How to Clean Leather Couches, Chairs, and Other Furniture

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The best way to think of leather is that it is like your skin. Good-quality aniline leather is a natural, breathable material; it changes over time. And just like skin, leather requires regular care to look its best. Leather couches and all other leather furniture need to be dusted with a dry cloth and receive a monthly application of a leather cream to keep the material soft and moisturized—and, actually, leather cream is also what you use to clean up any dirt or stains that crop up.

1. Gather Your Materials

These are the cleaning supplies you’ll need to tidy up your leather surfaces:

  • Saddle soap
  • Water
  • Leather cream
  • Soft cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swab

2. Start With Soap and Water

To tackle mild stains, dip a clean, damp washcloth in warm soapy water and use it to wipe away the stain on your leather. Specific leather soaps exist, usually called saddle soaps. Darker stains, like those from an ink pen, are another story. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol can do the trick. Just be careful to apply it directly on the stain spot, so the alcohol doesn’t spread the stain onto more of the leather.

3. Dry the Leather Thoroughly

Be sure to carefully dry the leather with another clean, dry cloth to avoid any mildew. For best results, leave the spot alone overnight.

4. Apply Leather Cream

Re-moisturize the material by applying the leather cream with a clean cloth. Let it sink in, then buff to a shine if you’d like.

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