How to clean and care for a leather sofa
Our top tips for keeping your leather sofa clean and looking tip top...
A leather sofa lends a certain elegance and character to a room. As well as being a key focal point, a leather sofa is luxurious, durable and will age gracefully over time. With just a little bit of maintenance, your leather sofa will be a stunning centrepiece for many years to come.
From keeping dust and grime at bay, to dealing with those inevitable spillages, we look at how to make sure your beloved leather sofa stays looking great throughout.
Keeping dust and dirt at bay
One of the great things about leather is it’s generally low maintenance, and its wipeable surfaces make it easy to keep clean on a day to day basis - which can also make it a good option if you have children.
However, dust and dirt can act as an abrasive and cause the leather to wear more quickly. To help keep them from building up, we recommend giving your leather sofa a quick once-over with a soft, clean cloth and a vacuum cleaner once a week or so:
- Wipe down your sofa with a microfibre cloth or feather duster to remove any surface dust
- Remove the cushions and check down the sides and back of the sofa for any sweet wrappers, loose change, etc (you’d be surprised what you might find down there!)
- Using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, gently suck up any dirt, fluff, crumbs or other particles
- Use the crevice tool to reach into the folds and corners and clean the seams of the sofa and cushions
- If possible, turn and plump up the cushions to help prevent wrinkles.
Giving your sofa a deeper clean
Dusting and vacuuming your sofa regularly will help to reduce build-up, but it’s also a good idea to give them a more thorough clean from time to time - we recommend twice a year.
However, a note of caution: it’s essential to use the right products to clean your leather sofa. This can vary depending on the type of leather and whether or not it has a protective coating. Soft leather can be easily scratched and may not be suitable for more intensive cleaning. You should always check the manufacturer’s care instructions before you begin.
At Raft, our leathers are made from high quality European sourced semi or full aniline hides, giving our sofas full durability and strength. Our aniline hides are not coated, allowing the natural markings to remain visible and enabling the leather to ‘breathe’ easily. Meanwhile, our semi-aniline hides are coated with only a very fine layer, to allow the leather to age naturally but without marking.
To remove light scratches and grime you can clean your sofa using a slightly wet cloth, without rubbing too hard. You should avoid using detergents or harsh cleaning products to clean your leather sofa, including washing-up liquid and products containing bleach, as they can cause damage and discolouration. Saddle soaps can also darken or harden the leather.
For a deeper clean - and only after checking the manufacturer’s instructions - you can use a gentle homemade solution by mixing water and white vinegar in equal amounts, or some drops of recommended commercial leather cleaner in water. It’s always advisable to test your solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the sofa, before continuing:
- First, follow the steps outlined above to remove any surface dust or debris, or anything else that could scratch the leather
- Apply the cleaning solution to the surface of your sofa using a damp (not wet) microfibre cloth
- Using firm but gentle circular motions, wipe the sofa from the top downwards, rinsing the cloth regularly
- Make sure you cover the entire sofa, for an even finish
- Using a soft clean cloth or a light coloured towel, gently buff it dry. Avoid using a hair dryer or heater, as this can dehydrate the leather and cause it to crack over time.
To help keep your leather sofa supple and in good condition, you may want to apply a conditioner - however, you should always check the care label first.
Dealing with stains and spillages
However diligent you might be with your cleaning, sometimes life just happens. Whatever life throws at your sofa - whether it’s a glass of red wine or an overactive ink pen - here’s how to remove those (sadly inevitable) stains and spillages.
The golden rule is - act immediately! Although hard-wearing, leather is a porous material and you should always tackle problems as soon as they happen.
Begin by gently blotting any spillages, including liquids, grease or inks before they soak into the leather, using an absorbent cloth or kitchen roll. Avoid wiping the stain, as it could spread. In many cases the marks will eventually be absorbed by the leather over time.
Home-made remedies such as white wine vinegar solution, baking soda - and even hair spray - can be effective for dealing with a range of stains, including grease marks and ink stains, but again you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and any labels to check suitability, and test a hidden area before you begin.
For stubborn marks or stains, or if you are unsure about the right treatment, it’s best to contact a professional leather manufacturer for further advice. You can contact Raft on 020 8450 5078 or email us at email@example.com for details of recommended specialist cleaning companies.
Caring for your leather sofa
As well as helping to prevent a build-up of dirt and grime, and dealing with spillages promptly, there are some other key rules when it comes to caring for your leather sofa:
- Avoid exposing your sofa to direct sunlight, which can age and discolour the leather
- Keep your sofa away from heat sources, such as fires, radiators or heating vents, which can cause dehydration and cracking
- Protect your sofa from sharp objects, which may scratch, dent or puncture the leather
By giving your leather sofa a little regular TLC, you can help to ensure that it stays looking great, feeling luxurious and will stand the test of time. You can see our range of stunning and comfortable leather sofas here.