How to Maintain & Clean Your Leather Couch

Have you been wondering how you can maintain your leather couch? After all, it is an investment, and you will want it to last a long time. Below are some tips to maintain your leather couch.


  • You need to keep your leather couch away from sunlight if not, it will lose its color. It will also get dry and start cracking.
  • It is not only sunlight that makes your leather couch lose its moisture. Other sources of heat such as your fireplace, air conditioner, and the heating ventilator will dry your leather couch. You will want to keep your leather at least 10 inches away from any of these sources of heat. This will help you preserve the moisture content of your couch and its surface properties.
  • Some cosmetics and hair chemicals affect the top layer of your couch and leather upholstery. The same goes for the oil secreted by the neck and the arms. That is why you see the arms of leather couches look lighter than other parts.
  • Remember your leather couch is not resistant to a pet’s claw scratch. Your pets’ saliva is acidic and can also get your couch damaged. While you may not stop your pet from sitting on the couch, you might want to get a protective covering for them to sit on.
  • Do not let stains set. The best practice is to remove stains as soon as they are made. Letting them set poses more difficulties in their removal. So when you have any spill whatsoever, what you should do is dab it off immediately. Do not wipe for any reason; wiping spreads the spill and if it is a penetrating spill, the area affected just gets larger.
  • Whatever you do, take a conscious effort to protect the top layer, also referred to as top color, of your couch. This top color is particularly vulnerable to soil and wear, and when destroyed, your couch deteriorates very fast and you will begin to notice cracks.
  • Clean and condition suede and leather couches regularly.


In cleaning your leather couch, the rule is little-is-much. You need to be extremely gentle with it; no wet clothes, no harsh cleaning reagents, no ammonia based reagents and definitely no bleach. While you don’t want to spoil your couch with excessive cleaning, it will benefit from a quarterly cleaning. That means you get to clean it every 3 months or at least twice in a year. However, a weekly dusting with a soft cloth or feather duster is appropriate. You need to regularly turn and fluff the cushion too.

If the couch was used heavily over the week, you can vacuum. But remember to use the soft brush attachment. You don’t want to spoil your couch with the plastic attachment. So, for the quarterly or twice a year cleaning, you can follow the procedure below:

  • Vacuum to remove dust before cleaning, because dust can be abrasive, especially when it becomes wet with the cleaning solution.
  • Prepare the cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water or commercial leather cleaner and water. You may as well use moisturizing soaps.
  • Soak the cleaning cloth (preferably a soft microfiber) in the cleaning solution and wring out such that it is damp and not wet.
  • Wipe the couch from top to bottom with the soft cleaning cloth and rinse the cloth in the cleaning solution when necessary.
  • When you are done with that, you need to dry the couch with a towel. Do not use a blow dryer; it might just dehydrate the leather.
  • Condition after cleaning.


Conditioning leather makes it shine at its best. Your leather couch will benefit so much from conditioning. Of course, you don’t want it looking dry and rough; you want it conditioned. So, to condition your couch you can do the following:

  • Prepare the conditioning solution by mixing one part vinegar to two parts linseed oil or flaxseed oil.
  • Apply the conditioning solution to your couch with a soft cloth in broad and circular motions.
  • Leave overnight and buff with a clean cloth the next day to restore the shine of your couch.

Removing Stains

The methods to remove stains depend on the type of stain. You will benefit from the information below:

  • Mold and Mildew Stains: Clean with a soft cloth that is damp from a cleaning solution made from equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water.
  • Marker and Ink Stains: You can clean stains from permanent markers with aerosol hairspray and ink stains with eucalyptus oil or rubbing alcohol.
  • Dark Colored Stains: To remove dark colored stains from a light-colored couch, you need to make a paste from equal parts of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Rub the paste on stains, leave for ten minutes and then rub a small quantity of the paste on the stain again. Afterward, wipe off with a damp sponge. You may use this method to remove light stains, such as tea stains.
  • Grease Stains: To remove grease stains, you just need to put some baking powder on the grease, leave for a while and then dust off the powder. The powder should lift the stains along with it.
  • Stubborn Stains: You may need the service of a professional to remove some very stubborn stains, in order not to get your couch damaged.

Now you can enjoy your investment in your leather couch maximally. Keep it clean and you will love it for a very long time. Need help with your fabric couch? Check out our guide on how to clean a fabric couch.

P.S: Don’t forget to spot test your cleaning solutions, or any reagent you are using, on an inconspicuous part of the couch to avoid damaging your couch with unsuitable solvents.


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