Good Care and Cleaning for Leather

When polishing your vehicle, there are essentially only two ways to do this; one is using buffing machine or by hand. Always protect your fine leather furniture from direct sunlight! The ultra violet rays of the sun are your furniture’s worst enemy. Whether leather, suede or fabric the sun dries out the upholstered covering and causes it to fade and wear out. You will more than double the life of your upholstery by staying out of the sun. When not possible, UV films on the windows will help. There’s no need to hide from leather interiors – while some experts recommend leather care cleaners and conditioners.

Your leather furniture can last for years simply by wiping the leather with a warm slightly damp cloth once per month. This will prevent dust and body oils from creating a build up. As easy as it sounds, this maintenance will prolong the life of your furniture. This maintenance procedure should NOT be used on suede.

Qualified leather cleaning technicians understand that maintenance for your leather is very important. As with any fabric, professional cleaning technicians are able to get the deep soil and allergens out and keep your expensive leather furniture in a healthy and happy condition.

As time goes by, no matter how careful you try to be, stubborn spots and stains are inevitable. As with any fabric or leather, always test an inconspicuous area to see how the spotting cleaner will react with the upholstered covering. Use a mild solution of liquid ivory soap and clear lukewarm water. Apply this cleaning solution to a clean wet sponge. Never apply any cleaning solution or water directly onto the leather. This can cause permanent damage. Gently apply the sponge with the cleaning solution in it onto the stained area. Do not saturate the area. Rinse the cleaning solution out with a clean fairly wet sponge. Use a clean white terry cloth towel and gently thoroughly dry the area.

NEVER vigorously rub the leather, or use artificial heat to dry the leather.

KEY NOTE: As previously mentioned, before applying any cleaning solution to any fabric, cloth or leather, always find an inconspicuous place to test the solution. Some products may lighten or darken the color of the leather. First, be sure that what you are going to use will cause no damage. Secondly, convince yourself that the results will be what you expect, with no surprises.

There may be a time when something like butter, oil, or grease spill onto your leather furniture. Don’t panic, all may not be lost. Some leathers may allow you to at least partially, remove the stain. Do not apply water or any other water based cleaner to these types of stains. Wipe the excess staining material off the leather, gently, with a clean dry white terry cloth towel. Then, leave the stain alone and let nature take its course. In many cases, this type of stain will dissipate into the leather in a short period of time. Both the leather and this type of staining material are naturally oily in nature. If left alone after wiping, the stain may blend in with the leather. These types of stains would be devastating on cloth fabric. That is one of the great things about leather.

NEVER use saddle soaps, oil, abrasive cleaners, soaps, furniture polish, varnish, or ammonia based products. These will all probably cause permanent damage to the leather.


Leather cleaning certified technicians understand that suede is very different to maintain. Suede is a split hide with open pores. This fabric is very absorbent and makes spots and stains difficult and expensive to remove. This means that for you, the consumer, great care must be taken if you choose suede for your upholstery. For these reasons suede is not as widely used as pigmented (painted) leathers.

Suede should be brushed with a soft brush on a regular basis. Do not brush the suede to vigorously as this can damage the suede. Water can stiffen suede or leather. When choosing suede for your leather upholstery, it is very important to have the proper leather stain repellant applied at the time of purchase. Suede can have a very soft feel and luxurious appearance. Regular professional cleaning and re-application of the stain repellant is highly recommended. Products are available for the consumer to clean their furniture. Many of these chemicals can damage the suede or leather by using the wrong chemical on a particular suede or leather.

As you can see for yourself, suede is very beautiful. There are many other leather styles available. These other styles, as mentioned earlier, are far more consumer friendly, and will give you more years of pleasure than suede.


Leathers and suede can be very serviceable upholstery fabrics. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of leather and suede help you choose the type of leather or suede which will serve you best. A properly trained leather care technician will be glad to guide you to the leather that will be best for your home environment.

When going to a store to purchase a leather or suede piece of furniture, you may very well have a better understanding of what you are buying, than the salesperson selling you the item. Take note whenever you have any questions about any fabric or leather, consult a leather-cleaning expert.


My name is Bruce Jackson and I am the author of this article. I have been in the cleaning industry for over 35 years. My company, Jolly Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners, Inc. of Jackson, New Jersey cleans all types of carpet, fabrics, leathers and hard surfaces. Please visit our website for a wealth of information []

or call us at 732-367-3145 for your FREE ESTIMATE TODAY!

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