If you know how to care for leather furniture, it can last a lifetime or longer. This is especially true if it’s a high-quality solid wood piece underneath. Leather upholstery’s durability—along with its beauty, elegance, and comfort—make it a worthwhile investment. Even though quality pieces can cost significantly more than some other options, those cheaper items invariably have to be replaced over and over throughout the years.
There’s no need to treat your leather furniture like it’s on display in a museum. It’s there to be used, and leather doesn’t wear out; it wears in. While you obviously want to be careful on and around it, just follow these basic tips about how to care for leather furniture and enjoy it!
Leather Furniture Care Tips
- Buy leather furniture that has a professionally applied protective finish. This helps keep spills and other accidents from turning into stains, and also helps prevent superficial scratches.
- Don’t place leather furniture where it sits in direct sunlight. This fades the color and weakens the material over time, and can make it hot when you sit on it. If the sun does stream in where you have a piece of leather furniture, close the blinds, shades, or curtains. Alternatively, if you don’t want to lose the natural light, drape a sheet or blanket over the furniture while the sun is hitting it.
- Dust leather furniture with a soft, dry cloth every few days. Use a small vacuum attachment to suck up dirt and debris under cushions and in any crevices.
- Apply a quality leather conditioner once or twice per year. Make sure you follow all the product’s instructions and heed any warnings. This helps keep the leather soft, supple, and looking its best.
- Eat and drink really carefully while seated on your leather furniture. You might consider limiting what you consume on it, avoiding things that are difficult to clean or that easily stain, like red wine or greasy food.
- Wipe up spills immediately using a clean, dry, absorbent cloth. If necessary, dampen the cloth slightly with lukewarm water. If there’s visible water on the leather, soak it up promptly with a dry cloth; otherwise, just let it air dry.
- Blot oil-based stains repeatedly with clean, dry, absorbent cloths. Don’t panic too much if you can’t get it all up; these stains tend to fade over time.
- Don’t use an excess of water or any soaps, detergents, or cleaning solvents on the leather. This can cause more damage than the mess you’re trying to clean up.
- Don’t use polishes, oils, or varnishes on leather either.
- If applying a product or trying a cleaning method that you’ve determined is appropriate for leather, test it first in a small, unnoticeable spot on the back or underside of the furniture.
- Never use an air dryer or a blow dryer on leather furniture.
- Flip or rotate cushions every one to three weeks, depending on how often the seat gets used.
- If you have a leather couch with multiple cushions, rotate their positions every few weeks so that certain cushions don’t get sat on much more often than others. This helps prevent any from becoming misshapen.
- Brush up on tips to protect your furniture from pets.
- Pay a professional cleaner or leather specialist to address any stains or damage.