Caring for leather upholstery – Dos and Donts!

The correct care of leather furniture is essential if you want them to always look their best. If you don’t look after your leather furniture properly it can start to crack and lose its color, this is going to ruin the look of the pieces, meaning you will need to replace them or have them restored.

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  • To remove dust and oils be sure to wipe down the furniture regularly. The oil that comes from your skin can damage leather after a while.
  • Do not be tempted to use abrasives or brushes on the leather as this will scratch it and damage it.
  • Before anything else use clean water on stains and spillages. Once this has dried out you will be able to see if any more treatment is needed.
  • Do not use saddle soap on leather products, on use cleaners that have been made for use with leather furniture.
  • Don’t use cleaning solvents, furniture polish, ammonia water or anything like that on your leather.
  • Oil based cleaners should be avoided too, these can cause the leather to stretch and ruin the finish.
  • If you get a stain on your leather that you cant get off with water then speak to an expert about it.

A leather expert will have the products and the knowledge to get your furniture looking its best again, without damaging it.

Leather has a timeless appeal which makes it a popular upholstery choice. All leather requires care to maintain its look and to make it last longer. I have an 8 seater leather corner sofa which I try to take care of, to keep it looking its best. See how to clean Leather Chairs here.

For general furniture upholstery read: How to clean furniture upholstery


It isn’t difficult to look after your leather products and furniture, although regular care will certainly take some time up, but keep your leather furniture looking newer for longer. Caring for leather appropriately will extend its life, while ignoring leather care will end up costing you in the long run. For example, when you have antique leather furniture, you should certainly maintain upkeep, otherwise you risk lowering its value.

And although we say it is easy to maintain and clean your leather furniture, there is some work involved. Below we highlight some of the best leathercare tips and products on the market, from leather cleaners, to preservers, to polishes.

To care for leather, I try to ensure that I do not spill things such as food or drink on the sofa.

I try and polish the leather at least once or twice a week and you can buy all sorts of products which are suitable for cleaning leather.

Most leather, suede and sheepskin items do not need intense cleaning and apart from looking better with age, can be cleaned simply and easily using nothing more than a few simple products and a little bit of your own time.
Here I will list a few simple do’s and don’t of how to maintain leather:


  • Keep your leather free from dust and dirt.
  • Use a soft untreated cloth, or a vacuum with a soft brush attachment.
  • Use a leather protection cream to protect against stains and dirt. This also improves durability and helps keep the leather soft and supple.
  • Oil-based spills and stubborn marks can be treated with a solution of mild pure soap, e.g. Lux Soap Flakes, then rinsed with clean water. Do not soak the leather.
  • Allow to dry for 3-4 days. Some oil-based spills will disappear into the leather over the following months.
  • Keep all your leather furniture at least 2 feet from any source of heat, the longer your furniture is exposed to high heat, the quicker it may perish.
  • Leather also fades fairly easily under high powered UV lighting as well as sunlight.
  • Try and keep your leather furniture away from direct sunlight if possible. You can increase leathers ability to avoid staining by using a leather cleaning or preservation polish.
  • When cleaning or polishing leather, make sure that you focus on those parts of your furniture that may see the most use such as arms or backs.
  • You should aim to apply leather protection at least twice a year, and clean it just as often.
  • If you are using a new leather care product, make sure that you test it first in an area that isnt normally visible to the eye.
  • This will allow you to assess the products effect on your furniture.
  • If you do spill something on your leather, you should try and absorb the spill quickly with a cloth and then let it dry out (dont use a hair dryer – this could damage your furniture).


  • Use detergents or chemicals to clean your leather, as these can damage and result in expensive repairs.
  • Use only products recommended to be used on Leather products.
  • Expose your furniture to prolonged periods of direct sunlight or place your furniture close to a radiator or similar heat source, it is best to leave a 20-30 cm gap between the leather and any heat source.


  • Light scratches and marks can be polished and rubbed out with a clean dry cloth. Do not rub too hard.
  • Avoid all household cleaning products for any use on leather. These will build up an unpleasant sticky feel to the leather
  • Dust with a feather duster and light dirt or grime can be taken off with a damp cloth