Cleaning leather furniture can be quite tricky since they do not tolerate water very well. Consistent washing with water strips the leather of natural oils and may lead to water damage, drying, and eventually cracking. This is why the way you clean leather furniture matters so much.
The most common ways to clean leather furniture are vacuuming, cleaning by hand, or steam cleaning. Depending on your goals, you should use different cleaning methods. For regular cleaning, vacuuming or cleaning by hand should be enough. If you want to get the deeply embedded dirt, steam cleaning is the way to go.
Why should you clean leather furniture?
Cleaning leather furniture is vital to keep its appearance, softness, and durability. Since the leather is porous, it easily soaks up the dirt and moisture from our bodies making the top layer abrasive as it breaks down. Once the leather is cracked, it can no longer be repaired. Regular maintenance helps you remove all the surface dirt, grime, and body oils that contribute to the damage of the fabric. Moisturizing leather after every cleaning session prevents the furniture from drying out and cracking.
Best methods to clean leather furniture
There are a couple of ways to deal with dirty leather furniture, and each one comes with its own pros and cons. It’s important to address that improper cleaning can weaken the fibers of your leather furniture, or even lead to permanent damage. To minimize the possible negative outcome, it’s recommended to stray away from using large amounts of water and high temperature. Additionally, be sure to moisturize and condition the surface of your furniture before and after cleaning. When steam cleaning or cleaning by hand, be sure to first wipe off any dust that accumulated on the surface of the furniture.
Vacuuming is the most popular way to quickly clean all types of furniture. Running a vacuum a couple of times should be more than enough to get out all the surface dirt and grime that accumulated on the fabric. While it can be done regularly, it often isn’t enough to fully refresh the furniture. When vacuuming it’s highly recommended to use a crevice tool that helps clean hard-to-reach areas of your chair or sofa. If your vacuum attachments have a brush at the end, try to go for ones with soft bristles to prevent any scratches.
Cleaning by hand
It’s not considered a deep-cleaning method, although it does well when dealing with fresh stains and small spills. The process is very simple and requires only a clean cloth with a cleaning solution. Before you use any detergents, try them on an inconspicuous area first. Delicate leather can react poorly to harsh chemicals. You can also make a homemade cleaning solution by mixing mild soap with warm water. Avoid using ammonia, or white vinegar, especially if you don’t have any experience. To start, dip a clean cloth in the cleaning solution and wring it out. Wipe the fabric in the direction of the grain, removing excess amounts of water instantly. Keep in mind to be gentle and stray away from using too much force.
One of the most popular questions when dealing with dirty leather furniture is “Can you steam clean leather?” The answer is yes – You can clean leather furniture using a steam cleaner, provided you do it properly. You also shouldn’t repeat the process too often, as it can weaken, or even damage the leather fibers. That being said, many experts say it’s one of the best methods to deep-clean your leather items. It’s recommended to wrap a clean microfiber cloth around the steam cleaner’s attachment and set the lowest possible temperature. Test how the leather reacts by streaming vapor into an inconspicuous area first. Now run the device on the furniture, however, keep in mind that the steam cleaner should touch the surface of the leather for the least amount of time possible.
A side note: After each cleaning method remember to air dry the material and put on a leather moisturizer. This will prevent drying and cracking, prolonging the life of the furniture. When drying the furniture do not use any direct heat or sunlight, as this can also cause cracking or fading.