How To Clean Leather Furniture…and Make It Shine

clean leather furniture

As much as PETA might not like to hear it, a number of Americans have chosen to decorate their family rooms and living rooms with leather furniture. It can be a great option for a busy family with messy kids and shedding pets since fur and dropped food come off leather couches, chairs, and ottomans pretty easily and with minimal hassle. But did you know that, to keep your leather pieces in tip-top shape, you need to do more than just brush off the messes? In actuality, you should be cleaning your leather furniture regularly; here are some hints to make it shine.

Location, Location, Location

Before learning how to clean leather furniture, first consider where your leather furniture is placed. Does the afternoon sun stream through the windows right onto the cushions? Although cows seem to really enjoy the warmth of the sun, once their hides are part of your home, leather doesn’t fare so well under the intense light and heat of the Phoenix sun. Keeping your leather furniture out of direct sunlight can have a significant impact on its extended life.

Consistency is the Key

Even though you may not notice any issues with your leather seating, it really should be cleaned (should we say touched up?) regularly to keep it in its best condition. Think of your best leather shoes: You polish and buff those regularly, right? Well, your furniture deserves the same care and attention. Saddle soap is great to use on leather and can be picked up at most convenience stores, near the shoe polish or cleaning supplies. And, hey, if you have a horse, you probably already have some saddle soap in the barn! Just grab a damp cloth or cloth diaper (which leaves much less lint than a towel), run it across the soap bar, and buff the leather to a nice shine. Don’t rinse it off.

If you have some pesky spots hanging around on your leather couch, there are a few options to clean it up and get it back to new. Be sure to test the leather first to ensure it will be colorfast with any solution you use by putting the treatment on a hidden section of the sofa or chair and let it sit overnight. Thankfully, getting off spots doesn’t require any major chemicals. Dip a Q-tip or cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub the spot. This works especially well for ink spots if the kids were doing homework on the couch and got a little overzealous with their pens.

Going Back to Nature

An excellent homemade remedy for removing serious spots from leather is to mix together one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar into a paste. Work the paste into the spot until it lifts. For more stubborn spots, let the paste sit a few hours or overnight and then buff it off with a little more paste before wiping the area clean with a damp cloth.

There are also a number of commercially available leather cleaners, but we at Moxie Girl Household Assistants are big fans of more natural remedies that don’t expose your pets or children to toxic chemicals. Other than provide a nasty taste, cream of tartar and lemon juice won’t do much to the curious members of your family who want to know what you’re up to in the living room.


If you live in a shrine to leather and the thought of cleaning all of that supple cowhide makes you dizzy, contact the house cleaning experts at Moxie Girl to incorporate regular leather cleaning and buffing into your house cleaning routine. Our talented team will create a schedule that works with your use of the leather furniture to make sure your home looks and smells inviting year round—no matter who’s sitting on your leather seats.

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