How to Clean Leather Goods
That leather couch in your living room or your favorite leather purse might look luxurious, but leather is notoriously difficult to take care of. Because it’s so delicate, it requires a little extra maintenance. Show your leather some love by cleaning it frequently with soap and water, and conditioning it every couple of months. And always remove spills and stains as soon as they happen, so you don’t ruin your precious pieces.
Using a Cleanser for Routine Cleaning
Vacuum the leather with the brush attachment if you’re cleaning furniture.The brush is gentle enough that it won’t scratch the leather. Run it over the entire piece to remove debris or food particles before you wipe it down.
- The crevice tool on the vacuum can help you get into all the nooks and crannies.
- You can also use a dry microfiber cloth to dust the leather.
Mix 1 part mild soap with 1 part distilled water in a bowl or spray bottle.Use a soap without detergent so it won’t damage the leather. Combine it with distilled water, which won’t contain any potentially harmful particles that tap water could have.
- A mild moisturizing soap with aloe vera or essential oils will help restore some moisture to the leather and prevent future cracking.
- You can also buy special leather cleaner or saddle soap from a shoe repair store, leather care store, or online retailer. While these are more expensive, they often have protectants in them, too, to help keep your leather fresh.
Cleaning Different Types of Leather
Calfskin or full grain leathers:Use a leather cleaning soap to wipe away marks.
Nappa:This very delicate material, made from goat, should be treated with a leather balm.
Suede and nubuck:Opt for a suede shampoo, along with a stiff-bristled brush to remove dirt.
Crocodile, lizard, or snakeskin:Look for a cream specifically designed for reptile or exotic leather that won't damage the expensive material.
Patent leather:Rub off scuff marks with patent leather cleaner or petroleum jelly.
Test a small area before cleaning the entire piece.You want to make sure that the cleaning mixture won’t ruin your leather. Dab the mixture on a spot that’s hidden or less seen, like the inside of a leather glove or the back of a leather couch.
- If you notice the color fading or bleeding, do not use that soap or cleaner.
- Check the care instructions on the piece or contact the leather manufacturer via their customer service number before using any products on the leather. Different leather reacts differently to cleaners.
Wipe the leather with the soap and water using a microfiber cloth.A microfiber cloth is gentle enough that it won't scratch the leather. Use firm strokes to brush the soapy mixture onto the leather. Don’t rub too hard, though, or you could wipe away the color of the leather.
- Focus on areas where your skin or hair come into contact with the leather the most. These will be the dirtiest spots.
- Avoid using colored cloths. The color could transfer onto the leather when you’re cleaning.
- Never spray water directly onto aniline or full grain leather, since it's unprotected and the most vulnerable. Spray any cleaners onto a cloth first.
Wipe the leather again with distilled water to remove any soap residue.Take a clean microfiber towel and dampen it with plain water. Run it all over the leather to “rinse” the piece.
- Never completely saturate leather or submerge it in water.
- If you notice any spots or stains, treat them individually with a stronger cleaning solution like a leather cleanser or rubbing alcohol, depending on the type of leather.
Dry the leather with a clean towel.Don’t leave water on leather, or it could mildew. Lightly wipe away any excess moisture with your towel.
- Never use heat, like a hair dryer, on leather. It can cause cracks.
How Often to Clean Your Leather
Shoes: 1 to 2 times per week
Handbags and other accessories:Once a week
Jackets:Once per season
Car seats:3 to 4 times per year
Couches and other furniture:At least 4 times per year
Removing Tough Stains and Spills
Blot oil-based stains with a dry, clean cloth.Do not use water on stains caused by things like butter or oil. A dry cloth will soak up the excess oil.
- Using a little bit of baking soda or cornstarch on the oil stain can help soak it up, too.
- You can buy leather degreaser at a shoe repair shop or furniture store that will remove oil marks.
Apply rubbing alcohol if there is an ink stain.Dip a cotton swab or cloth in rubbing alcohol and dab the stain. Only put the alcohol directly on the spot, so you don’t spread the stain to the rest of the leather.
- Hand sanitizer or hair spray will often work instead of rubbing alcohol.
- Test the alcohol on a very small spot of the leather first. There's a chance it could remove the color of the leather.
Use a mixture of vinegar and water if you have stubborn dirt stains.Dab white vinegar and water into the spot with a microfiber cloth. Wipe it off with a towel dipped in water, then dry it with another clean towel.
- If the stain won’t lift after you dab it, use gentle pressure to rub the vinegar and water into the spot.
Try baby wipes if you want to remove dirt stains on the go.Rub the wipe in a circular motion around the affected area. This method works best on dirt marks on leather items like jackets, shoes, or other clothing.
- Check with your leather manufacturer or do a spot test before using baby wipes. They may damage certain types of leather.
Choose a conditioner based on the type of leather you have.Look at the care instructions on the label, or check the manufacturer’s website to find out what kind of products they recommend. You can also call the manufacturer if you can’t find the information on the piece or online.
- Avoid conditioners with silicone or wax because they can make the leather feel sticky.
How to Pick Conditioner
Stay away from oil or alkaline-based products.These leave a tacky residue on your leather.
Go with a neutral-colored cream.A white or clear cream won’t change the color of your leather like a black or brown one might.
Opt for a two-in-one cleaner and conditionerif you’re short on time. Condition while you clean with a leather cleaner that also has a moisturizer.
Apply the conditioner to the leather with a clean cloth.A little goes a long way when it comes to leather moisturizer. Spread it evenly across your piece using a microfiber cloth, which is more absorbent so it will help soak up extra liquid as you wipe.
- Don’t let the conditioner pool in any areas, or it could stain the leather.
Let the conditioner sit on the leather for 4 to 6 hours.This allows the leather to soak up the moisturizer. Make sure the conditioner is spread evenly across the leather and isn’t heavily saturating one specific area. Some conditioners may not need to sit as long, so check the back of the package for instructions.
- The drier the leather feels, the longer you’ll want to let the conditioner sit on it before wiping it off.
Buff the leather with a microfiber towel to dry it.Rub the towel in small circles around the leather to remove any leftover conditioner. This also pushes the moisturizer deeper into the leather so it lasts longer.
Things You’ll Need
Using a Cleanser
Vacuum with brush attachment
3 cloths or microfiber towels
Spray bottle or bowl
Leather cleanser (optional)
2 cloths or microfiber towels
- Always spot test first, by applying your cleaner or moisturizer to a small area of the leather.
- If you aren’t sure what products can be used on your leather, contact the manufacturer.
- Remove stains or spills immediately from your leather. The longer they sit, the harder they are to clean.
- Clean leather frequently to extend the life of your leather and prevent damage.
- Take your leather to get professionally cleaned if there are large stains or damage or if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.
Video: How to clean leather bags/leather accessories.
Can You Boost Metabolism at Breakfast
Jessica Chastain tiene los tres vestidos perfectos para llevar en un mismo día
Amazing Brows NOW
Why I Slept With a Married Man, and What I Learned
Get Active With Psoriatic Arthritis
Beyoncé: the Obamas are my inspiration
How to Get Clear Skin by Using Milk and Honey
How to Accessorise Just Like a Scandi Girl
Here’s the Proof That Beyoncé Has a SecretSnapchat
Kate Spade Wants to Take Over Your Kitchen With This Charming NewCollection
The Best Jeans to Wear if Youre Pear Shape
4 Tips to Curb Compulsive Overeating
This is what we know about the Westminster sexual harassment claims so far
How Germy Is Your Makeup