How to Clean and Protect Leather Upholstery

leather cleaning

Leather is such a well-loved material for upholstery for so many reasons - its low-maintenance care, durable nature, and luxurious look and feel, being just a few!

If you have made the decision to invest in leather chairs, a leather couch, a lounge suite for your home or leather cushions for your boat, our experts have some great tips on how to take care of it. From general maintenance to cleaning up a spill or stain, these tips and cleaning steps can help keep your leather upholstery looking its best for longer. 

How to treat spills and stains on leather:

If the worst happens and you do have a red wine, coffee, other household liquid, incident, follow these steps to help reduce the risk of staining your leather furniture.

  1. Wipe up the spill immediately. Use a warm damp cloth to soak up excess moisture. Dab or pat up the liquid, don’t rub! 
  2. Rinse and Repeat. Get some warm water and carefully rinse the area with a wet cloth, rinsing the cloth between dabs to make sure you’re rinsing away any residue.
  3. Apply a recommended spot treatment: Test any treatment first on an unseen area of the furniture. Once you are certain that no damage has been caused by the solution, use it to treat the stain. Let the spot treatment soak in so that it can lift up as much of the stain as possible, then dab it away with a clean, damp cloth.

How to protect your leather:

Tip 1 - Know your leather

Identify the type of leather you have to ensure you clean it correctly. Start by finding out the type of leather upholstery you have by checking the label that comes with the piece or looking up the item online. 

Unprotected leather: Unprotected leather, also known as aniline leather or unfinished leather, can have a soft and luxurious feel. They can be softer and richer in colour, with little to no protective coatings. However, they can be more susceptible to stains or other damage due to the lack of a protective clear coating.

Protected leather: Protected or finished leather has a protective clear coating over it. While all leather is natural, protected/finished leather has a protective coat to help preserve its colour and is often more durable and stain-resistant in comparison to unprotected leather.

Tip 2 - Check the warranty 

When you purchase your leather furniture, check the warranty for any specific requirements around cleaning stains or spills. Some furniture makers recommend avoiding DIY cleaners or store bought solutions. If there’s a chance that using an incorrect cleaner or conditioner could void any warranties, leave any cleaning to the professionals!

Tip 3 - Avoid direct sunlight

Leather is a natural substance and, just like your skin, is prone to sun damage! Premature ageing, cracking, drying, and discolouration. Rather than ‘slip, slop, slapping’ your leather furniture, try placing it away from direct sunlight, for example, not right under a sunny window or shield with a throw or sheep skin, depending on your aesthetic,’

Tip 4 - Pets + Leather = YIKES 

Leather furniture can be a pet’s favourite scratching post, so we recommend keeping an eye on your pets around your favourite leather chair, or just keeping them off your leather in general! If you do get a scratch from a wayward claw, wipe it with a warm cloth to get rid of any potential dirt from under the claws, then rub down with a soft cotton ball with a bit of leather-friendly oil such as coconut oil. Then dry with a clean, dry microfibre cloth.

Remember, when it comes to challenging stains and spills, it is best to seek a professional’s advice. Don’t rush in and apply products, especially ones that contain ammonia or alkalies as these can be damaging to your leather. Want to know what a professional clean costs? Click on the link in our menu to 'Get a Quote' now!

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