How to Clean a Leather Sofa

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How to Clean a Leather Sofa

A leather sofa is a wonderful piece of furniture to have in a home. Whether it is in a room furnished with Victorian antiques or in a modern flat in a London high-rise, a leather sofa can fit a variety of decors and it is a very comfortable material on which to relax. So why let it go to waste? Refresh your home by giving your leather some tender loving care.

For all of the great benefits that a leather sofa offers, its upkeep does require a bit of work. Cleaning a leather sofa may seem like a chore, but it is very worthwhile to maintaining the luxurious look and feel of the leather. This guide provides information on how to clean a leather sofa, covering the entire process from pre-cleaning to cleaning to maintaining the leather afterwards. By following a few simple steps, those that own a leather sofa are able to efficiently and effectively clean their leather sofas and keep them looking great for many extra years.

Pre-Cleaning

The pre-cleaning aspect of cleaning a leather sofa includes important steps for a sofa owner to take to ensure that he or she is ready to effectively clean his or her leather sofa.

Determine the Type of Leather

The first step in the pre-cleaning phase is determining the type of leather treatment the couch features. This influences the way a sofa owner can clean a leather sofa. There are three common possibilities: finished leather, suede, or patent leather. The table below lists the features of each type of leather.

Leather Treatment

Features

Finished Leather

Finished leather is dyed and has a protective coating on it. This coating gives the leather a slight shine. This type of leather is quite common for sofas.

Suede

Suede is often made from lambskin and has a napped finish for a cloth-like feel. It is a delicate type of leather, requiring special care for cleaning.

Patent Leather

Patent leather features a glossy finish that gives the leather a shine. This tends to be a less common leather for sofas than the other two.

These types of leathers are distinct from one another, so sofa owners should be able to discern the type of leather their sofas feature by observing the sofas. Another way to tell is by reading the sofa’s label. This should indicate the type of leather and may also give warnings about which materials to avoid when cleaning the sofa.

Gather Cleaning Materials

Once a sofa owner understands the type of leather he or she is cleaning, he or she can gather the necessary cleaning materials. The materials listed below assume that the leather is finished or features a protective coating to which the following materials do not harm. For cleaning suede, simply replace the materials listed below with the appropriate ones as noted. One solution is to acquire a leather cleaning kit that includes a leather cleaning solution, a sponge, a couple of cloths, and a leather protection solution in one package.

Vacuum Cleaner with Soft Brush

A vacuum cleaner with a soft brush is necessary to clean the first layer of dust and dirt. You could use popular brands like Dyson and Miele. The soft brush ensures that the vacuum cleaner does not scratch the leather. A suede brush is more effective on suede.

Leather Furniture Cleaning Solution

There are numerous leather furniture cleaners out there, but it is best to go with a foam one rather than a concentrated liquid if applying the solution directly to the sponge. The high concentration of liquid cleaners can sometimes leave marks and streaks on the leather, but it works fine if the liquid solution is diluted  in water. Use a suede cleaning solution if the sofa features suede.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is good to use for cleaning leather sofas because tap water may have chlorine in it, which can damage the leather.

Two Buckets

Keep two small buckets on hand. Fill one with distilled water and leave the other empty for water with the cleaning solution. A bucket just for the distilled water works too if using a foam that is applied directly to the sponge.

Foam Sponge or Tampico Brush

A foam sponge is suitable for cleaning slightly dirty leather, but dirtier leather sofas require a tampico brush to achieve deeper cleaning.

Microfibre Cloth

The microfibre cloth is for wiping away excess cleaning solution after cleaning the leather. It should be able to soak up suds that sit on the leather.

Leather Protection Cream

Leather protection creams put an invisible coating on the leather once it is clean. This helps make the leather more resistant to dirt and grime and easier to clean later. Use a suede protection solution for suede sofas.

Cleaning

This section describes the cleaning process, including the procedure for how to clean a leather sofa and a few tips for removing common stains from the leather.

Follow the Cleaning Procedure

The cleaning procedure is straightforward. Start by vacuuming the couch with the soft brush attachment. The brush should shake loose some of the dirt and grime on the leather, making it easy to vacuum. Once this is done, fill one small bucket halfway with distilled water and mix the liquid cleaning solution with distilled water in the other bucket, following the manufacturer’s directions. If using a foam solution, apply it to the sponge according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Otherwise, dip the sponge into the water/cleaning solution mix.

Test the solution on an inconspicuous spot on the couch and if it appears safe to use on the leather, start cleaning the rest of the leather using circular motions with the sponge. If the sponge is ineffective, use the tampico brush instead, applying the same circular cleaning motion to the sofa. Work in sections until the entire couch is clean.

Dip the microfibre cloth in the bucket with clean water and wring it out. Soak up the extra suds around the sofa and any residue that remains from cleaning.

Remove Stains

After cleaning the leather, there may still be stains left over. Below are explanations of the processes for removing some of the most common types of stains on leather sofas.

Food and Mud

One home recipe for removing food and mud stains is equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar. Mix them together and apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes and then apply another layer. Remove it with a damp rag with castile soap in it and then wipe it dry with a microfibre cloth.

If food has left grease stains, a leather degreaser is a good solution to lift the stain. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the degreaser.

Ink

Ink is a difficult stain to remove, but it is possible to lift small ink stains using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. There are also effective ink removal kits.

Mildew and Mould

Equal parts rubbing alcohol and distilled water make an effective mixture for removing mildew and mould. Spray the mixture onto the spot and rub it with a microfibre cloth.

Maintaining

After restoring a leather sofa by cleaning it and removing any stains, there are a few different steps a sofa owner can take to maintain the sofa so the need to clean it is infrequent and it is easier to clean the sofa when the time comes.

Protect the Leather

Use the leather protection solution to apply a protective coating to the leather. This prevents the leather from easily absorbing dirt and stains, keeping it looking clean for longer and making it easier to clean later. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the leather protection solution.

Condition the Leather

Leather can become worn and cracked over time, so every now and again it helps to nourish it a bit. A good leather conditioner keeps the leather moist to prevent cracking and maintain a shiny look.

How to Use eBay to Clean a Leather Sofa

It is possible to buy many of the materials necessary for cleaning a leather sofa at local and online home goods shops, but leather sofa owners may have more success finding cleaning and maintenance formulas specific to leather at shops that specialise in leather furniture. eBay is a source from which you can buy everything you need to clean a leather sofa.

To find any of the materials mentioned in this guide, go to the eBay home page and search for the materials you need. If you need a leather furniture cleaner, enter "leather furniture cleaner" into the search bar and click Search. You then get a list of results for all of the leather furniture cleaners for sale on eBay. To acquire a few of the materials in one package, use "leather cleaning kit" as your search term. Using search terms, you can find all the materials you need to clean a leather sofa on eBay.

Conclusion

Owning a leather sofa comes with a measure of responsibility. Leather requires cleaning and other upkeep measures in order for it to maintain its durability and luxurious feel. Cleaning a leather sofa is not a difficult process, but the right materials are necessary in order to ensure that the process does not damage the leather. This guide has listed the materials that are appropriate for cleaning a leather sofa and provided tips for how to discern the type of leather the sofa contains. It has also described the cleaning process itself. After reading this guide, leather sofa owners should also know how to remove common stains from leather and how to maintain the leather after cleaning it. By employing these techniques, leather sofa owners are sure to get many more years of enjoyment and comfort from their leather sofas than they would otherwise.

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