How to Take Care of Leather Upholstered Furniture

Spend a little time to keep your leather looking great

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Leather furniture doesn't just look like a million bucks. It feels like a million bucks, too. It warms to your body in the winter but feels cool in the summer because it is a natural product. A leather piece of furniture is a joy to own, but it requires the right kind of care to prolong its life and keep it looking beautiful. Leather lasts much longer than other upholstery, and if it's well-maintained, it will get better with age, a little like wine.

High-quality leather furniture is an investment. You've spent a bundle on it, and the way to make it pay off, in the end, is to maintain it well. 

Steps to Keep Leather Clean and in Good Condition

  • Like wood, leather can fade, stiffen, and crack when placed close to heat sources because it can dry up. So avoid placing it very close to fireplaces or in a spot that gets direct sunlight.
  • Use a clean, white cloth to dust every couple of weeks so that it stays clean.
  • Vacuum in crevices and along the bottom when you wipe down the rest of the surface.
  • To clean accumulated dirt, use a slightly damp soft cloth to wipe the surface. Before doing this for the first time, test the leather in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't absorb the water. Use only a dry cloth if absorption occurs.
  • Use a good leather conditioner every six months to a year.

Dealing With Scratches and Stains

  • For spills, immediately use a dry cloth to blot and let the spot air-dry. It is important to blot instead of wiping because you want to get all the moisture out instead of spreading it. Try that method with fabric, too.
  • Never use harsh soap, cleaning solvents, detergents, or ammonia to clean stains. Never soak the stain heavily with water. All these methods may actually be more damaging than the stain itself. For grease stains, blot excess with a clean dry cloth. The spot should gradually disappear into the leather after a short period of time. In case it persists, ask a professional leather specialist to clean the spot to avoid any potential damage to the leather itself.
  • Watch out for scratches. Leather scratches easily, so avoid using sharp objects near the furniture. Gently buff the surface with a chamois or clean fingers for minor scratches on the surface. If the scratch remains, rub a very small amount of distilled water into the scratch and blot with a dry cloth.
  • Leather can absorb dyes easily, so avoid placing printed materials on it. The ink can transfer and leave stains that are extremely difficult or impossible to remove.

Invest in Extra Protection

  • If you have pets and are concerned about damage, think about buying a protected leather material.
  • If you want to go the extra mile, you can buy a protection plan when you buy a piece of furniture upholstered in leather. This only makes financial sense if the piece is high-quality and expensive.