How To Keep Leather Furniture From Cracking

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Leather furniture is a beautiful and sturdy addition to your home. These leather pieces can last for many years. While they are fairly easy to clean, they do require regular maintenance to ensure that the leather stays soft, smooth, and intact. So how can you make sure your leather furniture doesn’t crack over time? We’ve checked with the experts to bring you the answer. 

Here’s a simple four-step cleaning process to keep your leather supple and crack-free:

  • Vacuum your furniture to remove crumbs, dirt, or debris.
  • Wipe down your furniture with a soft, clean cloth and a mild, non-detergent soap or leather cleaner.
  • Dry your furniture with a clean towel or cloth.
  • Gently apply leather conditioner on to all surfaces with a microfiber or other soft cloth.

Performing these procedures two to four times a year will help prevent your leather furniture from cracking and breaking. Moving your leather furniture away from direct sunlight or using blinds and curtains to block out sunlight will also keep your leather from drying out too much.

Keeping your leather furniture in good shape will ensure you can enjoy them for years. To help you, we have explained why leather may crack and described how to maintain it in more detail below. So be sure to keep reading.

A dark blue home interior with old retro leather furniture, How To Keep Leather Furniture From Cracking

What causes leather couches to crack?

Genuine leather is made from animal skin. Like our skin, when leather becomes dried out, it can become brittle and crack. Placing leather items in areas that have direct sunlight or low humidity levels will contribute to the drying out of the material. Installing blinds or curtains to block direct light is helpful.

Conversely, direct moisture (such as water spills that aren’t cleaned up immediately) will stain and weaken the leather. Always wipe up wetness immediately with a clean, dry cloth. You can spot treat stains to keep the coloring of the leather more even and prevent further damage.

Normal use will develop a natural patina that will not damage the materials. Keep in mind that high-quality leather is more durable than bonded leather, but it is also more expensive. No matter what kind of leather you purchase, you will need to clean and condition the leather regularly to help your leather last for years to come.

How to Maintain Leather Furniture

Establishing a cleaning and maintenance routine for your leather furniture will enable you to prevent cracks from ruining them. Furniture experts recommend the following practices:

Vacuum

First, vacuum up dirt and dust along all surfaces and below cushions to prevent particles from being rubbed into the leather surface during wet cleaning. Make sure to use your vacuum’s brush attachment to ensure a more thorough dusting. 

Wipe Down With Cleaner

Use a mild, non-detergent cleanser and a soft cloth to wipe down all leather surfaces. Spot check a small, inconspicuous area of your furniture with the cleaner to make sure it doesn’t discolor the leather. Start from the top and gently massage the cloth across the furniture until you reach the bottom.

Cleanser Suggestions

Castile Soap

Some furniture experts recommend using a solution made of distilled water and mild soap, but others recommend using castile soap because of its gentle cleansing properties.

Find castile soap on Amazon here.

Leather Cleaner

Others say the using a leather cleaner designed specifically for furniture is the safest bet for use with leather home items. 

You can find this highly-rated leather cleaner here at Amazon.

Microfiber Cloths

Most furniture experts also recommend you use soft microfiber cloths to reduce the chance of scratches or harsh rubbing against the leather.

These microfiber cloths at Amazon are both soft and affordable.

Dry Off Your Leather Furniture

Use a fresh, dry soft cloth to wipe off any excess cleanser and dry your furniture from top to bottom. Excess moisture will damage the leather, so you want to make sure to remove any droplets that linger after the cleaning.

Condition The Leather

While not essential, using a leather conditioner is recommended to extend the life of your leather furniture and prevent cracking. Using a clean, soft cloth, apply a small amount of leather conditioner and rub it gently into the leather. Do not use too much; you do not want the leather to remain too moist after the application.

What is the best leather conditioner for couches?

Good leather conditioners add lasting moisture to your leather furniture without changing the natural coloring too much. This is especially important for your sofa because it gets a high volume of use. There are many different products available on the market. Here we have outlined five top-rated leather conditioners that are easy to find.

Leather Honey

Leather Honey is a popular leather conditioner that is made in the USA. It is thick and has a similar consistency as honey, but customers say this product is able to salvage their leather products and protect them from further damage. It may darken the leather slightly, but most customers did not mind the new coloring.

Find Leather Honey at Amazon here.

Bickmore’s Bick 4 Leather Conditioner

Bickmore has been producing this Bick 4 Leather conditioner since the 19th century and has built up a strong reputation for restoring leather to its natural softness. It says it is particularly good at reconditioning old and dry leather. Bick 4 should not darken your leather sofa’s coloring and is easy to apply.

You can get Bickmore’s Bick 4 Leather Conditioner here at Amazon.

Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Customers like the convenient spray bottle of this Weiman leather cleaner and conditioner. They say it makes it easy to apply and wipe off their leather couches. Though it is not as thick as other products, customers say it moisturizes well and gives their furniture a nice sheen.

Find Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner here at Amazon.

Chamberlain’s Leather Milk

Customers rave about Chamberlain’s Leather Milk, saying it makes their leather look like new again. This all-natural cleaner is also made here in the USA and includes an applicator. Just a little goes a long way, so each bottle will last quite a long time.

Find Chamberlain’s Leather Milk here at Amazon.

Chemical Guys Complete Leather Cleaner Kit

This two pack of cleaner and conditioner is an affordable option for your leather care. The Chemical Guys Complete Leather Cleaner Kit comes with a leather cleaner in a convenient spray bottle and a leather conditioner to use after regular cleaning. Many customers say these products brought back the shine to their sofas and made them look almost new.

Get this dual set at Amazon here.

Can you put olive oil on a leather couch?

Many believe using olive oil on a regular basis to condition your leather couch is an easy and affordable way to keep your sofa soft and supple. But leather experts warn that while olive oil will give you the short-term gain of softer leather, it will damage your couch in the long-term.

Oils soak into the leather fibers and may eventually resurface, causing unsightly spots to appear around your couch. Experts recommend using products specifically made to condition leather, such as those mentioned above.

Can you use lotion to moisturize leather?

Since leather is made of animal skin, it makes sense that the lotion we use to moisturize our skin can be used to keep leather soft. Some have had good luck using lotions to condition their leather products, using the lotions they already have at home. But others believe it is too risky to try on your favorite leather items and say you should stick to leather-specific products. 

If you are going to try using lotion on your leather, experts recommend using a lotion that has no scent at all, is non-greasy, and does not have alcohol. This will help minimize the risk of damage. They also say you should always spot check on a small area to make sure it doesn’t stain before working it all over your entire leather goods.

In Closing

To keep your leather soft and supple, you need to keep it out of direct sunlight and establish a cleaning and conditioning regimen. This includes vacuuming up dust and dirt, wiping the surface with a mild cleaner, drying off the cleaner, and finally, applying a leather conditioner from top to bottom. Performing this routine two to four times a year will extend the life of your leather furniture.

To learn more about caring for your leather furniture, check out these articles:

How to Clean a Leather Couch

How to Fix a Large Hole in a Leather Couch

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