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How to Look After Your Leather Furniture | Home Furnishings

Leather is practical (great for spill-prone kids), easy to pair with a range of styles and interior themes, and will last and last.

But even though leather’s lived-in look can be one of its charms, you will still need to give it a bit of TLC occasionally. Here’s how.

Why look after your leather?

So, if leather looks great as it grows old gracefully, then why worry about it? Characterful crinkles are one thing – cracks, rough patches and holes are something else.

Leaving aside aesthetic (or hygienic) concerns, regularly getting rid of dirt will reduce scuffing the surface. To clean leather furniture, just use a soft brush attachment to vacuum joints and crevices, give a wipe with a damp sponge, then dry with a cloth.

  • Want to do more? Don’t reach for any general purpose detergents or soaps – or you risk damaging or discolouring the leather. Try using a specialist leather cleaner. Just make sure you test on an hidden spot first.
  • Want to bring out your leather’s inner beauty? Try polishing with a leather furniture conditioner to restore that sheen and softness.

Top tip: Got full aniline leather (the softest, most expensive type)? Don’t wipe clean, as it can leave streaks.

Black leather sofa with brown pillow next to a oak coffee table

Restore your leather furniture

You’ll want to keep that great unique look that leather develops over time – but stains and tears are another matter and can make your furniture seem shabby. Luckily, leather furniture restoration doesn’t need to be job just for specialists.

First, simply clean your furniture, as above. Then pick the problem you want to solve:

Remove stains – How to clean leather furniture? First identify the stain – is it wine, clothing or cushion dye? You can buy all-purpose leather stain removers which cover these, plus specialist cleaners for things like grease or ink. It’s usually as simple as dabbing the product to the affected area.

Treat discolouration – Restore the colour of your leather by cleaning first, then rubbing in leather recolouring balm, using small circular motions. Gradually create a match by building layer upon layer so the colour intensifies. When you’re happy, buff with a dye-free cloth.

Fix cracks – If you’ve kept your furniture in warm, dry conditions (near an open fire, for example) you may find cracks have developed. If so, clean first, then apply a specialised conditioner to affected areas – this will revive the dry, brittle leather. Work it in with your hands, then leave overnight and repeat if necessary.

Repair rips – Got a full-blown rip or tear? If you’re trying to fix it yourself, you’ll likely need a leather upholstery kit. Match the colour with the handy tag the sofa came with – if not, mix colours for an exact match.

A red sofa and grey corner group sofaYou’ll need:

  • Oil remover
  • Abrasive pad/sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Backing material
  • Leather glue and gluing stick
  • Palette knife
  • Base colourant
  • Top coat
  • Leather protection cream

Follow these 10 steps to fix your rip:

  1. Rub around the split using an oil and finish remover and abrasive pad
  2. Trim the frayed area
  3. Use tweezers to slip backing material (such a canvas) behind the rip
  4. Apply glue to the gluing stick and stick the torn edges of leather to the material
  5. Hold in place with tweezers until it dries
  6. Spread filler into the hole with a palette knife and leave to dry
  7. Fillers can shrink – repeat if necessary
  8. Sand the filler down if it sticks out
  9. Apply base colourant using a dye-free sponge, working in small circular motions
  10. Apply a top coat, following its instructions

However old your leather, you can always help guard against deterioration by treating it to a coat of leather protection cream. Do this to ensure an extra level of protection for your handiwork whenever you restore your leather.


Need extra help protecting your leather sofa? Browse our range of cleaning kits here.

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