Between inevitable spills, stains, and pulls, fabric couches are truly a recipe for disaster. Leather couches, on the other hand, are fairly easy to care for — as long as you act fast. Of course, sometimes you won’t notice a spill, scratch, or tear quick enough. That’s where this guide on how to clean a leather couch from the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab comes in handy.
While it’s best to keep your couch away from direct sunlight and sharp objects (ahem, your dog’s claws) on a daily basis to prevent extensive damage, these easy-to-follow instructions are helpful when you need to tackle tricky stains, scuffs, and anything else that has made your furniture lose its natural shine.
How to Clean a Leather Couch
You should regularly wipe down your couch with a microfiber cloth to get rid of crumbs or dirt, but follow this step-by-step guide on an as-needed basis—a.k.a. when you notice any glaring stains or scratches.
- One small area at a time, work a leather cleaner, like GH Seal star Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner or Furniture Clinic Leather Care Kit, or mild soap into the leather with a soft, damp cloth.
- Rinse with another damp cloth until all soap or cleaner is removed. Buff with a dry cloth. Go over arms and headrests multiple times, if necessary.
- Apply a protectant to condition the leather, making it easier to remove future stains.
How to Remove Ink Stains
General rule of thumb: Try your best to not use markers or pens on the couch — and tell your kids to do the same. But when your couch eventually becomes the go-to spot for crossword puzzles or homework assignments, then arm yourself with this step-by-step.
- For finished leather (upholstery leather), lightly dab a cloth or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and blot with a clean cloth. Once dry, treat with a leather conditioner.
- For unfinished leather, call a professional to handle the job.
How to Remove Grease Stains
Similar to ink, some grease stains are past the point of repair (sorry but true). If you regularly treat your leather couch with a protectant, you’ll up your chances of getting rid of any hard-to-remove grease stains. While there are no guarantees, give these methods a try:
- Use Furniture Clinic Leather DeGreaser on any areas that have been darkened from natural hair and hand oils.
- For food stains, blot the stain immediately and sprinkle the area with talcum powder, cornstarch, or flour to draw the oil out. Let it sit for several hours — overnight, if possible — until the powder looks saturated and wipe. If the stain remains, wash it out with Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner or Furniture Clinic Leather Care Kit.