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How to Take Care of your Leather Living Room Furniture

Leather living room furniture can look fantastic and add character to any home, as long as it's cared for. When leather furniture is neglected, it quickly loses its shine and can crack, wrinkle and fade in a surprisingly short amount of time.

From sunlight to liquid, there are lots of hazards that can change your leather sofa from beautiful to seriously damages. Luckily, caring for leather and keeping it at its best is surprisingly simple with the right techniques and tools.

In this guide, we'll share simple techniques that can be used to keep leather sofas, armchairs, ottomans and other furniture in great condition and ensure your living room looks its best for decades.

Preventing dust from damaging your leather furniture

We've all seen a severely scratched and damaged leather chair or sofa before, and it's rarely a pretty sight. While most leather furniture can be fixed, it's far better to take preventative measures to stop damage from happening in the first place.

Dust might not seem like a big threat to your leather furniture, but it can settle over time and sink into the creases of your leather sofa. This results in the light fading on the edges of your sofa that's common, especially with brown or black leather.

Prevent dust from settling into the creases of your sofa by brushing away dust with a cloth or light brush every two weeks. Wipe gently to remote dust from your sofa's surface without creating scratches.

As well as collecting in your sofa's creases, dust can collect between the cushions of your leather sofa. Pick up the cushions (if they're removable) and use your vacuum cleaner to clean our dust and prevent it from building up over time.

Use leather conditioner to keep your sofa's colour perfect

Is your leather furniture already faded? If your leather sofa, armchair or ottoman is starting to show its age and its colour is disappearing, try using leather conditioner to bring back its colour and shine.

Conditioning your sofa is just like polishing leather shoes. You should condition and clean your leather sofa every six to 12 months to keep it looking new. Cleaning your sofa too frequently can damage the leather, so stick to six months or more.

Several different leather conditioners are available, so you'll need to pick the right type for your sofa. Look inside your sofa's manual to find out what type of leather it's made from and choose one that's safe to use for the sofa leather on your sofa.

Applying leather conditioner is simple. First, remove any excess dirt and dust from your sofa with a cloth or leather brush. Once your sofa is clean, spray some leather conditioner onto a cloth and buff it into your sofa to remove marks and scratches.

If your leather furniture has lost its colour over time, you can use a colour refresh product to restore your sofa, armchair or ottoman to its original colour. This buffs into your leather furniture just like conditioner and restores its colour and shine.

Seriously damaged leather furniture might need to be reupholstered, but you can breathe some new life into it by using a microfiber cloth to buff out small cracks, lines and imperfections. Apply the cloth gently to avoid causing further damage.

Avoid using non-leather cleaners or applying water

Water is every leather sofa's worst enemy, and while a few droplets of water are unlikely to ruin your lounge suite, a large amount of moisture can cause serious damage to your leather sofa or armchair.

If you let your leather sofa get wet – or worse yet, stay wet for several hours – it could rapidly fade and lose its colour. It can also create a moisture stain – a stain that's extremely difficult to remove.

Avoid using any non-leather cleaning products on your leather furniture, especially products that need to be mixed with water. If your leather furniture is stained, you'll need to follow a special process to remove the stain without damaging the leather.

How to remove common stains from your leather furniture

From drinks and sauces to red wine, leather sofas can be stained by a wide variety of different substances. Removing stains from leather is slightly more complicated than removing them from fabric, but it's far from impossible.

Below, we'll explain how to remove some of the most common stains – from water stains to red wine stains – from your leather furniture without causing damage to the leather itself.

How to remove red wine stains from leather

Red wine stains can seem impossible to remove, but they're actually surprisingly easy to remove from leather furniture. To remove a red wine stain, you'll need the following items:

  • A roll of paper towels
  • A container of table salt
  • A bottle of soda water
  • A bottle of leather conditioner

Start by dabbing the wet section of the sofa with clean, dry paper towels. Use the towels to absorb as much of the wine as possible. Make sure you use dry towels – wet towels will stain the leather and fail to absorb the excess red wine.

Keep dabbing the leather until you've absorbed as much wine as possible. Once the excess wine has been removed, pour table salt onto the stain. Salt absorbs the wine and removes the dark red stain from the surface of the leather.

Let the table salt sit on the stain for 10-15 minutes. By this point, most of the stain should be cleared away. Clean away the salt and use a cloth to soak up any excess moisture. Make sure you dab the moisture – don't rub the leather using a towel.

If there's still a visible stain on your sofa, pour a small amount of soda water onto the leather. This neutralises the stain, preventing further damage. Dry the leather using a clean, absorbent towel to ensure that no moisture remains.

If the stain is large and you can't clean up all of the moisture with a towel, point a hairdryer at the leather and dry it using the coolest setting. You'll want to dry the leather as quickly as possible to prevent the moisture from leaving a mark.

How to remove moisture stains from leather

It's not just red wine that can leave a mark on your leather armchair – even a glass of water can leave a nasty stain. Moisture soaks into leather quickly and can affect its colour and texture if it's not cleaned up quickly.

Luckily, cleaning up moisture from a leather sofa is simple. Stains don't occur when moisture touches the sofa – in fact, the stain only forms when moisture dries on the leather. The key to avoiding stains is cleaning up water before it dries.

Use a damp cloth to wipe the moisture away. If you've spilt a lot of water, use more than one cloth or clean your cloth between wipes. Wipe in concentric circles away from the centre of the stain so that the edges of the stain "blend" into the leather.

By acting quickly and removing all of the moisture before it can dry on your leather furniture, you'll prevent the colour and texture of the leather from changing. Act as quickly as possible, as a stain can form rapidly if the water isn't wiped away.

Take care of your leather furniture and it will last for decades

Leather is an amazingly durable material, and if it's cared for properly it can last for decades, whether as a handbag, a pair of dress shoes or the upholstery for your new living room suite. From brushing away dust to acting quickly when red wine or moisture comes into contact with your sofa, taking care of your leather furniture will help it look brand new for decades.