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How to Clean Leather Furniture

Leather sofa

Although leather sofas aren’t for everyone, there is no doubt that they have several distinct advantages over fabric sofas. Leather sofas are extremely durable and can withstand punishment from plenty of sources, such as children and animals, meaning that they can potentially last a lifetime. Here is some advice on leather sofa care, to ensure it lasts as long as it possibly can …

Dust – you don’t always see it, but it’s there

Yes, leather furniture is hard-wearing but, like fabrics, it can still get dusty. Hoover your leather sofa regularly, and reverse, plump and swap cushions often, preferably daily. Doing so will ensure a more evenly-worn sofa while also extending the lifetime of the cushioning.

Make a cleaning routine

Leather sofas have garnered a reputation as being difficult to care for, and particularly unsuitable if there are pets and/or children in the house. Such a reputation is unmerited, and in many cases a well-made leather sofa is just as pet- and child-friendly as a fabric one. Simply wiping down the upholstery with a clean, dry cloth a few times a week keeps dust at bay, while gently buffing the sofa using a microfibre cloth on a weekly basis helps scratches to heal.

Dry is better than wet

Avoid using wet cloths to clean up spills, as this can damage the leather. Remember, leather is skin, and skin tends to bond with water due to the skin’s lipid content. Most minor spillages are best dealt with as quickly as possible with a dry cloth to soak up any liquid. A slightly damp cloth can be used to clear more extensive spillages, drying with a non-wet cloth afterwards.

Avoid using soaps and detergents

Using soaps, detergents, solvents, bleaches, cleaning sprays and other such products can often damage leather, perhaps even more so than the mess you might be trying to clean. This is because soaps and detergents can also destroy the leather’s finish, making it even more prone to stains and long-lasting marks. The best way to clean leather is using a white vinegar solution and a microfibre cloth.

Keep exposure to the elements to a minimum

As tough and as hard-wearing as leather sofas are, they are not designed for the outdoors. Leather sofas are best kept out of direct sunlight, too, as the sun’s rays and heat can dry out the leather and fade its natural colour. Extremely low or extremely high humidity can also affect the nature of leather, causing it to turn ‘powdery’.

The quality of the leather – it counts

Some people have had bad experiences with leather sofas because they bought one manufactured from bonded leather. A good quality sofa ought to be made from either full- or top-grain leather. Top-grain leather is often easier to clean than full-grain thanks to it being sanded and finished, but full-grain leather is more breathable, durable and will develop a patina over time rather than wear out.

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