unprotected leather and different types of protected leather can have several layers of pigments or even polymer coating. 

  1. Cleaning unprotected leather – Unprotected leather is highly sensitive and can be stained very quickly. That’s why some manufacturers recommend that you simply dust it off with a dry cloth and clean it with a vacuum cleaner. Others advise wiping the surface with a cloth damped in distilled water. You can also buy manufacturer-approved leather cleaners for unprotected leather. 

However, prevention is always better than cure and you need to be very careful while using unprotected leather. Apart from being highly sensitive to staining, it can also get scratches very easily and the natural look can get ruined. Before you start cleaning your leather furniture, make sure to test out the cleaner in an inconspicuous part of the furniture. 

  1. Cleaning protected leather – On the other hand, protected leather can stand up to a lot of abuse. The layers of pigments and polymers on the exposed leather surface can resist most stains and scratches. However, you need to keep it away from alkaline materials and things that contain ammonia. Those compounds can destroy the expensive leather beyond the point of repair. 

When you clean unprotected leather, avoid cleaning supplies that contain detergents, oils, abrasive materials, or any other harsh ingredient. Instead, stick with tried and tested brands recommended by manufacturers. Most manufacturers of protected leather furniture recommend cleaning agents like Leather Master, Mohawk, Lexol, and Leather Magic.   

  1. Fighting spills and stains – While unprotected leather is highly sensitive to stains, protected leather is protected to a small extent. That’s why you should treat spills very seriously. If there are any spills on your leather couch, stool, or sofa, clean them off immediately. Use a sponge or a clean and dry cloth to soak up the spill before it can form a spot or stain on the leather surface. 

For unprotected leather, you need to blot out the spill with a dry cloth and quickly hire a leather cleaning professional to fix stains. On the other hand, if there are water-based stations from juice or soda on protected leather, they can be easily wiped away with a damped cloth in distilled water and left to dry off naturally. 

If there are oil-based stains on the leather, you can try blotting them out with a dry cloth as much as possible and then leave the stain to dissipate into the leather. You can also sprinkle some corn starch and leave it to absorb the stain overnight. The next day you can remove the stained powder with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure not to use baking soda since it’s an alkaline substance. 

  1. Conditioning the leather – After you’ve cleaned the leather surface you can condition it to make it soft and supple. There are many leather conditioners in the market that can get the job done. However, you need to carefully choose a commercial leather conditioner instead of those that are used on your shoes or jacket. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning your leather furniture and conditioning it at least once or twice a year. 

This helps to keep your leather furniture retain most of the natural oils that keep it supple and soft for several years. For conditioning your leather furniture, you can use products from Leather Master, Leather Magic, and even Mohawk. If you use other leather conditioners make sure to check the label and avoid them if they contain any added wax or silicone. This can make the leather surface very sticky. Other manufacturers recommend combining a leather conditioner with sunscreen before applying it to the leather surface. 

  1. Leather care – To maintain your leather furniture in the best possible condition you can take a few more precautionary steps. Leather is kind of alive since it breathes to remove and absorb moisture from its environment to remain soft and supple. If you keep it under direct sunlight, it can dry out quickly and start cracking. For the same reason, you need to condition your leather furniture more frequently if you live in a very dry climate.     


As you can see, cleaning leather furniture isn’t a very complicated job as long as you use the right cleaning supplies and techniques. Well-maintained leather furniture can last for years. However, if the furniture breaks down due to structural instabilities you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire professionals fit for the job.