Cleaning Guides

10 Simple Steps to Clean Leather Chairs and Restore Their Shiny Look

Leather chairs are a beautiful addition to any home or office, but they can lose their shine and become dull over time.

So if you,

  • Are looking for ways to deep clean your leather chairs without damaging them;
  • Prefer to revive your old leather chairs through cleaning, rather than buying new ones;
  • Have some hard-to-remove stains such as food or urine stains on your chairs and want to get rid of them.

Then you are reading the right article. In this post, you will find all the information you need on how to clean a leather chair and how to maintain and preserve it.

Let’s begin with something very important…

What should you NOT use for cleaning leather?

Before you learn what products to use for cleaning a leather chair, you should first know what to avoid.

  • Hair spray – while hairspray works for getting nail polish out of carpets, it certainly does not when it comes to cleaning leather chairs and will likely make the problem worse.
  • Fingernail polish remover – the acetone in this product will bleach out any spots on your leather chairs, so never use it.
  • Baking soda, white vinegar, cream of tartar or lemon juice – These ingredients clean a wide variety of items, but for leather products, they can be very harsh to the point of damaging the surface.
  • Ammonia or bleach-based products – Glass cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, laundry sanitisers or mould & mildew removers contain ingredients which will damage the leather’s natural finish.
  • The wrong leather polish – Yes, you can actually purchase the wrong kind of leather cleaning product if you don’t read the label carefully. It’s best to look for one that says “all leathers”.
  • Disinfectant wipes – those which contain alcohol should be avoided because they can damage the top coat of the leather chair.

3 important tips to remember on how NOT to clean leather chairs

  • Do not use excessive water or soak the leather. That can cause the material to lose its natural oils and become stiff and brittle. You need to use water very sparingly.
  • Stay clear of abrasive tools like steel wool, scrub brushes, or abrasive sponges which can scratch or damage the leather on your chairs.
  • Finally, avoid placing your leather chairs in direct sunlight or exposing them to heat as that can cause the leather to fade, crack, or dry out.
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How to deep clean your leather chairs to look like new

The most important thing to remember when cleaning leather chairs is to always test out your cleaning solution on a small, hidden spot. That way you don’t damage the whole chair. With that said…

1. Identify the type of leather on your chair

Before starting the cleaning, you must learn what kind of leather your chairs are upholstered with. The manufacturer’s tag will provide you with all the information you will need, plus what products you should avoid.

Check your leather chairs from all angles for attached labels. If non can be found, check for any written materials which came with your leather chairs when you bought them. If you don’t have them, then try and find the instructions online. As a last resort, know that most leather furniture is made from top-coat-protected leather, so it’s safe to clean it with mild body soap and water.

2. Get the right cleaning materials

The safest ingredients for cleaning any kind of leather chairs are the following:

  • Water – still, you already know that you should use water very sparingly.
  • Mild soap – use a gentle soap that won’t dry out or damage the leather.
  • Professional leather cleaner – These can be a good option for particularly stubborn stains or for restoring heavily soiled leather. Read the label carefully to make sure that the product is safe for your particular type of leather.

Suede or nubuck leather may require a specific suede/nubuck cleaner to avoid damaging their delicate surface. Additionally, aniline or semi-aniline leather may require a gentle leather cleaner and conditioner to avoid altering the appearance of the leather. Here you should also test on a small, inconspicuous area before using a product on the entire chair surface.

3. Dust and wipe down the chair’s surface

Before cleaning your furniture, you first need to start with dusting. A feather duster can work, but a vacuum cleaner will be much better at removing any pieces of dirt from the leather surface. Both real and faux leather look smooth, however, they are actually slightly porous. It is in these pores that dirt and dust get trapped and can cause scratches if not removed before cleaning.

4. Make the cleaning solution

You already know the ingredients, so this is what to clean a leather chair with. Get a bowl and make a solution consisting of a few drops of mild dish soap and water. If you have the chance, use distilled water and not tap water. The reason is that tap water may contain small amounts of chlorine or other contaminants, which can damage your leather chairs where as its distilled counterpart doesn’t.

5. Apply the solution

Dip a clean white rag in the cleaning solution and wring it out thoroughly. The rag must be white to avoid any potential colour transfer from it to your furniture. If you don’t notice any damage after having tested on a small inconspicuous spot on your chair, then apply the solution. Wipe the chair down with the rag using circular motions.

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6. Wipe down the chair again with a clean, damp cloth

Get another clean white rag and dip it in clean distilled water. Then go over your leather chairs again, to remove any soap residue.

7. Treat stains

If you have stains, chances are they haven’t disappeared after going over the furniture with mild soap and water. You have to take different approaches depending on the type of stain.

  • Coffee stains – Blot up any excess coffee liquid with a clean cloth. Then swish your water and mild soap solution to create suds. Apply only the foam with a sponge on the stain and wipe dry with a clean dry cloth. Chocolate can also create a stubborn stain, so if you are struggling with one, we have some tips on how to remove chocolate stains from upholstery, as well.
  • Muddy footprints – wipe off the excess mud with a damp cloth. Go from seam to seam, and get as much of the material out as you can. Afterwards, proceed with your mild soap and water solution as you normally would.
  • Blood stains – here use the same solution of mild soap and water, but use cold water instead. Gently dab the stained area with a soft cloth, rinse and repeat until the stain is removed. Check our post on how to remove blood stains from the upholstery for more information.

8. Let the chair dry

It will take somewhere around eight to twelve hours for your leather chairs to dry completely after cleaning. Mind you, the drying time will depend on the cleaning method you used, the season and the humidity of your room.

9. Moisturise the leather

Any leather upholstery be it on a sofa or a chair needs to be moisturized regularly. Fortunately, you can make your very own DIY solution.

DIY leather moisturiser Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar (white vinegar is not harmful to leather when it’s well diluted)
  • A spray bottle
  • A soft cloth

And this is how to prepare and apply the moisturiser:

  1. Mix the olive oil and white vinegar in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  3. Shake the bottle well to ensure that the mixture is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Test the mixture on a small, inconspicuous area of your leather chair to make sure it doesn’t cause discolouration.
  5. Once you’re confident that the mixture is safe for your leather chair, spray a small amount onto a soft cloth.
  6. Rub the cloth onto your leather chair in a circular motion, focusing on any areas that may be dry or cracked.
  7. Continue to rub the leather with the cloth until the moisturizer has been evenly distributed.
  8. Let the leather sit for a few hours to allow the moisturizer to soak in.

10. Repeat if needed

You can repeat this process as often as necessary to keep your leather chair looking and feeling soft and supple. Homemade moisturizers with olive oil and other natural ingredients can help to restore old and damaged leather by replenishing lost moisture and helping to prevent cracking and drying out. They’re also a great way to maintain the beauty of your leather furniture without the use of harsh chemicals.

Some leather chair stains can be tough to remove with homemade methods, but our professional upholstery cleaning techniques can prove to be an effective soluton.

What causes leather discolouration?

Leather discolouration can be caused by a variety of factors, including exposure to sunlight, excessive water and moisture, chemicals and abrasive cleaners, body oil, ageing, and colour or dye transfer. UV rays and extreme heat can make the leather brittle and dull while water damage can cause mould or mildew to develop.

Furthermore, certain chemicals and cleaners can permanently stain the leather, while body oil and natural ageing can cause it to darken or yellow. Finally, colour or dye transfer is another common culprit, where the colours from clothing or fabric can transfer onto the leather and leave stains.

How do professionals clean and restore leather?

If you’re looking to keep your leather furniture soft and speckless, relying on highly qualified cleaning technicians is a great way to do it. That’s where Fantastic Services comes into play. Our leather upholstery cleaning services offer a safe and eco-friendly cleaning process that effectively removes stains of all sorts, while expanding the life of your leather furniture be it chairs or sofa.

The experienced and fully equipped technicians we work with will carefully inspect your leather furniture and assess its current condition to determine the most suitable cleaning approach. They’ll use, their industry-grade cleaning products effectively remove grime and make leather shinier and smoother, without risking damage to the fabric.

You can contact us any day of the week, including public holidays, and even make same-day bookings.

Do you think your leather chairs can benefit from an expert’s touch?

Rely on professional cleaners for the revival of your leather chairs!

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Tips to prolong the life of your leather chairs

Now that you know how to clean your leather chairs, it’s equally important to know how to maintain them.

  1. Keep your leather chairs away from direct sunlight and nearby heat sources.
  2. Clean them regularly to prevent dirt buildup and stains, pay special attention to the seams where dirt can remain trapped.
  3. Clean any spills or stains the moment they happen before they set in.
  4. Store leather chairs properly when not in use to prevent damage.
  5. Apply a leather conditioner to keep the material moisturized.


  • Do not use excessive water and abrasive tools when cleaning your leather chairs.
  • Always test cleaning solutions on a small, hidden spot before using them on the entire chair.
  • Before cleaning, always dust and wipe down the chair’s surface.
  • The safest cleaning materials for leather chairs are always a small quantity of water and mild soap.

Image source: FotoDuets /

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