How To Clean Bonded Leather Sofa

Looking to buy a new bonded leather sofa but not sure how to take care of it? Ever wonder how bonded leather compares to genuine leather? We've researched the answers to these questions for you. This article will explain what bonded leather is and how to properly clean and care for it. 

Here are the steps to clean a bonded leather sofa:

  1. Remove trash and debris
  2. Vacuum the sofa
  3. Decide on a cleaning agent
  4. Apply a mild cleaner
  5. Dry the sofa
  6. Condition the sofa

If you want your sofa to last for several years to come, it's best to have a plan for regular cleaning and maintenance. It's important to remember that bonded leather is less durable than regular leather, so its maintenance should be a top priority. Continue reading to learn more about the steps to keep it clean.

A brown leather sofa in the room, How To Clean Bonded Leather Sofa

Steps To Clean A Bonded Leather Sofa

Modern living room with leather sofa and armchair

Bonded leather is constructed from the scraps of genuine leather. The scraps are blended, pressed into a sheet, and then coated with polyurethane to seal them and give them the appearance of a genuine leather grain. It is important to clean and maintain bonded leather since it is not as durable as genuine leather. If it is not properly cared for, it could crack, peel, and age prematurely.
Things you'll need:
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Mild dish soap
  • Leather polish
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Clean white cloths
  • Leather conditioner
  • Rubbing alcohol

Now that you know of all the necessary items, let's break down each step for cleaning your bonded leather sofa. 

1. Remove trash and debris

The first thing to do before cleaning your bonded leather sofa is to take off the cushions and remove any objects or debris that may have fallen beneath it. This includes coins, wrappers, pieces of food, and personal items. It's important to remove these large items before proceeding with a vacuum--you don't want to clog up the hose.

Note: It's always a good idea to confirm that your leather furniture is in fact bonded leather before applying any cleaning method. To do this, you can look over your care guide or contact the retailer where you purchased the furniture.

2. Vacuum the sofa

After you have removed all large pieces of tubing, take an upholstery vacuum and run it over the sofa, starting on the left side and working your way to the right. If you don't have an upholstery vacuum, simply use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum.

If there is a brush on your attachment, be sure to gently glide it over the leather as not to scratch it. Pay special attention to the crevice where the seating of the couch meets the back of the couch, as this is a common area for debris accumulation. 


If your leather sofa has a significant amount of dust on it (which can happen when it is not used in a few weeks), take a feather duster or soft white cloth and run it over the surface of the leather. This will keep the dust from turning into wet dirt once you begin cleaning the leather.

3. Decide on a cleaning agent

You can typically use a leather cleaner made for genuine leather on bonded leather as well. However, if you haven't purchased cleaner for your bonded leather sofa just yet, you can also create your own homemade solution. To create your own solution, combine one-fourth of a cup of any mild dish soap or laundry detergent with a quart of warm water in a bowl.

Click here to see this Palmolive dish soap on Amazon.

Swish the soap or detergent around with your hand to make sure that it is diluted. If you want to be on the super-safe side, you can use distilled water as opposed to tap or spring water. Distilled water is free from contaminants (such as chlorine) and minerals that may cause spotting on your bonded leather over time.

4. Apply a mild cleaner

After you have decided on your cleaner, take a white rag or microfiber cloth and wipe down your bonded leather sofa. Start with the back and sides of the sofa and do the seating area last. Make sure that the rag is moist, but be sure to wring it out so that it doesn't drip water on the sofa. 

As you cover each section of the sofa, pay special attention to the areas around the seams and buttons where dirt and debris may accumulate. Next, take a second cloth and dip it in warm water and use it to wipe down the sofa to remove any soap residue. 

Note: Before applying any cleaning solution to your furniture for the first time, do a small spot test on an inconspicuous area of the furniture to ensure that the agent will not damage the bonded leather piece. Allow the solution to dry for a few hours to make sure that it does not impact its color.

5. Dry the sofa

Once you are certain that all of the soap is removed from the sofa, use another microfiber cloth or rag to dry the sofa. Pay special attention to the seating and the corners of the sofa.

Lastly, let the sofa dry in an area where there is a limited amount of natural light. So for example, if the sofa is located near a window facing west or south, be sure to close the curtains or blinds so that it does not receive any strong direct sunlight.

Click here to see these microfiber cloths on Amazon.

6. Condition the sofa

It's also a good idea to condition your bonded leather sofa one or two times a year. The conditioner will help keep the material soft, pliable, and durable. You can find quality leather conditioners online or at any furniture or home improvement store.

Always use a clean white rag when buffing the conditioner into the bonded leather so that it does not leave any application marks on it. Once applied, the conditioner treatment should last for about 4-6 months.

Click here to see this leather conditioner on Amazon.

Tips For Maintaining Bonded Leather Sofas

Similar to genuine leather, the better you care for your bonded leather sofa, the greater the chances that it will last longer. Let's take a look at a few ways to maintain these sofas.

Keep it away from direct sunlight

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to allow your bonded leather sofa to become exposed to long periods of direct sunlight. This can quickly cause the color of the sofa to fade and the material to peel and crack. Of course, the quickest solution would simply be to just move the furniture to a new location in your home. However, you can also simply close the window curtains or cover the furniture.

Clean regularly

If the sofa is used frequently, it will most certainly accumulate dirt, debris, and maybe even a stain or two. Regular cleaning can help to prevent an accumulation of these items, as they can lead to premature aging of the sofa. Try to give your bonded leather sofa a light cleaning a few times a month either with a vacuum or a white dry cloth. Pay special attention to the areas beneath the seating.

Use leather conditioners

Another way to effectively maintain your sofa is to use a quality leather conditioner once or twice a year. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to apply the conditioner, and the results can last for months. Be sure that you use a soft cloth on the bonded leather, as not to scratch its surface. Leather conditioners usually come in small bottles, but a little can go a long way.

Do not rub spills and stains

If you happen to stain your leather or spill any beverages on it, be sure to use a white cloth to block them up immediately. The faster you remove the stain, the less likely it is to become permanent. Also, always spot test in a commercial or homemade stain-removing solution before applying it to the entire sofa.

Keep bonded leather away from heat sources

It's best to keep these sofas at least 2-3 feet away from heat sources including radiators, stoves, and space heaters. They can permanently damage the leather.

Is bonded leather easy to clean?

Yes, bonded leather is typically regarded as a material that's fairly easy to clean. It can usually be cleaned with an upholstery vacuum or mild soapy water.

Can you use leather cleaner on bonded leather? 

You can typically use leather cleaner on bonded leather, depending on the product. It's best to check the care guide for your leather before applying any new product. You can also do a spot test to be on the safe side.

How often should you clean your leather sofa?

If you use your sofa throughout the week, a weekly cleaning will suffice. If not, every 2 to 4 weeks should be enough.

How do you get stains out of bonded leather (and/or prevent stains)?

The best way to prevent stains on your leather sofa is to use caution when drinking beverages and consuming food on the sofa. The most commonly used solution to quickly get rid of stains is to mix equal parts of water with rubbing alcohol and carefully blot the stain with a soft white soft.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has been helpful for you to learn about the best methods to clean and maintain a bonded leather sofa. Good luck!

Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

How To Fix A Large Hole In A Leather Couch

7 Good Rug Colors For A Black Leather Couch

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