Cleaning Guides

How to Clean a Leather Sofa

If you are wondering how to clean a leather sofa at home, then you have to be careful and meticulous. Leather sofas are timeless, classical pieces of furniture that never seem to go out of style. They add an element of luxury to your living room and much like wine, leather gets better with age.

Despite its wonderful characteristics, it’s possible that your leather sofa has some stains or you’d simply like to maintain its good looks.

So, If:

  • Your sofa is dirty but you don’t want to damage it while attempting to clean it thoroughly
  • Greasy stains and grime are piling up
  • You aren’t aware of what cleaning solutions to use for your leather sofa

Then this post is for you.

How to clean a leather sofa

Cleaning a leather sofa requires special attention to maintain its beauty and longevity. There are several steps to be taken when you need to clean your leather sofa so that it remains in good condition for as long as possible.

What to do before cleaning your leather sofa

With proper leather cleaning and care your furniture can last you for many years. However, with normal usage, it’s bound to happen that some stains may grace your sofa and it’s a good idea to know how to protect your sofa from stains.

Check the label of your sofa

If your leather sofa is new, it will likely have a label with cleaning instructions on it, much like our clothes do. These cleaning instructions need to be followed so that you don’t actually do more harm than good on this breathing material. If your leather sofa has a label, it might say something like this:

S or P: your sofa can only be cleaned with solvents
WS or SW: use a solvent cleaner or water-based detergent
X: don’t DIY but rather call in a professional

On the other hand, if your leather sofa doesn’t have a label with cleaning instructions on it due to its age or for some other reason, the guidelines below should do the trick nonetheless.

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Vacuum or wipe the crumbs away

To get started, it’s important to remove larger pieces of dirt from your leather sofa. Do this using your vacuum cleaner and its soft brush attachment so that the leather doesn’t become damaged and scratched. Make sure you get all the larger pieces of dirt off the couch by sucking them up and ensure you also get into the crevices or nooks and crannies where crumbs and other small waste materials might have gathered.

As a finishing touch, use a feather duster after you’ve vacuumed to get rid of finer dust that may have collected on your leather sofa. Do this on the seats, recliners and backs and sides of the sofa.

Test your cleaning solution

Your leather sofa is now primed for cleaning. But what should you do next? Experts advise that before you embark on removing any stains or giving your leather sofa a general clean, that you test your cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous part of your sofa to ensure that no harm is done to it and if the solution doesn’t work, that its impact will not be visible. 

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Best way to clean leather sofa


  • Distilled water
  • pH-neutral liquid soap, saddle soap or white vinegar
  • Baking soda for grease stains
  • Rubbing alcohol for ink stains
  • Leather cream and conditioner
  • Several microfibre cloths
  • Cotton balls

Time needed: 45 minutes.

General cleaning steps

  1. Prepare your cleaning solution

    Depending on whether you’ll be attacking a single stain or the entire couch, you’ll need to prepare your cleaning solution. For a general clean, mix equal parts of distilled water (tap water can contain chlorine which can be harmful to your sofa) and white vinegar or a pH-neutral liquid soap and that’s one way of cleaning a leather couch with soap.

    However, if you’re wondering how to clean a leather sofa with saddle soap, the process is exactly the same as described above: one part distilled water to one part saddle soap in a bowl and you’re ready to apply it to your leather sofa.

  2. Dip the microfibre cloth in the cleaning solution

    Once you’ve done this, be sure to wring out the cloth because you don’t want the leather to soak up the solution, causing more damage.

  3. Rub the cloth in a circular motion

    Move the wet microfibre cloth in circular motions so that you don’t leave any unsightly stains behind. Make sure your movements are small so that you’re more thorough in your cleaning. And that’s how to clean a leather sofa with vinegar.

  4. Dry the sofa

    Use another microfibre cloth, a dry one this time, to completely dry the sofa. Don’t rely on air, air conditioning, an open window or anything else because these elements can actually dry out the leather more.

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Apply a leather cream and conditioner

Get a special, budget-friendly leather cream and conditioner for your leather sofa and apply it once again using a circular motion using a microfibre cloth. Remember not to spray the solution on the sofa directly, but rather spray on your cloth and then apply the cloth to the sofa afterwards. The leather conditioner will help you ensure your leather sofa is nice and buffed up and smells like you just bought it from the showroom floor.

How to remove stains from a leather sofa

There are several ways to remove stain marks from a leather sofa without damaging the fabric. You can remove some of the most common types of stains from leather sofas by following the methods below.

Removing grease and oil stains from your leather sofa

So here’s how to clean a leather sofa with baking soda. We sweat and that’s a natural part of life. However, these natural oils that are emitted by our skin can tend to cause grease stains on your beloved leather sofa. Although there may be other oil or grease-related stains on your leather sofa, there’s one general solution for this problem and that’s the use of baking soda.

To get rid of these stains, it’s crucial to keep in mind that applying any water or water-based solution to the stain is only likely to make matters worse. Rather, use baking soda by sprinkling it on the stain, waiting for a couple of hours for the stain to be absorbed and then vacuuming the baking soda from the sofa. If you want to learn how to get bike oil stains out of your carpet check this guide.

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How to clean ink stains on a leather sofa

Ink stains are a tough one for almost all fabric and material types because they’re just so stubborn and hard to get rid of. Leather is no exception. If you’re wondering how to deep clean a leather sofa by removing ink stains from it, this is where you’ll get your answer. And it’s quite a simple one actually.

Get a cotton ball and dip it in a small amount of rubbing alcohol and then apply it to the stain. If you see some of the ink’s colouring appearing on the cotton ball, you know the stain is slowly becoming removed. Have you accidentally spilt ink on your carpet too? Fret not and check our guide on how to remove ink from a carpet!

How to remove blood stains

Whether you have an alibi or it was simply an accidental nosebleed, sometimes our sofas and carpets may get bloodstains on them. But this doesn’t mean that they’re impossible to treat. Firstly, you need to determine whether your bloodstain is fresh and can be blotted out with a cloth or whether it’s dry and needs to be softly dislodged using the bristles of a soft brush.

Once you’ve done this, you can either use a mild water/pH-neutral liquid soap solution or go directly for a leather cream, followed by the application of a leather conditioner on the affected area. 

Dealing with stained leather sofa?

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How to deal with mould

Since it’s such a special material, leather sofas can also accumulate mould and this is not only unhealthy for your air passageways but is also not good for your leather sofa. So, if you’re wondering how to clean a dirty leather sofa to get rid of mould, this is the part where you’ll get your (easy) answer.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that mould and mildew love humidity so you need to consider investing in a dehumidifier for the room in which your leather sofa will be located. This is just a preventative measure for further down the road.

However, if you already have mildew or mould on your sofa, you can use either a water/vinegar solution, a water/pH-neutral soap solution or a water/rubbing alcohol solution as described above. You simply need to not spray the mould and mildew stains directly but rather spray the microfibre cloth first and apply the cloth to the sofa.

Once you’re ready, prepare to get a fan out to completely dry your piece of furniture. You may even wish to take it outside in the sun. Although prolonged exposure will be harmful to your leather, a short stint of time outside is likely to kill the spores that are currently living on your couch. Mould is also a common problem for carpets, so if you have noticed a musty odour coming out of it, check our guide on how to remove mould from a carpet.

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Let our Fantastic professionals take care of your leather sofa!

If all else fails or you simply are unsure of cleaning your leather sofa by yourself, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the professionals at Fantastic Services. Our leather sofa cleaning service will go deep down into cleaning your leather sofa just the way it’s meant to be cleaned, leaving it sparkling and smelling absolutely fresh and tanned once again. 


  • Leather is a particular and very special type of material
  • Always check the label for cleaning instructions first
  • Do not use any harmful chemicals on leather
  • Use only pH-neutral liquid soaps or white vinegar mixed with distilled water
  • Leather breathes but doesn’t keep it near windows, air conditioners or radiators to dry it out
  • To prevent mould or mildew on your leather sofa, consider getting a dehumidifier for the room it’s in
  • If you’re unsure of how to clean your leather sofa, always consult the professionals.


Now that you know to clean your leather sofa, it’s time to handle the work! If you have any questions, please do let us know using our comment section.

Image source: Shutterstock / FotoDuets

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