How to Clean a Leather Chair? [Explained In-Detail]

There is nothing more luxurious than a lavish leather couch, and if you want it to last as long as possible, you need to learn how to clean leather furniture. While we wouldn’t advise putting an end to your Netflix binges, if you care for the leather couch, maintain it properly, and it will look attractive for years to come.

Chairs upholstered in leather add a touch of elegance and luxury to any room. Leather sofas add a touch of elegance and luxury to any room. Keeping them clean will help them look their best. Leather chairs can easily be cleaned. However, you cannot treat them as you would other materials. To maintain the suppleness of the leather, use the proper cleaning supplies for grime, stains, and basic wear and tear.

Materials for Cleaning Leather Chair:

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  • A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment 
  • Distilled water
  • Soft white microfiber cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Commercial leather conditioner

Types of Leather Upholstery 


It is essential to determine what type of leather it is before trying to clean leather furniture. Manufacturers usually put cleaning instructions and warnings on leather furniture tags.  If you don’t have access to care instructions, you can identify your leather using the following clues.

Unprotected Leather

Aniline leather is well known for its soft, luxurious feel and is called pure aniline or full aniline leather. With this, the leather is dyed through to its core without any pigment added to its surface. Besides a possible dirt-resistant coating, it has no protective coating hence called naked leather. Natural surface grains and marks may be found on leather that can cause patina over time. 

Leathers in this category tend to be more stain-prone than protected leathers and are typically more expensive. Moreover, aniline leather can be injected with oils or waxes or buffed to create a soft, velvety feeling, such as pull-up leather.

Protected Leather Chair

 This type of leather upholstery has:-

  • semi-aniline,
  • aniline plus pigment, or
  • pigmented leather.

Compared with pure aniline, protected leather is more stain-resistant, more durable, and more uniform in appearance. Semi-aniline leather is either pigment-colored or aniline-dyed leather.

The protective pigment coating provides it with a slightly more durable feel than pure aniline leather. Various leathers are also coated with thicker pigment and polymer layers. As a result, they feel more rigid and last longer.

Cleaning Protected and Unprotected Leather

The best way to maintain aniline leather is to dust it periodically with a clean, dry cloth and vacuum it regularly with a soft brush attachment. Leather experts recommend dampening a clean cloth with distilled water or using a leather cleaner approved for leather. It will help if you take caution when cleaning furniture with a natural look because it’s susceptible to scratches and stains.

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions or hire a professional leather cleaner, and test out the products first on a hidden surface. Leathers that are semi-aniline and pigmented can stand up to heavier use and be cleaner than aniline leather.

According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, keep away from products that contain ammonia or acids, which will permanently damage leather.

Avoid abrasive materials, furniture polishes, detergents, cleaning products with caustic ingredients, as well as saddle soap.

Leather chair cleaning methods and steps

Keep your leather sofa looking its best with these tips to keep it clean and protected.

 Regular Cleaning


You should check your furniture for any tags. If you do not find any, make sure to look at the materials that included your furniture when you bought it.

Online instructions for your chair manufacturer may be available if you know the model you own. If you have furniture tags or instructions, they will provide cleaning instructions.

The leather care guide will also tell you which products could be harmful to your leather. There is no way to determine the type of leather used in most leather furniture because it is made from top-coat protected leather. Cleaning this leather with water and a mild soap is generally safe.

Vacuum the Chair  


If you are going to clean your furniture, be sure to vacuum it first. Leather furniture can be prevented from deteriorating if vacuumed regularly. A vacuum with a soft brush attachment provides the best results.

Clean the chair thoroughly with the vacuum, taking care to reach dust between the cushions and in cracks and crevices. Afterward, wipe away the chair with a damp cloth. Microfiber cloth or cotton cloth works best for leathers. When dusting and vacuuming, pay attention to trouble spots. If you find stains, you can treat them using soap or other cleaning products.

Make a Cleaner Using Soap Water


Preparing your cleaner after cleaning and dusting is the next step. Leather can also be cleaned with essential household items. Baby soap is the best choice. Shower soap works well as long as it is mild.

Consider using distilled water instead of tap water if it is possible because tap water may contain traces of contaminants such as chlorine, which can harm the leather. Add water and soap to a bowl and mix until suds form at the top.

Wipe Down the Chair


Start by testing a small area. Do not worry if there is no damage to the product.

  • Just soak a clean microfiber rag in the soap solution and rinse it thoroughly.
  • You should get a new rag as soon as you are done applying the water-soap mixture and wipe clean the upholstery properly. It should be soaked with distilled water only and then rung out.
  • Then dry the chair using a third rag.

Condition the Chair


It is important to restore the leather’s natural oils after cleaning it. Olive oil is a good conditioner for leather.

  • Spritz some olive oil onto a dry cloth.
  • Next, rub the oil into the leather until it is shiny. Make sure you don’t overuse olive oil.

Getting too much of this on leather can make it look greasy. Your chair will look darker if you use too much oil after conditioning. Make sure you use less next time. Leather can also be conditioned by using vinegar and linseed oil in equal parts. You can also invest in a good leather conditioner available on the market.

Treating Stains, Spills, Spots, and Scratches

You should test any cleaning product on the back of the chair before cleaning spots and stains. To prevent stains, clean up spills immediately.

Keep your chair away from heat sources such as fireplaces and vents to prevent cracking. If you want leather sofas to last longer, don’t expose them to direct sunlight.

Wipe up Grease Stains Using a Dry Cloth


It would be best if you wiped up grease stains on your leather sofa as soon as you can with a clean, dry cloth. Do not add water. By doing so, the grease may be able to set in. If the stain cannot be removed after wiping, sprinkle baking soda on the area.

It can be helpful to draw out the grease with baking soda. Gently brush it off with a rag after it has been on for a few hours.

Use Rubbing Alcohol for Ink Stains


Leather furniture is susceptible to ink stains. Rubbing alcohol will likely be your best option if you discover an ink stain.      

  • Take a cotton swab.     
  • Rub some alcohol on it.
  • Wipe the stain away until it disappears. 

In addition, this method may also remove mold or mildew from leather furniture.   

Try Lemon Juice and Cream Tartar to Fix Discoloration


Leather furniture usually exhibits discolorations, especially if it is light in color. By mixing cream of tartar with lemon juice, these stains can be removed. Cream of tartar is made by mixing one part lemon juice with one part cream of tartar.

Depending on the size of the stain you’re removing, you’ll need to apply the appropriate amount.

  • Apply the paste over the stained areas.
  • Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • You can then wipe the mixture clean with a damp cloth.

Treating Scratches on A Leather Chair


Although leather can be cleaned at home, it cannot be repaired. If there is a large cut in the leather, it is recommended to contact a professional who can mix color and texture with heat and make repairs to the leather.

Using either a chamois cloth or your clean fingertips, gently buff away slight scratches on the surface. Use distilled water lightly to remove scratches if needed. beautifully explains how to clean different types of stains or scratches on your leather couch. Give it a read for more information.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Nowadays, leather furniture and clothing are primarily protected. This makes cleaning them pretty easy. Also, you can check if the leather is protected by lightly scratching an inconspicuous part of it with your fingernail.

In case it leaves a mark, you may want to use the services of a leather-cleaning person. These tips help you clean surfaces even if there are no marks.


When conventional methods don’t work, use vinegar and olive oil. Mix equal parts vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Using a soft and clean cloth, dab the cleaner onto the leather in circular motions. Buff the chair with a dry cloth until it shines after 10 minutes.

Use Baby Wipes

A leather couch can easily be cleaned with baby wipes if any residue or dirt is stuck to it. Baby wipes can be used on furnishings if you’re nervous about using them. They also make wipes specifically formulated to remove gunk from leather. This type of wipe can be purchased online or from a furniture store.

Try Hair Spray 

Marker stains can be a problem when you have young children. With a hairspray, you can remove these. Hairspray aerosol is the best choice. Spritz it over stained areas. Once that’s done, rub the stain off gently. If hairspray fails to remove markers, Eucalyptus oil can be used instead.


Put a small amount of non-gel toothpaste on the sore area. Gently scrub the stain with a toothbrush. Once you’re done, you can dry the area with a clean towel. Not to mention, toothpaste can be used to remove scuff marks.

How to Clean Leather Couch Smell?

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Years of keeping the furniture in a damp and dark storage unit can make furniture smell musty. A leather sofa from the garage sale was clearly Fido’s favorite napping spot, as its scent indicated.

With a little spruce up and a breath of fresh air, you can once again sit on that leather furniture without plugging your nose.

You will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Conditioner
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch

Method: The chair can be sprayed with baking soda or corn starch. Clean it up by wiping off or vacuuming it the next day. Try rubbing alcohol instead if this doesn’t make a difference.

Once the stain has been removed, you can condition the upholstery using a leather conditioner. For stains that persist on leather, it is highly recommended to have your leather looked at by a professional to avoid any possible damage.

I hope that this article was both helpful and informative. By using the above cleaning methods, you are now aware of cleaning and caring for leather furniture. Similarly, you can shop with confidence for leather furniture in the future.

Before I conclude, here is a short leather cleaning hacks video:

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