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Alternatives to Cleaning Leather Furniture

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Leather furniture can add a unique and sophisticated look to any home. With its natural beauty and remarkable durability, leather is a popular choice among many homeowners looking to invest in quality furniture pieces that will last for years. However, despite the strength of leather, it still needs to be properly cleaned and maintained in order to maintain the beautiful look of this timeless material.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives available for cleaning leather furniture that are effective, easy to use, and free from harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. This guide will provide an overview of the various alternatives available and steps that should be taken when caring for your leather furniture.

How to Clean Leather Furniture at Home

Clean leather furniture at home without damaging it with natural solutions. Instead of using harsh chemicals, you can make simple homemade cleaning solutions that use ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice to help keep your leather furniture looking good. Read on to learn about some of the best natural methods for cleaning leather furniture at home.

Clean with Olive Oil

When it comes to cleaning and maintaining leather furniture, natural products are often the most effective. Olive oil is one of the oldest and least abrasive products that you can use to clean and maintain your leather furniture. It’s inexpensive and available in most stores, making it ideal for regular cleaning regimens.

Olive oil has many benefits when used to properly care for leather furniture. Due to its fatty acid content, olive oil helps revive and freshen up older leather that may have lost some of its softness or moisture over time. Additionally, olive oil is safe and non-toxic, which means you don’t have to worry about utilizing harsh chemicals in your home when using this alternative cleaning solution.

Applying olive oil to your leather furniture is easy:

  • Simply dip a clean cloth into the oil (or use an applicator bottle when dealing with larger pieces) before dabbing or rubbing the affected area gently with circular or back-and-forth motions.
  • Let it penetrate the material for at least 10 minutes before wiping off any excess with a second cloth if needed.
  • The entire process should take no more than 15 minutes, so it can easily be done during an afternoon of housecleaning or during another free moment in your day!

Clean with Vinegar

When it comes to natural cleaning solutions for leather furniture, vinegar is a great option. Because acidic products can damage leather, it’s important to always test an inconspicuous area first before proceeding.

Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and distilled water in a bowl and apply to the leather with a clean cloth or soft brush. Use circular motions to scrub gently and avoid taking too much pressure when cleaning the leather. Wipe off with a clean damp cloth, buff dry with a fresh cloth and allow the leather piece time to dry completely before use.

For tougher dirt and stains, you can use white vinegar by itself (undiluted). Apply this directly on tougher spots until it’s gone then wipe off with a wet cloth followed by a dry cloth for drying the surface completely before use.

Clean with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a perfect alternative to harsh cleaners, and it’s excellent for removing dirt and stains. It can be used for both traditional leather and suede. While baking soda contributes mild, non-abrasive cleaning properties that make it less dangerous for furniture, it does have possible bleaching effects on darker-colored leather pieces. When cleaning with baking soda, the below process should be followed:

  1. Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the leather surface in small sections from top to bottom;
  2. With a soft cloth rub lightly in circular motions over the areas with the paste;
  3. Wipe away stains using a dampened cloth;
  4. Give the leather furniture an overall clean using a slightly damp cloth;
  5. Allow larger sections of leather to dry naturally;
  6. Condition your piece of furniture afterward if required.

Commercial Cleaning Solutions

Commercial cleaning solutions are a great way to keep leather furniture looking like new. These products are specifically designed for cleaning leather and offer a safe and effective way to clean, protect, and condition leather furniture. They should be used as directed on the manufacturer’s label and have the potential to work better than DIY methods.

With that in mind, let’s explore some of the best commercial cleaning solutions available for cleaning leather furniture:

Use a Leather Cleaner

Many manufacturers of leather furniture suggest cleaning your leather seating with a commercially available leather cleaner. Such cleaners are designed specifically to safely and effectively remove dirt and residue from the surfaces of finished leather upholstery. It’s best to follow the instructions on the label of your chosen product, as they may vary depending on the type of leather or finish used in your furniture’s construction.

When using commercial cleaners, you may need to do some prep work by:

  • Removing surface grime with a slightly damp cloth before applying the cleaner.
  • For heavily soiled surfaces, additional scrubbing might be necessary with a soft-bristle brush.

Before you start cleaning, however, test any cleaning product on a small area of your furniture that isn’t visible first because cleaners can damage certain types of leather if applied incorrectly. Once you’ve used the cleaner and allowed it to penetrate and cleanse the surface, wipe away any excess liquid using only clean cloths or sponges.

Use a Leather Conditioner

Leather is durable enough to withstand many types of cleaning solutions, but only if they are applied in the right way. If a leather surface has been damaged, it is important to care for it properly to restore its natural beauty and take steps to prevent further damage.

One of the best ways to protect your leather furniture is to clean it regularly with a gentle leather cleaner and use a leather conditioner periodically.

Leather cleaners are specifically designed for cleaning and refreshing leather surfaces without leaving residue behind. Most leather cleaners are gently formulated from natural ingredients like beeswax, almond oil, castor oil, coconut oil, or another vegetable-based oil that softens and nourishes the hide without removing essential oils from the surface. The result is a covered that’s clean but not overly dried out.

Once you have cleaned the surface with a gentle and safe cleaner, it’s time to apply a protective layer of conditioner that will help protect against future staining. Leather conditioners can provide protection against scratches in addition to keeping your furniture looking great over time. The type of conditioner depends on the type and age of your furniture; most commonly available alternatives include:

  • Waxes and ointments specifically designed for modern or older leathers
  • Cream or lotions suited for aniline hides

Some designs may even require specialized formulae within each category – this will be specified when you purchase them.

The application method also depends on your furniture’s unique qualities – some lightweight cleanup may work fine just by dabbing with an absorbent cloth while heavier duty cleaning might need buffing using a soft brush after lightly misting from an aerosol spray bottle with the mixture in order to spread evenly over surfaces that don’t otherwise need significant protection throughout the year (such as patio furniture).

Other Alternatives

Cleaning leather furniture can be done at home without using any harsh chemicals or expensive equipment. There are several alternatives that can be used to clean leather furniture without damaging it. This section will discuss these other options and the benefits of using them instead of chemical-based cleaning products.

Use a Soft Cloth

When it comes to refreshing and cleaning your leather furniture, a soft cloth is your best option. Not only does this require less effort, but it also will help to prevent damaging the material.

Start by dusting away any dirt or debris from the surface of the leather by using a dry microfiber or velvet cloth. For tougher spots and stains, dip the corner of your cloth into a solution of mild detergent foam and warm water and dab at the affected areas. Make sure to thoroughly dry any damp spots afterwards with another clean, dry cloth.

Use a Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum cleaner is a great way to get rid of dust, dirt, and other light debris from your leather furniture. Start with a vacuum cleaner that has a flexible attachment – this type of tool is specially designed for cleaning crevices and corners. If your furniture is made of more delicate leather, use an upholstery attachment instead to avoid any potential scratches or marks.

To prevent discoloration, start with the highest setting on your vacuum cleaner and work your way down until all dirt is removed. Make sure not to press too hard when vacuuming as this can directly damage the leather surface. Vacuum cleaning should be done regularly (depending on use) in order to prevent the build-up of debris on the surface over time.

Use a Hairdryer

Using a hairdryer set to low heat is an effective way to clean leather furniture without having to resort to using cleaning chemicals. Make sure that the hairdryer is kept at least 10 inches (25 cm) away from the furniture, as getting too close may damage the finish of the leather and cause cracks. For those hard-to-reach areas, use a detachable nozzle with your hairdryer. This will help direct airflow more accurately and can make it easier to clean those crevices.

Once you’re done, it’s important that you:

  • Use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with soapy water to get rid of any dirt or grease that didn’t come out during the drying process.


Leather furniture adds an air of sophistication and elegance to any home. Unfortunately, it is also expensive and requires special care in cleaning and maintenance. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to the messy task of cleaning leather furniture.

Vinegar, olive oil, baking soda, corn starch and dish soap all make great cleansers for leather items that are natural, inexpensive and effective. Be sure to test all solutions in small areas first before using them over larger areas so that you can be sure they don’t damage the finish or texture of your leather furniture. And, as always with leather products, moderation is key to prolonging their life so only clean as needed.