Leather is a beautiful and versatile material for furniture. It is also often very expensive and entails responsibility for its maintenance. Before you buy leather furniture, or if you already own leather furniture, here are things you should know about cleaning it.
The first of these cleaning tips is understanding that leather is a porous material. It might seem slick and shiny but it’s still made from animal skin. Its treatment makes it more stable and less permeable to liquids but leather can still be soaked. When cleaning leather with any substance, be mindful about the effect this substance will have on the leather. Chlorine, alcohol, oils and caustic substances will deteriorate the leather faster; so can direct sunlight and heat.
Keep leather furniture out of direct sunlight. Too much heat and light can crack the leather over time and discolor it. Positioning the leather relative to the conditions of the room is important if you want your furniture to last long.
Spills are the easiest to clean off leather. This is as long the spill isn’t allowed to sit and allowed to dry. Spills should be wiped off immediately with a clean rag then wiped again with distilled water. Distilled water is the safest to use because it doesn’t have chlorine.
When wiping off spills, be careful not to spread it around. However, there are substances, like oil-based paint and ink, which will leave permanent stains when not properly treated. When this happens, it’s best to consult a professional leather cleaning service.
For regular maintenance, it’s clean your furniture once a week. This does depend on the kind of leather that you have though. For cleaning instructions and the frequency of cleaning, look at the tag attached to your furniture or ask a professional service to give you advice or to clean it for you. But when this is too of a much hassle or too expensive, you can clean it yourself. Before you clean the whole thing, it’s best to perform a test spot.
Find a discrete or hidden spot on the leather and test your cleaning substance on it. You may purchase a polish or cleaner from a store or you can use very mild soaps to clean it. Facial wash, for example, is gentle enough to not harm leather.
After you do the spot test, gently vacuum your furniture with a soft brush attachment. The attachment is important because leather can scratch easily. Then clean the rest of the furniture with the same method that you used to clean the test spot. Wipe in even strokes and always end with a clean dry cloth to pick up excess moisture and residue.