Here at Artistic Upholstery, we like to say that “the best maintenance for leather furnitureis use.” But, like everything else, there are always exceptions to every rule.

Leather, in additional to being beautiful and luxurious, is a very durable material, outwearing textiles many times over. In general it requires very little care. Here are some tips for leather cleaning and maintenance for all your home furnishings.

If you have a stain or spill on your leather sofa or favorite easy chair, or want to condition the leather on your dining room chairs, do not go out and buy leather cleaners or conditioners, i.e. wax, mink oil, saddle soap or polishes, from the local shoe repair store.These products might not be made for upholstery leather and could possibly harm your furniture. And please do not try any home remedies or use harsh cleaners not made specifically to clean or condition leather!

Upholstery leathers with pigment and protective agents in the topcoat require the least amount of maintenance. These types of leather are often referred to as “semi-aniline.” We believe there is no need to purchase an expensive leather maintenance kit to maintain your leather furniture. However, you will need to take some action to handle spills and stains. First, wipe spills up immediately with a sponge or clean cloth, but even if the spill is absorbed, it should dry out and dissipate over time. For spills and stains on furniture seats and arms, use a cloth dampened with warm water and a touch of a mild, non-detergent cleaner, such as castille soap, and gently wipe the area in a circular motion, gradually making larger circles around the stain. Allow the area to air dry – do not use a blow dryer or heat gun.

For ink and lipstick stains on leather furniture, we recommend purchasing an ink or stain remover made specifically for use on leather.

Home furnishings upholstered with pure aniline and “naked” leathers, including distressed leather, suede and nubuck, present more of a challenge to clean because these types of leather have little or no surface protection. When a spill occurs, immediately blot any excess liquid with a soft cloth. Wipe the entire area (cushion, arm rest, seat back) with the cloth dampened, but not soaked, with cool water.  If the leather darkens after cleaning, it should return to its original color within a few days after it has completely dried. It may be impossible to remove an ink stain from these types of leather. 

For regular maintenance of your leather furniture, protected leather can be wiped with a clean cloth dampened with warm water.  Unprotected leather can be wiped with a dry cloth or vacuum-cleaned.