How to Clean and Protect Leather Sofas, Coats, Shoes and More

Leather is a tough, durable and long-lasting material that’s used in the manufacture of sofas, shoes, handbags, purses and many other goods.

If well maintained, you can expect leather to last for decades, but you’ll need to clean it with care.

Choose the wrong cleaning products and you could damage the leather or shorten its life expectancy.

Protect Your Leather and Prevent Damage or Stains in the First Place

Leather that is soft and supple is waterproof and stains are easy to remove.

However, of the leather is allowed to dry out, it will crack, lose its waterproof layer and stains will become ingrained.

As a general rule of thumb, leather goods should be kept out of direct sunlight wherever possible.

Also, avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals that dry out the leather.

  • Relocate leather sofas away from windows so they don’t sit in direct sunlight.
  • Store coats, shoes, bags and purses away from direct sunlight, inside a shoe cupboard would be perfect.
  • Keep items away from radiators and other sources of extreme heat.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals and soaps that draw out the moisture from the leather,
  • DO use a good quality premium leather balsam, which contains waxes and oils, to keep the leather waterproof, supple and easy to clean.

How to Clean Leather Naturally

One of the oldest and most trusted ways to clean leather naturally is to mix vinegar and olive oil.

The vinegar breaks down the stains while the oil keeps the leather supple and moist.

You’ll need:

  • Half a cup of vinegar.
  • A quarter cup of olive oil.
  • A spray bottle.

Spray the mixture onto the stained leather and allow to soak in for around five minutes, then wipe away with a soft cloth.

Avoid using coarse cloths, pads or sponges, as these can scuff the surface layer of the leather.

The process may need to be repeated several times but avoid aggressive scrubbing that could damage leather.

Make sure you first test the mixture on an inconspicuous area that’s out of sight.

Clean Leather With Commercially Available Products

Dirtbusters 3 in 1 cleaner, conditioner and deodorizer is the best commercially available cleaning product and can be used to compliment the natural cleaning methods suggested above.

Leather cleaning productThe product contains a selection of oils to keep the leather soft and supple and the cleaning agent is fairly mild, so it won’t dry out the material.

I use this product to clean my car interior which revived the chairs and it appears like brand new one.
It is a very good quality for that kind of money. I also used for my leather sofas which look loke new as
well. I will buy them again. – Amazon customer in 2015

The Best Product to Protect Your Leather

An oil and beeswax balsam is the best product for protecting leather goods.

Renapar Balsam is Amazon’s best selling leather protection product with a 5-star rating, based on over two thousand customer reviews.

In our opinion, you simply cannot buy a better product for the money:

This stuff is great. I bought it because our dog scratched our leather couch. It does a nice job moisturizing the leather without leaving it greasy. – Amazon customer in 2018

Clean leather, before and after

A customer-supplied photo via Amazon

Products to Avoid – What’s the Worst Leather Cleaning Product You Can Use?

Hand soap cleans the human skin by dissolving the oils in the top layer of skin, any dirt, stains or other materials caught in this layer can then be easily wiped away with a cloth.

Soap should not be used on leather as it will dry out the surface leading to cracks and splits.

If you must use soap, we suggest doing a test patch first and applying an oil and wax balsam afterwards to rejuvenate the leather and keep it soft and supple.

Get a Quote From a Cleaning Pro

We think you should be able to clean and protect most household leather products yourself.

We can, however, put you in touch with a cleaning professional who can provide you with a competitive quote.

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