Cleaning Leather Furniture with Natural Ingredients
January 15, 2020

Cleaning Leather Furniture with Natural Ingredients


Clean leather

Leather is a visually pleasing and durable material for furniture and clothing. To keep it looking and feeling good for a long time, it needs a little bit of love.

We’re going to show you some ways to clean your leather products, naturally. We’ll include a few stain types, cleaning methods and ingredients that you can use when tackling this type of work.

Before we start, let’s talk about why cleaning leather, naturally, is a better alternative to using an off-the-shelf cleaning product.


The first major difference between all cleaning products is the chemical makeup. Cleaning leather requires certain compounds to clear away grime and other build-up. All cleaner formulas will utilise some combination of waxes, oils, and additives. However, some formulas rely on alkaline, which is a powerful chemical for cleaning. However, as strong as alkaline may be, it can also be unduly harsh and may cause damage when not used properly. Therefore, other leather cleaning products will have alkaline-free formulas, relying on gentler compounds to restore leather’s beauty. In most cases, putting together your own leather cleaning product is more cost effective than purchasing one.


The way leather is produced has changed over the years. Leather is in an acidic state when produced in the tannery, which is why most modern leather cleaners should not be too alkaline. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to leather cleaners. It is impossible to have one type of cleaner that removes all dirt from all types of leather. It has been proven that a suitable cleaning method, complemented by appropriate products and accessories designed specifically for the type of leather and level of soiling, gives the best results. With that in mind, the following advice is not designed for suede or nubuck leather.


Step 1: Vacuum

Prepare your furniture by vacuuming all dust and debris off the surface and out of the folds. Vacuum gently so as not to scratch the material.


Step 2: Wipe down

Wipe the entire surface down with a clean, warm and damp cloth to remove all loose surface dirt. Again, be gentle and.


Step 3: Spot removal 

Try check the furniture manufacturers directions first and spot-test a small, hidden area to check for discoloration before applying any remedies to the whole piece.

For ink-based leather stains like ballpoint pen and marker try rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and gently rub along mark until ink begins to lift. Change cotton swabs often to reduce bleed. Once the leather stain is removed, wipe away excess alcohol with clean, damp cloth.

For protein-based leather stains like food and blood, try a paste of 2 parts corn-starch to 1 parts lemon juice.

For surface scratches, try erasing with a mild oil, like olive or baby oil. Dip a cotton swab in oil and gently massage along scratch until well covered. Let sit for 5 minutes and gently buff away excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.


Step 4: Overall clean

The best way to clean a leather couch and the entire surface would be to mix 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part olive oil in a spray bottle and shake well. You can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to cut the vinegar scent.

Spray generously and use a clean cloth to massage the stain using a circular motion until the entire surface has been cleaned. A soft brush when learning how to clean leather can also be used to gently scrub problem areas. Then use a dry paper towel to wipe all excess oil off the furniture.


Step 5: Polish & Finish

To revive the lustre of the material, there are several commonly available oils you can adapt. Use a clean, dry cloth to rub coconut oil into the leather in a circular motion, much like shoe polish. Let penetrate for 10 minutes, and buff out excess oil with a new, clean cloth. You can also use bees wax or almond oil as a substitute for coconut oil. A more exhaustive recipe for leather polish would be 1 part bees wax, 1 part cocoa butter, 2 parts almond oil.


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January 15, 2020
Andreas Sesun
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