What Household Items Can You Use To Clean A Leather Couch?

best way to clean leather sofa

Real leather is a natural product that has individual characteristics that make each sofa unique. Different types of leathers used for sofas include pigmented leather that’s durable and has coatings that can be finished to be embossed, printed, or plain.

Aniline leather is the most natural-looking coloured only with dye, and semi-aniline retains a natural appearance whilst also being more hard-wearing. Quality leather sofas are incredibly comfortable and with the right care and treatment can last a lifetime.

Cleaning leather furniture has never been easier – simply follow these tips on the best way to clean a leather sofa…

Keeping Your Leather Sofa Pristine

What household items can you use to clean a leather couch? You’ll need:

  • Two or more microfibre cloths
  • White vinegar, olive oil, or a gentle soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Leather cream or wax-based conditioner
  • A vacuum cleaner


Before you start to clean your upholstery, you’ll need to get rid of any surface dirt and grime which will prevent it from being rubbed into the sofa alongside the cleaning solution. You can use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner – or a dry microfiber cloth will do the job equally well.

A homemade gentle cleaning mix is the best way to clean a leather couch. Using materials such as a mild PH-balanced soap in a bar form – or putting a few drops into some warm water for a diluted solution is ideal.

You can also choose a dilution of half white vinegar to half water making an effective, gentle stain remover for your leather sofa. Whichever option you decide on, test a small patch that’s not highly visible first – let it dry to ensure there’s no discolouration.

Pre-treating Stains

Depending on the type of stain on your leather sofa you’ll need to use different stain removal methods. The sooner you treat the stain the easier it is to take out. Remember that moisture can harm leather so make sure every treated area is thoroughly dried. See a range of stains and how to remove them here:

Grease – use a dry cloth to soak up the grease as soon as possible. A wet cloth will only cause the grease to soak into the leather. If the stain is dry apply a small amount of baking soda and leave for several hours to absorb the grease before brushing off gently

Ink – carefully wipe a cloth infused with rubbing alcohol onto the stain to lift the ink

Mould and mildew – mix a solution of equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol and then thoroughly dry with a clean microfiber cloth to prevent any further issues

Dark miscellaneous stains – a solution of lemon juice and cream of tartar applied to the stain and left for about ten minutes can be gently rubbed off and then wiped with a damp sponge

Waxy substances – put ice cubes in a sealed bag and place it over the affected area for a few minutes. Use a spoon to ease away the hardened material – you may need to repeat the procedure several times


You’ll need two microfibre cloths for this cleaning method. One will be used for the actual cleaning and one for the drying. Dip a cloth into the cleaning solution and wring until damp. If you’re using the bar of soap dampen the cloth and wipe it across the soap surface.

Work from top to bottom of the sofa rubbing gently but firmly, taking extra care with folds and corners. Continually rinse the cloth in the cleaning solution until the entire sofa has been cleaned. Then follow up by using the dry microfibre cloth to buff the sofa dry. This procedure will reduce the risk of mildew.


An application of a leather cream will restore suppleness and moisture. You’ll be able to determine how often you need to use this from instructions on the care label of your sofa. When the leather is completely dry apply the cream or wax-based conditioner in circular motions – leave for a few hours before a final wipe down.

Getting the Best Results

If you’re concerned about how to clean a leather sofa simply call in a professional cleaner. Your technician will assess your upholstery on an individual basis to identify and treat any markings. By analysing the nature of the stain the correct solution will be used to pre-treat before the appropriate technique of cleaning is effectively carried out.

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