Leather couch adds a classy, sophisticated look to your home. What’s more, it is durable and needs little maintenance. As a result, leather couches are popular home furnishings.
However, “durable” and “low-maintenance” do not mean indestructible. Harsh weather conditions, people, and even your beloved pets, for instance, can cause significant damage to your leather sofa or chair. Soon, it will start to look less classy and more like an eyesore.
Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, you need to maintain the quality of your upholstery. It is important that you learn how to take proper care of your leather couch starting with how to keep it clean and remove stains.
About Leather Upholstery
Keep in mind that leather upholstery, in general, is faux or synthetic. It is artificial or fake leather. Leatherette or pleather is commonly used in industries like auto upholstery, clothing, and furniture (as sofa, chair and headboard). The primary types of construction are polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl).
The best thing about faux leather is the ethical aspect: No animals are harmed making them. It can be made from organic materials therefore it is also sometimes called vegan leather. For most people, though, what matters more is this alternative costs less.
However, there is a downside to it, and that is less durable than the real thing. But it’s no problem as long as you know the proper way to maintain it. Considering that it is non-biodegradable, compensate by keeping the leather in good condition and beneficial for a long time.
How to Clean Your Leather Couch Properly
Follow these steps:
1. Vacuum. You should vacuum and dust your leather furnishing regularly, as well as clean every creases or crevices well using the soft brush attachment to avoid scratches. A smaller hand-held vacuum is usually more manageable.
2. Use furniture cleaner. There are leather cleaners designed for furniture upholstery in the market. Alternatively, you can make your own. Just mix a few drops of mild liquid facial or body soap with 1 quart of water.
- Use a neutral-pH non-detergent liquid soap.
- Use distilled water (chlorine-free).
- Avoid using the following to protect the finish: abrasive cleansers, baby wipes, and other alkaline cleaners.
- Avoid using any kind of oils except linseed oil, as long as it’s not raw. You may replenish using 1 part distilled white vinegar and 2 parts boiled linseed oil.
- Avoid using saddle soap, detergents, furniture polishes, varnish, ammonia-based cleaners, or bleach.
- Avoid cleaners with ingredients that can cause burns.
3. Test the solution. First, that you need check the solution by dipping a clean cloth a little into it. Second, find a small, inconspicuous area and apply. No adverse reaction? Good. It’s safe to use on your leather.
4. Wipe the furniture. Dip the same cloth into the mixture again. Wet it well this time then wring the cloth. It should be damp, not dripping. Next, start wiping furniture surfaces. Do it thoroughly. If using the linseed oil and white vinegar solution, shake it well first before applying in circular motions.
Have a system:
- Wipe carefully but thoroughly.
- Do not do it in large sweeps. Concentrate on sections of the furniture one at a time.
- Dip a separate, unused rag into distilled water and wipe away the soap residue.
5. Dry the furniture. Using a new rag, dry the surfaces that you cleaned.
6. Buff the surface. Again, find another dry and soft cloth to do this. You’ll want your furniture to shine again, almost as good as new. That should keep the classy look.
7. Treat the surface. Most furniture stores offer water-based leather protectors or conditioners. Each has specific instructions, so make sure you follow them. Do this every six to 12 months.
How to Remove the Stains from Your Leather
Sometimes, regular cleaning is not enough to keep your leather upholstery in good condition. Simple vacuuming and wiping often do not remove stains that ruin your leather sofa, chair, or even headboard. For stain removals, you need the best leather cleaner.
Find the best method below that should do the trick for you. Remember, success depends on the type of stain and the method you’re using.
1. For dark stains: Following a 1:1 ratio, mix a paste containing cream of tartar and lemon juice. Rub it on the stain and remove if after 10 minutes with a damp rag and moisturizing soap. Dry and buff with a separate cloth.
2. For grease or oil-based stains: Simple. Wipe with a dry cloth. No water.
3. For ink stains: Apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol on the stain using cotton swab then blow-dry (lowest setting). For newsprint ink stains, however, spray aerosol hairspray on the area then wipe off with a clean rag.
4. For stains caused by spills: First, it is important to note that there are two leather types. Find out which is yours. The information as well as cleaning directions and care tips are indicated on the furniture’s tag or label. In the absence of a tag, written material or manual will most probably accompany the order. Also, check the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website.
- Aniline leather is unprotected/unfinished leather, also called pure aniline or full-aniline. In case of a spill, simply blot it immediately with a dry white cloth. Check the tag or label, the manual, or the retailer’s or manufacturer’s site for the cleaning directions. Consult with a furniture maker, retailer, or leather cleaning professional if necessary. Don’t try anything else without their approval.
Important Note: Some leather types should only be cleaned by professionals.
- Semi-aniline leather is protected/pigmented leather, also called aniline plus pigment. For a water-based spill, slightly dampen a white cloth with distilled water, wipe off the spill, then air-dry.
Stains may occur. To remove, mix non-detergent soap and lukewarm water. Dip a soft cloth or a sponge a little into the mild solution and apply it to the stained area. A separate damp cloth should be used to wipe it off. Blot-dry the area with another rag. Do not air-dry.
5. For discoloration caused by rubbing alcohol: You may want to sanitize your chairs for your family’s safety. Rubbing alcohol helps clean furnishings, but it can also cause discoloration. If disinfecting is already done, wipe off the residue with a leather cleaner and conditioner mix (1 part vinegar, 2 parts boiled linseed oil).
If you haven’t started disinfecting yet. First, try rubbing alcohol on an unnoticeable area of the chair and watch out for any discoloration. If there is, then stop using it. White vinegar is a good alternative also.
Don’t Make Guesses
Without a doubt, it is your responsibility to keep your leather couch in good condition. Having a leather couch that still looks good especially even after having it for a long time, does not only make a room look more pleasing but provides comfort to your family as well.
To clean leather, it is important that you don’t just guess what works especially when it comes to care and maintenance. Some retailers add leather care products when you buy furniture. Take them as recommendations and use them. In addition, contact the furniture retailer or manufacturer for any questions.