How To Clean Leather Couch: The Best Way For 7 Common Stains, Including Red Wine, Grease, And Ink

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Learn how to clean leather couch, including white leather and faux leather. Plus, find out how to remove red wine, oil, mold, gum, ink, and water stains from leather.

Table Of Contents

What You’ll Need

  • Clean cloth
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Leather conditioner
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Ice (optional)
  • Rubbing alcohol (optional)
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Cornstarch (optional)

How To Clean A Leather Couch: Directions

Step 1: Wipe The Couch Clean

Using a clean microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water, wipe down the entire couch, including the cushions, sides, back, and armrests.

Step 2: Dry The Sofa

Wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth.

Step 3: Condition The Leather

To find out which conditioners are compatible with the type of leather your sofa is made of, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the appropriate conditioner to every surface of your couch. If your leather sofa is under warranty, using the wrong leather conditioner could void the warranty. Save the receipts for the products you use in case you need proof later.

What Are The Best Ways To Remove A Leather Couch Stain?

A light brown leather sofa with a coffee stain splattered on it.

Add warm, soapy water to a clean, damp cloth. Blot the affected area in small circles (not back and forth in a line, which can cause wear). Wipe the area with a wet cloth, remove excess moisture, and let it air dry.

How To Get Oil Out Of Leather? (And Grease Stains)

Here’s how to get an oil or grease stain out of your leather furniture: sprinkle baking soda onto the affected area and let it sit for a few hours. After a few hours, wipe the area clean and then let it air dry.

How To Get Red Wine Out Of Leather?

To get a red-wine stain out of leather, follow these steps:

  1. Get a paper towel damp with hydrogen peroxide and put it on the affected area. Put something heavy on top of it, so there’s pressure to push the hydrogen peroxide into the leather. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  2. If the spot is still there after 30 minutes, repeat step 1.
  3. Let the area air dry, then condition it with a natural oil to restore its texture.

How To Clean Mold Off Leather Furniture?

To get mold off a leather sofa, use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab at it gently.

How To Get Pen Off Leather Couch?

Here’s how to get ink off leather couch: get a cotton ball wet with rubbing alcohol and then gently dab the stain until it lifts. Don’t rub the area because that could spread the ink.

How To Get Water Stain Out Of Leather?

Here are two options to get water stains out of your leather furniture:

  1. Mix warm water with a few drops of mild dish soap and wipe the solution onto the leather.
  2. If the water stain is tough to remove, use a cotton ball to gently apply a 50-50 mixture of water and white vinegar to the water spot. Keep dabbing at the stain until it goes away.

How To Clean Leather Couch Head Stain?

Here’s how to remove greasy head stains from leather furniture:

  1. Sprinkle cornstarch over the affected area and leave it overnight.
  2. The following day, use a soft cloth to brush the cornstarch off.
  3. Mix a tablespoon of dish soap with several cups of water.
  4. Use a clean cloth to wipe the stain with the soap solution.
  5. Using another cloth, wipe the area with clean water to rinse the soap off.
  6. Wipe away excess moisture and let the area air dry.

How To Remove Gum From Leather Couch?

The key to getting gum off a leather couch is hardening the gum before attempting removal by following the steps below:

Step 1: Chill The Gum-Stained Area

Put some ice cubes in a sandwich bag and hold it against the gum. Wait for the gum to harden.

Step 2: Remove The Gum

After the gum has hardened, gently scrape it off with a spoon or your fingernails. Don’t use something sharp like a knife because you could scratch or tear the leather.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Clean Leather Furniture

How To Disinfect Leather Couch?

Mix a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water and wipe down the leather with the solution. Studies have confirmed that vinegar is a disinfectant for some viruses and bacteria. You may be tempted to use harsher disinfectants like bleach to disinfect, but these can severely damage leather, and I recommend not using them.

How Often Should You Clean A Leather Sofa?

Once a week, dust your leather couch with a microfiber cloth or use the soft bristle extension on your vacuum. Once a month, wipe it with a clean, wet cloth, then apply a leather cream conditioner. The conditioner helps prevent discoloration and cracks.

How To Clean Faux Leather Couch?

Here’s how to clean faux leather (vegan leather):

  1. Clean out any debris or crumbs that may be hiding in crevices.
  2. Mix a tablespoon of gentle dish soap with several cups of water.
  3. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the fake leather with the solution.
  4. Rinse the area and let it dry.
  5. Condition the faux leather with baby oil or petroleum jelly.

How To Clean White Leather Sofa?

The side of a white leather sofa with a lot of gray-black staining on it.

Mix equal parts cream of tartar and lemon juice to remove dark stains on white or beige leather. Make a paste from the ingredients, apply it to the area, and let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it off.

If you want to use a commercial stain-removal product on white leather, try it on an inconspicuous part of the couch first — in case it discolors the leather.  

What’s The Best Leather Cleaner?

The best general-purpose leather cleaner is a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar.

How Do You Remove Leather Couch Scratches?

An old leather couch with a lot of scuffs and scratches on it.

To remove leather couch scratches, start cleaning the scratch with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar. Then, using a professional leather conditioner or mild oil (neatsfoot oil is good for scratches), dab the scratch in circular movements. Then, let the area air dry and then wipe off the oil.

Can I Use Vaseline To Condition Leather?

Yes, you can use Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to condition leather.

What Should You Not Clean Leather With?

Don’t clean leather with harsh commercial cleaning products like window cleaner. Also, avoid olive oil, shoe polish, hairspray, and nail polish remover.

Can You Use Baking Soda On Leather?

A glass jar with a handwritten label on it that says "baking soda."

Yes, you can use baking soda on leather. It won’t damage the leather or its finish.

How To Get Smell Out Of Leather Couch?

Here’s how to get a bad odor out of a leather sofa: sprinkle baking soda on the affected area, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum it.

How To Condition A Leather Sofa?

Here’s how to condition a leather sofa:

  1. Mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and a natural oil like flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil).
  2. Get a soft, clean towel or cloth damp with the solution and wipe down the leather. Let it sit overnight.
  3. The next day, use a dry cloth to wipe down the sofa.

Can You Use Disinfectant Wipes On Leather?

No, you shouldn’t use disinfectant wipes on leather because the chemicals in them can break down the leather’s finish.

Can You Use Baby Wipes On Leather?

An orange and pink bag of baby wipes against a light blue background.

No, you shouldn’t use baby wipes on leather because they often contain chemicals or alcohol that can damage leather.

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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.