Just Like New - How to Clean a Leather Couch

Just Like New - How to Clean a Leather Couch

Timeless, opulent and beautiful - what’s not to love about leather? With these qualities in mind, it’s no wonder that leather couches and sofas have remained a popular choice since their inception into the interior design pantheon. Like most quality fabrics, leather requires a degree of care and maintenance to keep it looking (and feeling) its best. Nobody wants to park their bum on crumbly, cracking leather - we want that smooth and buttery finish!

We’ve assembled some top tips on how to clean a leather couch, so you can keep your seating soft and supple long into its lifespan.

Suck it up

The first step on your leather-cleaning journey is to bust out the vacuum. Before you run the vacuum over, make sure to remove any throws or pillows, and check down the back and sides of the cushions for any loose items - we all know how much coins and candy love to make themselves at home in couch crevices!

Pop your brush attachment onto your vacuum head to avoid scratching your leather upholstery, then use slow, gentle strokes to clean the surface of your couch. When all surfaces are taken care of, use the crevice or nozzle attachment to get into all the nooks and crannies that your fingers can’t reach. 


Once you’ve given your sofa a careful once-over with a hoover, it’s time to wipe it down. Before you so much as dampen a cloth, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific furniture - you never know what will and won’t agree with your couch’s upholstery. Most leather can be cleaned with distilled water and mild eco-friendly soap, but stick to the golden adage of less is more. Never take to your couch with a fully wet cloth - this can cause water stains. Use a fresh microfibre cloth that has been slightly dampened with distilled water to wipe any stubborn spots clean.

Going top shelf

There are occasions in life where you can skimp, but caring for your leather couch is not one of them. Spending some money on specialist leather care products to extend the life of your couch will make all the difference. Using quality leather cleaner and a leather protector applied with a soft sponge is the key to effective couch maintenance. Do your research and find products with good reviews.

Mint condition

Much like the stuff we use for our hair, leather conditioner is a product designed to promote strength and softness. Using leather conditioner on a new couch can extend its longevity, while treating a well-loved leather couch to some decent product will help soften and moisturise it. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging and resist all temptations to scrub - this can do more harm than good!

Call in the pros

In the words of Kenny Rogers, “You’ve gotta know when to fold ‘em.” In other words, sometimes your best efforts aren’t enough and only an expert’s touch will do. Because leather is such a temperamental material to work with, engaging a professional cleaner can ensure that no accidents happen. When it comes to maintaining your leather sofa, investing a little bit of extra money can add years to its life and general condition.

When looking for upholstery cleaning companies, be sure to do your research and check any reviews. Proper leather cleaning and maintenance is a specialist practise, so it pays to find someone with the right experience and tools to do the job - especially if you have concerns like cracking or holes that you want to address.

Handy hints, dos and don’ts

There are a couple of home-remedy cleaning tips you might have heard for leather, so we’re here to separate fact from fiction. You can use white vinegar to spot clean most leather couches - you just need equal parts vinegar and distilled water plus your trusty microfibre cloth. Be sure to test the solution in an inconspicuous area first, just in case your particular couch doesn’t take kindly to the formula. In the same vein, you can also use mild dish soap to clean your leather couch. In both instances, it’s crucial to stick to some basic rules - don’t soak the cloth, take it slowly, work the solution in gently and never rub too hard.

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