Clean Leather Like a Pro and Remove Stains from Leather Furniture

Leather furniture comes with a high price tag. If you own such a piece, protect your investment with regular care and use only the appropriate methods to remove stains from leather furniture. Otherwise, you could end up with an unsightly mess. If cleaning off that leather furniture tires you out, call Molly Maid for the rest of your home cleaning needs! Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid.  Click here to request service in your area.

remove stains from leather furniture

Photo Credit: bradleypjohnson on Flickr

General Leather Care Tips

Most leather furniture features a topcoat of protection, which is noted on the tag with a “P.” It has a smooth-grained texture with no nap. With this type of leather, follow these care tips:

  • Vacuum as needed using a soft brush attachment; frequency of vacuuming depends on use, but weekly works well as a rule.
  • Follow with a soft white cloth barely dampened with water, then dry with another soft white cloth; use only white cloths as dye can transfer to leather.
  • Do not use soap of any kind; it can cause color fade and make the material brittle over time.
  • Apply a high-quality commercial conditioner for leather every six to 12 months; again, frequency depends on use, so a couch in the family room may need conditioning more often than a chair in a formal dining room.
  • Do not place this type of furniture in sunlight; it can cause color fade and dry out the leather.
  • Avoid placing pieces near a heat source; it can dry out the material.
  • Be careful what you leave sitting on leather furniture; leather can absorb ink from newspapers, and sharp objects will scratch or even create a hole.
  • Clean up spills and treat stains immediately.

How to Remove Spills and Stains From Leather Furniture

The item you spilled or caused the stain with itself dictates the method for removal. Always test on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather first. That way, if the method does not work or even creates a larger mess, it won’t be easily seen.

Water Stains — If you spill water on your leather furniture, simply wipe it up with a soft white cloth. Water that has been left to dry on the piece may leave behind a stain. This requires you to blend the stain with the surrounding area. You can do so by dampening a soft white cloth with water and wiping outward from the center of the stain. Be gentle as you wipe and use drier areas of the cloth as you work outward to blend the stain.

Grease Stains — If your pizza slice slides onto the couch, or if you get grease on your pants and transfer it to the leather without realizing it, head to the kitchen. Grab a soft white cloth and cornstarch to use as cleaning products. After blotting up as much of the grease as possible with the cloth, shake a layer of cornstarch on the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then vacuum up the cornstarch with your soft brush attachment. The cornstarch should lift the grease, but you may need to use this method a few times to get it all.

Ink Stains — These are among the most difficult of stains to remove from leather. Let’s start with advice not to follow:

  • Do not use alcohol, including hairspray, to remove ink from leather furniture; it can lift the color
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners; they will remove a layer of the leather

If you spill ink, contain the mess by using a soft white cloth to lift as much of it as possible. Then consult a professional to remove any remaining stains. You can easily ruin a nice piece of leather furniture by trying to remove ink yourself.

by Molly Maid