Leather furniture brings comfort and luxury to any room in your home. When cared for properly, this material is made to last for many years. Unlike other furniture materials, however, caring for leather furniture must be done in a unique way to maintain its quality and keep it looking its best.

If it’s time to give your leather furniture a refresh, Furniture Mall is here with tips and tricks you can follow to ensure your furniture will last. Whether you’re caring for your family’s sofa or dad’s favorite recliner, you can keep your leather furniture feeling as good as new.

Types of Leather Upholstery

Before you clean or condition leather, it’s important to know the different types of leather upholstery. Your furniture pieces should include the type of material on its tag, or you can visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

If you’re unable to find out more information about your furniture, there are some tell-tale signs that may point to what type of leather they are.

Unprotected Leather

Also known as aniline leather or pure aniline, this type of upholstery is natural, soft, and luxurious. With unprotected leather furniture, you typically see natural surface grains and markings of the material.

Unprotected leather is dyed, but no surface pigment is added. Therefore, this type of leather is more sensitive to staining because it has little to no protective coating. It’s also usually pricier than other types of leather and furniture materials.

Other types of unprotected, aniline leather that your furniture might be include pull-up leather, which is injected with waxes, oils, and dyes to create vibrant colors, and nubuck leather, which is buffed or distressed to create a velvety feel.

Protected Leather

Most leather furniture in your home is probably protected, or finished, leather. Protected leather furniture may also be labeled as pigmented leather or semi-aniline. This type of leather is a lot more durable and stain-resistant than unprotected leather types, and it has a more uniform appearance.

Because this type of leather is topped with a protective pigment coating, it is comfortable for lounging while not compromising its durability. Other protected leathers may have thicker pigmented layers, giving the furniture a stiffer feel and allowing it to withstand wear and tear.

Basic Care

Many homeowners choose leather as their furniture upholstery for sectionals, loveseats, and even dining room chairs because it is durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean. Still, leather furniture should be cleaned and conditioned regularly.

Because of its distinctive qualities, you’ll want to avoid any DIY or home remedies when caring for leather furniture. These types of home concoctions will do more harm than good to the material. Instead, it’s best to follow instructions specific to what type of leather you have to maintain its comfortable feel and elegant appearance.

Leather furniture should be kept out of direct sunlight and at an appropriate temperature. Extreme temperatures and light from the sun can cause the leather to become dry, brittle, and damaged. Leather can also become too cold, allowing it to crack more easily.

If you just bought new furniture for your home, it’s best to protect the upholstery from the get-go with a professional leather furniture protector. Having this protector applied professionally leads to ideal results.

caring for leather furniture

Cleaning Leather Furniture

Leather furniture should be kept free from dust and occasionally wiped with a cloth. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to pick up dirt, crumbs, or pet hair. When cleaning leather, you should avoid soap and detergent, no matter how mild they are. Soap will strip the natural oils from the leather, causing it to turn brittle, dry, and damaged.

Leather should also not be cleaned with cleaning solvents, saddle soap, furniture polish, varnish, oils, or other abrasive cleaners. These products can damage all types of leather beyond repair. It’s also unwise to wash with soap and apply oil to supplement the leather since it will only leave a stain.

When cleaning unprotected leather, stick with the vacuum brush and a dry cloth. Unprotected leather can easily be scratched or stained, so avoid household cleaning products and rough-textured rags.

Protected or semi-aniline leather can withstand heavier use and cleaning because of its pigmented protective coating. After removing dirt with a vacuum, you can apply a few drops of mild nondetergent soap mixed with distilled water using a microfiber cloth. Wipe the leather furniture from top to bottom; then, dampen another cloth with plain distilled water and wipe the furniture again, drying it off afterward with a clean towel.

Always test the cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous spot on the leather to ensure it won’t be damaged or discolored.

Caring for Spills and Stains

Spills should be wiped from leather as soon as possible, or else they can cause permanent or hard-to-remove staining. For unprotected leather, blot the substance with a clean, dry cloth as quickly as you can before it’s absorbed. Tougher stains may need to be professionally removed to avoid damaging the material and ruining the furniture.

Spills and stains on protected leather are a little easier to remove. Water-based stains, such as juice and soda, can easily be wiped away with a dry cloth or a cloth dampened in distilled water. For stubborn stains, use a soft cloth or sponge moistened with lukewarm water and nondetergent soap. After wiping away the stain, blot with a dry, soft cloth.

Oil-based stains, such as those resulting from grease or body oil, are a little trickier to remove. Blot with a clean, dry cloth but do not use any water. You can also try sprinkling corn starch or baking soda and letting it sit overnight to soak up the stain. Fortunately, many oil stains will dissipate into the leather over time, especially minor ones.

Conditioning Leather Furniture

If you’re wondering how to keep leather furniture from cracking, conditioning the leather is a good practice to follow. Leather furniture conditioner is used to keep leather soft and maintain its natural oils.

You can use many commercial products to condition your leather furniture, but it’s always wise to check your furniture’s care label to ensure it won’t damage the material. Avoid conditioning oils that contain silicone or wax, as these can leave your leather furniture feeling permanently sticky.

Leather furniture should be conditioned every six to twelve months to maintain it’s high-quality for many years. If you live in a drier climate, you may need to condition the leather more often because of the lack of moisture in the air.

At Furniture Mall, we have a wide selection of leather furniture to fit any room of your home. Visit our stores today in Topeka and Olathe, Kansas, and Austin, Texas.