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How To Clean Leather Lounges: A Complete 6-Step Guide

Everyone loves a great leather lounge! NO-ONE likes a filthy leather lounge!

The beauty of this is, with a handful of simple DIY products and an hour out of your day, you can easily clean and maintain your leather lounge suite, and restore it to its original glory.

In the article below we will take you through an easy method on how to clean leather lounges – as well as dive into a comprehensive step-by-step process on how to best maintain and protect your lounge suite.

how to clean leather lounges

Different Lounge Cleaning and Preservation Methods

Identifying the safest and most effective cleaning method for your unique leather lounge is not only essential to getting an effective clean, but also critical in making sure you don’t damage your furniture.

Here are a few key things to consider:

First Things First:

The cleaning methods and advice below is generic, and not specific to your unique furniture.

All furniture should come with an attached ‘cleaning code’ detailing what cleaning methods and materials are safe, suitable and effective (e.g. cleaning code S, W, WS, X etc.)

Be sure to check these before undertaking any cleaning!

Careful When Using Soap

Certain soaps and detergent-based cleaners are harsher than others as well, so even if your lounge is graded to be ok with soap, spot test first to make sure for certain.

More often than not, a damp cloth with warm water, white vinegar and baking soda will deal with anything soap will, so again, if the cleaning code allows – start there first.

Keep Your Pets Off Your Lounge

Dogs and cats are adorable companions, but they do not go well with leather lounges.

If you own pets, it would be wise to prevent them from sitting on the leather. Their claws can easily rip the surface at worst, or leave scratches, stains and odours at best.

Oftentimes, damage like this can be extremely difficult to fix, however, if you’ve unfortunately copped some lounge damage from your favourite furry friend – you can check out our complete guide to leather sofa repair.

pets on leather lounges

Rubbing vs. Blotting

When dealing with a stain on your leather lounge suite, avoid rubbing or wiping.

Doing so can spread the stain across the surface of the leather. The best strategy is to blot the spillage with a dry, white, clean damp cloth.

Microfiber cloths are often best as they soak up the spill, rather than spread it.

Sunlight and Heat

Heat and sunlight are two of leathers worst enemies – famous for making it dry out and crack.

Make sure your lounge is strategically positioned away from windows where direct sunlight shines through.

It is also smart to avoid setting the lounge close to a fire or area with high heat. If you can place your hand on your leather lounge and it’s hot to the touch – then it’s probably best to move it.

If you are pretty limited for space and can’t avoid having your lounge near your fireplace, heater or in direct sunlight, then make sure to use a protective lounge cover, periodically rearrange your furniture and apply a leather conditioner to it to extend its lifespan.

Leather Conditioners and Protection

Speaking of leather conditioner -this is one of the most effective methods of extending the life of your leather lounge.

Care kits for leather products specialize in cleaning and maintaining leather lounges, saving you thousands in replacements costs in the long term.

Different suppliers have products for different leather types, so do your research before purchasing one but as with most things the old adage rings true – ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure‘.

Avoid Direct Contact with Dyed Clothing Items

If you own a white or light-colored leather lounge, this step is vital.

Try your best to avoid sitting directly on the couch with denim jeans or other dyed clothing items.

Dye transfer is common with these materials over time, even though you may not notice it initially. Of course, you very likely don’t own an ‘all-white’ wardrobe, so the best bet is to protect your lounge with a cover.

how to clean a white leather lounge

How To Clean Leather Lounges: The Process

There is no better feeling than getting your leather lounge clean, fresh and back to almost new.

If you stick to a consistent cleaning and maintenance plan, your lounge suite will last you many happ years.

Keep in mind, you should be cleaning light-colored furniture about twice as regularly as you’d be cleaning dark-colored materials.

What You Will Need

So, what will you need to accomplish the cleaning process? Before you begin, assemble the following items below:

  • Baking soda
  • Mild dish soap
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Leather cleaner or conditioner

Step 1: Brush & Vacuum

Begin by taking a dry brush to your couch, lounge or sofa to remove any loose and free dirt, debris or crumbs from the surface.

Once you’re happy that you’ve done all you can with the brush, use a vacuum to get anything set in deeper or between the cushions.

As leather isn’t very porous, there won’t be much to be drawn out of the surface with a vacuum. Just make sure you take out any removable cushions at this step so that you can vacuum underneath.

Step 2: Attacking the Stains

Next, you can start applying a wet soft cloth to the stains.

The cleaner you use will depend on your furniture cleaning code, but more often than not, you can dip the cloth in a bowl with a simple mixture of warm water with a cleaning agent such as white vinegar and/or baking soda.

Apply the wet cloth by dabbing, blotting or rubbing smaller circles around the stain. Try to avoid rubbing back and forth, which can create more wear and tear and spread the stain.

NOTE: Always ‘spot clean’ a small amount of the surface material in an inconspicuous spot before applying to the entire lounge.

Step 3: Dry the Leather Lounge Suite

It is essential not to overlook this step because the water will deteriorate the leather if it’s left to sit.

After you use a wet cloth to apply any sort of wet substance to your lounge, couch or sofa, it’s crucial that you immediately use a dry cloth to wipe and soak up anything that is remaining.

Step 4: Specialised Leather Products

We can’t stress enough, it’s critical that you check your cleaning codes before applying ANY cleaner to your leather furniture.

If coded correctly, specialised products like leather cleaners can help break down tougher grease and oil stains that lighter solvents cannot.

Some products incorporate both a conditioner and cleaner together which can save time.

When applying it – spray the designated cleaner into a soft cloth or towel, rather than directly onto the lounge. Doing so will reduce the chance of leaving spray blemishes or marks.

Next, wipe and apply evenly across the lounge suite, making sure not to miss any nooks, crannies, or edges. Start at the top and move toward the bottom, which prevents polish marks from showing up.

Step 5: Apply Conditioner

If you haven’t used an ‘all-in-one’ product in Step 4, now is the time to condition your leather to protext it from future damage and get it looking its best.

There are many different brands available so find your favourite that suits the lounge suite you own, and apply evenly across the surface. Some come as a liquid to be applied with a cloth, others come as a spray.

Conditioners will deliver healthy oils to bring out the “fresh” look on the furniture.

Step 6: Wait and Let it Dry

After you finish spreading out the conditioner, you can wait for the leather to dry over for 60-90 minutes. Letting the product soak into the couch is essential, and sitting down on it too quickly will risk getting it into your clothing.

After the lounge dries, your couch will look like it just got delivered from the store.

Abram from Saddleback Leather gives some great tips on cleaning and protecting your leather in the quick video below:

Final Wrap Up

Before undertaking any clean on your leather lounge, it’s vital you check your cleaning codes.

While most stains and odors can be cleaned with a simple solution of water, vinegar and baking soda – this can actually damage the surface and natural oil in some leather products.

If ever in doubt, consult the manufacture before cleaning to be sure, or even hire a professional to come in if you really aren’t confident

It’s also important to take small steps to preserve the life of your leather lounge. Try your best to limit sunlight, keep the pets off it, no sharp keys in your pocket when you sit and periodically use a conditioner.

Follow these steps and you’ll have yourself a brilliant leather lounge that you can love for years and years to come!

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