How Often Should You Clean And Condition Leather Furniture?

It's hard to say you own leather furniture without making it sound like you're bragging about things. Of course, with great luxury comes great responsibility. Or rather, you will need to be a little more responsible when it comes to maintaining and cleaning your leather furniture if you want it to last a while. But, how often are you going to have to add some care to your furniture? We researched this topic, so you know what to expect. 

Most furniture experts suggest that leather furniture will need to be cleaned once a month in typical circumstances. Conditioning your leather furniture, on the other hand, is fairly different. While you can always use a light conditioner during cleaning, you also should do a deep conditioning treatment twice a year. 

If you want to make sure that your furniture lasts for years and years, you need to know the right maintenance schedule for it. This guide will clue you in on the details. 

Cleaning leather sofa at home, How Often Should You Clean And Condition Leather Furniture?

How To Find Out Your Leather Furniture's Cleaning Schedule

Believe it or not, leather furniture doesn't always "live" by the same guidelines across the board. Though rare, there are some leather furniture brands. Going to an antique specialist will help you learn the best protocol for your furniture if you have antique leather. On the other hand, if you aren't sure whether your leather is a special case, check out what the manufacturers have to say. 

If you don't see any special care instructions, you may need to do a little research yourself...or just stick to the basic guidelines. Either way should be alright. 

A Typical Cleaning Schedule For Leather Furniture

Regardless of the type, certain guidelines seem to go across the board for leather care. Here's what you should expect:

  • Every home requires leather to be deeply conditioned once every six months. 
  • Weekly vacuuming is generally advisable.
  • Deeper cleaning should be done once every four to six weeks.

What Kind Of Leather Furniture Do You Have?

cleaning leather sofa at home with sponge and towels

Part of understanding how to clean and maintain your furniture is knowing what type of leather upholstery you have. You need to be aware of three main types, each with its own perks and pitfalls. Here's the basic gist of what you need to know about each. If you need more information, check out what we have to say about leather couches by leather type here.

Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is also known as unprotected leather, unfinished leather, or pure aniline. It's noted for having a soft, touchable texture that is rarely ever matched. Pull-up leather, nubuck leather, and other similar leathers are offshoots of aniline with light treatment. Almost all aniline leathers will develop a patina over time.

Finished Leather

Finished leather is leather that's been treated with dyes and protectants. It's durable, stain-resistant, and the most common type of leather upholstery that you'll find. Sometimes, it's called dyed aniline, semianiline, or protected leather. This all has to do with the particular upholstery manufacturing method used to make it.

How Do You Clean And Condition A Leather Couch?

This is a million-dollar question, isn't it? Truth be told, it all depends on the couch itself. Most modern leather couches will have a tag that delineates the best possible care for your couch. However, we can give you a general play-by-play below:

  1. Start by removing any items on the couch and giving the entire couch a gentle vacuuming with a brush attachment. 
  2. If you have aniline leather, the best way to keep it clean is to wipe it down with a damp cloth or use a professional-quality leather cleaner approved for aniline leather. 
  3. Though you can clean a treated leather couch with damp cloths, most of them will require a leather cleaner. Virtually any leather cleaner will work here.
  4. To condition your leather couch, use a microfiber rag to gently apply the conditioner. Buff it in, much like you would car wax on a car.

Still need more help on learning how to clean a couch? We have a couch cleaning tutorial for leather couches on our site!

What Is The Difference Between A Leather Cleaner And A Leather Conditioner?

The difference between a leather cleaner and conditioner is fairly similar to the difference between shampoo and conditioner. Leather cleaner is meant to remove oil, grime, and sometimes even stains from your leather couches. It's what you use if you spill wine on your couch. 

Conditioner is there to make your leather supple. It moisturizes and adds a nice, protective coat of oil to your couch as a way of helping protect it from the elements and UV light.

Click here to get leather cleaner and conditioner in a kit.

What Can I Use Instead Of Leather Cleaner?

If you don't have leather cleaner on hand, but need to clean your couch, then your options are limited. DIY choices run the risk of causing problems with your couch and can even void certain couch warranties. If you need to use a substitute cleaner, saddle soap will usually suffice with most leather couches. 

When choosing a saddle soap, it's best to make sure that you have one that's also been cleared for leather and synthetic materials. This ensures that it's gentle enough to handle your leather. (Even if it's a gentle cleanser, it's still smart to do a spot test, just to make sure you don't wreck your couch!)

Click here to get sprayable saddle soap from Amazon.

Can You Make A Homemade Leather Cleaner? 

While some recipes are floating around on the net, they are not good to use. There are tons of horror stories out there that involve homemade leather cleaner. Rather than risk it, it's better to get a more approved option or simply stick to vacuuming and a damp cloth. 

Some people tend to find that using a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water can work well for stain removal, but we do not suggest this. The acidic nature of vinegar can easily dry out more sensitive leather types.

What Is A Good Leather Conditioner For Furniture?

Getting a good batch of leather conditioner is a must if you want to feel the buttery softness of a well-maintained couch. But, which ones are the best on the market? Well, we found a couple that gained rave reviews across the board...

Leather Milk Leather Conditioner

As the name suggests, Leather Milk is all about giving your leather the nutrients it needs to be protected against dry air, heat, and difficult sunlight. This conditioner is primarily made of earth-friendly oils, natural emollients, and nutrients that act as a protective coating. It's highly absorbent and non-greasy, making it ideal for difficult furniture pieces. 

Click here to get Leather Milk from Amazon.

Paul's Pail All Natural Beeswax Leather Conditioner

If you're a fan of solid conditioners, then you might like Paul's Pail. This company makes solid leather conditioners that use beeswax to lock in moisture and protect leather. To use it, you will need to buff the wax on with a soft cloth until the wax is totally absorbed in the leather. While this option requires a little more work than others, it is a wonder at stain prevention. 

Click here to get Paul's Pail from Amazon.

Leather Honey Leather Conditioner

Leather Honey is the standard for professional cleaning crews, not to mention car detailing companies specializing in leather seating. This easy to apply cleaner works on virtually all leather types and helps repel water. The result is a non-greasy, suede-friendly conditioner that becomes a housekeeper's best friend. 

Click here to get Leather Honey from Amazon.


Cleaning leather sofa at home, How Often Should You Clean And Condition Leather Furniture?

We all love the plush comfort of a supple leather couch, but that's not something leather owners should ever take for granted. Leather furniture only stays soft if you take care of it properly. Good leather care requires monthly cleaning and a nice application of deep conditioner at least twice a year. 

Admittedly, it may be a bit of a downer to hear that you will have a couple of extra chores every so often, don't bail on leather. The truth is that it's an investment that can last longer than most other sofa types if treated the right way. So, why hate on it?

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