Cleaning leather is actually relatively simple. Still, many homeowners with leather sofas, bags, car seats, etc. get a bit confused as to what the best methods are for cleaning leather. Leather is a very durable fabric, and if you stay on top of cleaning and protecting leather, it will last many years. So, here is, not only how to clean leather, but also protect it too.
How to protect leather
What leathers do you have in your home?
The type of leather that you have in your home dictates which leather cleaning methods you should use:
Treated leather has a protective coating on it, this is likely to be what a leather sofa or car seats are made from.
Untreated leather and suede doesn’t have this protective coating on it and could be what your leather bag or wallet is made from.
If you have treated leather in your home, saddle soap can be used to clean, freshen up and protect it. However, even the mildest soaps can be harsh on untreated leather. If you aren’t sure whether your leather has a protective coating on it or not, test an unseen area with the cleaning agent you intend to use.
Use a good-quality commercial leather cleaning product
We love natural cleaners and have pages and pages on here showing you how to use natural cleaners for all types of cleaning tasks. However, when it comes to leather, these natural cleaners are not ideal. Lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar can all be very harsh on leather. So, instead of natural cleaners, it is best to buy a good-quality leather cleaning product. This could be a leather cleaning product designed for car seats, for example. Or a leather cleaning product that is designed for delicate leathers like handbags and wallets. It is a good idea to have leather cleaning products that can tackle both protected leather and delicate leather (this typically means buying more than one leather cleaner) as you can always clean your leather whenever it is needed, which brings us nicely to our next point.
Stains on leather
If you spill liquid on any kind of leather, the easiest way to get it out is to act quickly. Start by blotting the leather with a soft cloth and remove as much of the moisture as possible. Then, use warm water to dab the area to remove any more of the liquid. Then use a leather cleaner on another cloth. Don’t spray the cleaner on the leather, spray it on the cloth. Keep dabbing the area until it is clean. Then dab the area again with a dry cloth to ensure it is clean and dry. Don’t rub the leather, as this can leave watermarks.
It is a great idea to keep some ink stain remover on hand for stains on leather. There are ink stain removers specially designed for leather. However, some people use rubbing alcohol on protected leather. This shouldn’t be used on unfinished leather, though. For grease stains, you can use talcum powder with some good results. However, if you get grease on unprotected leather, it typically soaks in and is almost impossible to remove.
See also: How to clean leather sofa
When you are giving your leather a bit of a spruce up, it is always best to vacuum it first. This removes any dirt and dust. The little brush attachment for your vacuum will work great for this. Then, wipe the leather down with the leather cleaning product you have chosen. The cloth you use shouldn’t be soaking wet, but just damp. Focus on the areas where the dust and dirt like to settle and any areas that really need your attention. Do not rub too hard, this could damage the leather. If you are cleaning a leather bag, for example, it is best to dab rather than rub as rubbing even softly can damage very delicate leather. Keep repeating this and washing your cloth until the leather is clean.
For cleaning leather shoes, a shoe brush will be needed as this helps to remove any dirt that has really got into the pores of the leather. For most other leather items, though, a good-quality microfibre cloth is all you need to get a great result. That includes leather jackets, sofas, car seats and handbags.
Dry your leather
After cleaning your leather, it is vital that you dry it out as best as you can. Moisture damages leather very easily. So, grab a clean cloth and dab the areas that you have cleaned. Open a few windows and let your leather dry out for a few hours.
Protecting your leather
Now that your leather is completely dry, you have to protect it. If you don’t protect your leather, it can become brittle and can damage easily, this is when cracks in leather are most prone. A good leather conditioning product isn’t too expensive, and it will make your leather feel supple and look great. It is best to use a wax-based leather conditioning product, and there are different leather conditioners available for delicate leathers and tougher ones too. Choose the right leather conditioners and apply it using a cloth. This should be done in circular motions. Take your time and ensure that you get this conditioner into all of the creases of your leather item. Leave this to dry once again, and your leather will look beautiful once again. Leather conditioning should be done at least once a year. However, if you do spill anything on your leather sofa, car seat or handbag, for example, once you have cleaned it and given it time to dry, you should condition the area again to protect it.
That is everything you need to know about leather cleaning. As long as you stay on top of your leather and condition it regularly, it will look beautiful for years. For more cleaning tips, please explore the Cleaning Express blog further. To find our more about our cleaning services from Cleaning Express, give us a call or send us a message via website or facebook. One of our excellent cleaning team can be with you as soon as tomorrow.