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Sunshine Furniture: Cleaning and Caring for Leather Upholstery

Sunshine Furniture / November 20, 2014

Leather upholstered furniture can last for decades with a minimum of cleaning and maintenance. These steps include:

  • Wiping down the leather on a regular basis with a clean un-dyed cloth – A regular wipe-down prevents the buildup of dust and grime on the leather. Using a clean cloth that hasn’t been dyed eliminates the possibility of color being transferred from the cloth to the leather. Areas that cannot be cleaned out with a cloth due to tight folds can be vacuumed out with a nozzle attachment.
  • Treat the leather with a conditioner on a regular basis – Applying a conditioner to leather upholstery once or twice per year can keep this upholstery soft and supple, make the leather more resistant to stains, and prevent cracking.
  • Wipe up spills as quickly as possible – Spills should be taken care of immediately with a clean and dry white cloth. If the stain remains, moisten the cloth slightly to remove the rest of the spill. Do not saturate leather as too much water can leave a larger stain than the original one.
  • Never use household cleaners that are not specifically designed for use on leather – Ammonia-based cleaners such as Windex, for example, can permanently damage leather so avoid using them on any type of stain.
  • For oil-based spills, blot with a dry white cloth first – Wiping a greasy stain can spread the stain, so use a blotting motion to soak up as much oil/grease as possible. If the stain persists, apply a light coating of talcum powder or cornstarch, let it sit for several minutes, and then brush it away with another dry cloth. Repeat as necessary.
  • Be careful when working with ink stains – While small marks may rub off over time on a treated surface, large ink stains are stubborn, difficult to remove, and can be made worse if treated incorrectly. For most large ink stains, the best action to take is usually to call a professional to treat and remove the stain.

Leather is a durable material that requires a minimal amount of maintenance to last for decades. By following these best practices for maintenance and cleaning, your leather furniture pieces will look great for the long term.


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