I am often asked the best way to clean leather furniture, especially white and cream lounge suites. While leather should require only occasional cleaning, using the wrong products can dry out and damage leather. However, keeping leather in good condition does not require buying any special products. There are simple, effective formulas for homemade leather conditioners.
All leather furniture, irrespective of just how well it is treated, can simply end up looking aged and rough. Because leather is absorbent it soaks up moisture; body oils, drink and food stains, and imbedded soil should be removed regularly. The areas that normally require constant cleaning are where your arm rests, on the headrest and on the top of seats. Additionally, to keep leather in good condition you need to treat every three to four months with a softener - or moisturiser. Clean and moisturised leather not only looks better, it lasts longer.
What NOT to use on leather
Never use solvent-based products or household cleaning products on leather as they will dry out the leather and result in costly repairs. Household furniture polish contains silicones, which eventually destroy the finish on the leather.
Simply keeping your leather items out of direct sunlight and wiping them regularly with a damp cloth is a great way to avoid needing to use expensive products later on.
What to use on leather furniture
Use a very lightly dampened cloth with a small amount of natural baby soap or moisturizing soap, such as Dove, to gently rub the leather in a circular motion. The point is not to wet the leather too much. Use another lightly dampened cloth to remove any soap residue. After cleaning the leather with the second dampened cloth, wipe with a soft, dry cloth.
To restore suppleness and eliminate dryness, regular conditioning of leather furniture is needed. Make your own leather conditioner by mixing 4 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice with 2 cups water. Mix ingredients together. Only lightly dampen the cloth to rub the conditioner onto the surface in a circular motion, and remember to dry with a soft cloth.
Using a homemade conditioner for regular maintenance will keep your leather products looking great, but if you do accidentally damage your leather, consult a professional immediately.