Can Sweat Damage A Leather Couch?

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The normal pH level for humans is 7.4, which is more acidic than leather. The pH difference causes a reaction with leather and thus damage. That’s where the darkening and hardening of the leather happens. So the answer to the question, “Can sweat damage a leather couch?” is yes. Keep reading to learn how to protect your leather couch from sweat and keep it clean.

Table Of Contents

How To Prevent Leather Sweat Stains?

Seat covers are an effective way to keep liquids and sweat from getting on your leather seats. If you don’t want to hide the leather, however, wipe down the leather regularly with a water-dampened cloth.

How To Remove Sweat Stains From Leather Sofa?

A man cleans a dark red leather couch with soap and water.

Rub talcum powder, baking soda, or cornstarch onto the sweat stain and leave it overnight. Vacuum the area and then wipe it with a water-dampened cloth. Repeat until all the oil is gone, and let the sofa air dry. 

If the sweat stain is still there, mix a tablespoon dish soap with several cups of water. Then, with a clean cloth, wipe the soap solution onto the stain. Using another cloth, wipe the area with clean water to rinse the soap off. Wipe away excess moisture and let the area air dry.

Lastly, use a lint-free cloth to apply a conditioner like neatsfoot oil or Vaseline. A leather conditioner will protect the leather and prevent further staining. Additionally, it will hydrate the leather and extend its lifespan.

Does Leather Furniture Make You Sweat?

Yes, here are a few reasons leather furniture causes sweating:

  • Faux leather isn’t breathable or porous, so there’s no way for the sweat to evaporate. Instead, it sits between your skin and the faux leather surface.
  • Real leather takes on the room’s temperature. So if the room is cold, the leather is cold. If the room is hot, the leather is hot. As a result, you might sweat more if you’re sitting on a leather couch in a warm room.
  • Compared to other materials like cotton, leather is less absorbent. Therefore it doesn’t readily absorb your sweat as a fabric couch would.

What Does Sweat Damage On Leather Look Like?

A brown leather chair shows discoloration from sweat stains.

An early sign of sweat damage is the leather flaking or getting dark spots. This damage will usually show up first at the head and armrests. The leather might start to crack, peel, or tear with time.

How To Prevent Sweat From Getting On Leather Furniture?

A man sits on a brown leather sofa with his arm draped over the back.
  • Change up your favorite spots on the couch, so you’re not always sitting in one place. Otherwise, that one spot will start to stain as it gets more oil exposure than the rest of the couch.
  • Don’t sit on the sofa while you’re sweaty, e.g., when you’ve just gotten back from the gym.
  • If you need to sit on the leather sofa while sweaty, put a towel or blanket under you to absorb the sweat.
  • If you’re really concerned about it, you can make a point of only sitting on the couch while wearing long sleeves and pants. You can also wear a moisture-wicking undershirt to prevent back sweat on leather seats.

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Lucy Henderson is a Seattle-based home décor expert and creator of Palladio Interiors. She loves writing about design trends, home-interior inspiration, and home-decorating tips. She's a fan of coziness and simplicity.