Accidental spills on expensive leather furniture are stressful! But don’t worry – if you act quickly – most messes won’t result in permanent damage.
How To Clean A Leather Sofa
Try to clean up spills as quickly as possible. This will minimize the chances of the mess soaking into the leather. Spills are much less likely to result in a permanent stain if they are taken care of promptly, and cleaned thoroughly before drying.
If a spill has already dried or you’re trying to remove an old existing stain, don’t worry – there’s still hope! There is a good chance that you’ll be able to remove the stain. It might take a little extra elbow grease (scrubbing in step #2) before the stain lifts.
Step 1: Absorb The Spill
If the spill is liquid, absorb as much as possible with a microfiber cleaning cloth (Amazon). For other spills, start by removing the mess and wiping down the area. Try to remove as much of the mess as possible so the leather cleaner (in the next step) can work effectively.
Step 2: Wash With Leather Cleaner
Next, wet the soft bristle brush with warm water, and then start washing the leather thoroughly. Using a small amount of leather cleaner, and a small amount of water on the brush will provide enough moisture to dampen the leather and make it slightly wet.
tip: it’s not good for leather or the stuffing inside of a couch to be completely soaked, so make sure to use water sparingly in this step.
Scrub vigorously in a circular pattern until the stain is no longer visible. If you’re trying to remove an old stain, you may need re-apply additional saddle soap if stain doesn’t start lifting within the first few minutes of scrubbing.
Otter Wax Saddle Soap is a specially designed leather cleaner that does not need to be rinsed – so there is no need to rinse the leather after you’ve finished scrubbing. Use a microfiber cleaning cloth to dry the leather when the washing is completed.
The process of washing with water, and saddle soap will temporarily create dark, wet area in the leather. It should return to its original color after a few hours when the leather has completely dried. If the leather is still slightly discolored once it’s completely dry, it is probably in need of leather oil, so move on to step number three.
Step 3: Apply Leather Oil
After the leather has dried sufficiently, the final step is to apply leather oil. The use of saddle soap (or any leather cleaner) will break down and remove some of the oils that help to protect the leather. If you don’t re-apply oil after cleaning, the leather will be less durable, less waterproof, and more susceptible to stains from future spills.
I recommend using Otter Wax Leather Oil for conditioning your leather furniture after a spill. I’ve tried tons of different leather conditioners, and Otter Wax is my favorite because it works extremely well, doesn’t stink or discolor the leather, and doesn’t leave behind a sticky / oily residue like some other products.
- Microfiber Cloth: AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (Amazon)
- Soft Bristle Brush: TAKAVU Horsehair Soft Bristle Brush (Amazon)
- Leather Cleaner: Otter Wax Saddle Soap
- Leather Conditioner: Otter Wax Leather Oil
Prevent Stains With Routine Leather Cleaning & Maintenance
To keep leather furniture stain resistant, clean, and beautiful – it should be routinely cleaned and oiled. This easy maintenance will keep the leather looking its best, and help it to maintain optimal durability.
Leather furniture needs to be wiped down regularly with a microfiber cleaning cloth. Wiping the leather down helps to prevent dust, dirt, and grime from accumulating. Additionally, you can use a vacuum with a hose and soft brush attachment to clean the cracks and crevices that are difficult to get to with a cloth.
Once the cleaning is completed, you’re not quite done! Apply oil to keep the leather in optimal condition.
Does Leather Furniture Require Oil?
Yes. To keep leather furniture in good condition, it needs to be treated with leather oil. This treatment helps to maintain the leather’s natural durability, and stain-resistance.
I recommend using Otter Wax leather oil. Otter Wax is also perfect for leather bags, boots, jackets, or any other leather goods. A little oil goes a long way – and oil is cheap compared to the cost of leather, so protect your investment!
How Often Should You Apply Leather Oil?
For most leather furniture, applying leather oil once every six months should be sufficient. This should be frequent enough to keep the leather soft, flexible, and durable. However, this schedule needs to be customized to the specific needs of your furniture.
In most cases – once or twice per year is sufficient but I recommend treating all types of leather a minimum of once per year. This goes for leather furniture, hand bags, boots, a leather wallet, leather seats in a car,
If you live in a particularly dry climate, and have a leather sofa that gets used daily, then it may need to be treated more often. With heavy usage, leather may need to be oiled as much as once per month!
How To Tell When It’s Time To Treat Your Leather Furniture
When leather starts to look a little dried out, or lightens in color, these are signs that it is time to re-apply leather oil.
If you’ve owned a piece of leather furniture (or any other leather item) for over a year and never applied leather oil – you’re overdue! Make sure to treat your leather with some Otter Wax Leather Oil (Amazon) ASAP to ensure your expensive furniture lasts for years to come.
What Happens If You Do Not Oil Leather Furniture
If you wait too long to apply leather oil to leather furniture, or forgo treating the leather altogether, unfortunately the leather will dry out, crack, and be ruined prematurely.
As leather gradually dries out over time, it becomes less stain-resistant, less durable, and more prone to scuffs, scratches, and punctures. Eventually, if you let it go for too long, the leather will crack, rot, and generally start falling apart.
As leather becomes less durable, the first thing to go is usually stitching. The edges of the leather will become too weak to hold on, and the stitches will rip through the edges of the leather causing the seams to seperate.
Tips For Success On Cleaning & Removing Stains From Leather Furniture
- Clean up spills on leather before they dry.
- Wash the leather with Otter Wax Saddle Soap (Amazon) and a soft bristle brush (Amazon).
- Apply Otter Wax Leather Oil (Amazon) after you’ve finished washing, and the leather is dry.
- Wipe down leather furniture regularly with a microfiber cleaning cloth (Amazon).
- Re-apply leather oil every 6 months to 1 year to ensure the leather remains healthy and stain resistant.
Thanks so much for reading along! Do you have any other leather cleaning tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments below.
How To Remove Stains From Leather Furniture