Your leather furniture looks beautiful, and is ridiculously comfortable. But, without the proper care, it won’t stay that way for long. It’s important to give your leather furniture some extra attention, such as a routine cleaning and polishing, for it to withstand the test of time.
Leather is one of those finicky materials that, if left without proper care, can crack, stain, and wear down much quicker than other materials, especially when used consistently, like a leather chair. These tips will help you create a proper maintenance routine for taking the best care of your leather furniture.
Cleaning Leather Furniture
Cleaning a leather chair may seem like a simple job, but there’s actually more that goes into it than just cleaning. First, you should focus on a routine dusting schedule.
Leather furniture actually doesn’t need a lot of “cleaning”. The first line of defense for protecting your leather furniture from harmful particles is dusting it frequently. A couple times per week, or more if your house is very dusty, use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the leather. Prolonged dust exposure can strip away the leather’s oils that keep it from cracking.
As for “cleaning” leather furniture, you can simply use a microfiber cloth with a bit of lukewarm water on it to gently remove germs and dirt. If you keep up on this process weekly, you won’t have to worry about excessive grime buildup that will stain, and harm, your leather furniture.
Spot-treating stains on leather furniture is all about using proper cleaning tactics and being super careful with the types of cleaners you use. You should always check the label on your furniture, if there is one, for suggestions of things to try. If there isn’t a label attached, contact your manufacturer, who can point you in the right direction.
Generally, though, there are a few things you can do that are usually safe for leather furniture. Most drink spills, such as water or juice, can be cleaned up immediately with a cloth with little chance of staining your furniture. After it’s thoroughly dried with no sign of staining, apply a leather conditioner to the area.
Grease and ink stains require a bit more treatment. For ink stains, a very small amount of rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip may be able to remove the stain, if used immediately after ink has come into contact with the leather.
For grease stains on leather, use a small amount of corn starch on the stain, and rub it in vigorously with your fingers, to form heat from friction. This heat will help loosen the oil before your furniture has a chance to absorb it.
Protecting Leather Furniture
If you have leather furniture, you should always have a leather conditioner on hand. Check with your manufacturer to find out what one it recommends, if any, and keep a supply ready.
At least once every 6 months, or more if your furniture gets excessive use, apply a leather conditioner to your furniture. You should also apply it to spots you deep clean or spot-treat for stains, as your cleaning methods will likely strip the furniture of its oils.
If you notice fading, wear, or cracking, it’s a sign that you’re not conditioning enough, and you should consider ramping up your conditioning schedule.
What Should I Avoid?
To keep your leather furniture in the best shape possible, it’s not only about what you should do, but also what you should avoid. Leather furniture certainly doesn’t love every environment.
Sunlight, for example, is awesome for your home atmosphere, but not so great for your leather furniture. Excessive sunlight can quickly fade your beautiful leather, and dry it out so much that it begins to crack. Consider using window coverings to block out sunlight during the hottest parts of the day.
You also need to be careful with any liquids near leather furniture, but soaps, especially, can strip your leather of its protective oils. Never use any detergent or soap, regardless of how “natural” or “mild” it may be, without first consulting your owner’s manual or the furniture manufacturer.
Finally, take extra care with your furniture around pets and children. Kids toys, for example, may contain plastic pieces that may not seem sharp, but can be just sharp enough to cause damage to your leather. And, pets’ claws are quite often an enemy of leather furniture!