Caring for Leather furniture

Leather sofas and armchairs should exude a timeless grandeur. Think gentlemen’s club chic, or stately home elegance. Even when buying new, a leather sofa is one of the few types of furniture in your home that you actually want to look a little weathered. However, some care and attention is needed to ensure your leather suite grows old gracefully, rather than disgracefully.

Cleaning and maintenance

As with any other piece of furniture, a leather sofa gathers dust. Regularly wiping with a clean, dry cloth is essential, as is vacuuming away any debris that accumulates in the crevices. Word of warning: do not use furniture polish, detergents, cleaning sprays or any other cleaning product not designed for leather. These can prove harmful to the material. As with fabric upholstery, seat, arm and back cushions should be plumped up regularly to maintain their shape.


Unlike fabric upholstery, leather needs to be conditioned regularly. How regularly will depend on the product, but generally it’s once every six to 12 months. There are a number of leather conditioners on the market. They’re usually a creamy consistency and are design to be buffed into the leather. Used regularly, they prevent the leather drying out and cracks developing.

Spills and scratches

One benefit of leather is its hard-wearing properties – good news for Irish families with young children and pets! That said, try and stop the youngster using your new sofa as a trampoline and, if possible, keep Rover off. When the inevitable spillages happen, wipe up immediately with a dry cloth or sponge. Moisten the cloth if necessary, but try and avoid using water. If you do, dry the affected area after and never soak leather in water or soap. Doing so will often create a bigger mess than the one you were attempting to clean. For minor scratches, use a microfiber cloth or chamois and gently buff them until their appearance fades. If a child scribbles on your sofa with pen, treat with a product specifically designed for removing ink. These can be found online or in furniture stores.

Heat and light

Leather furniture and radiators are not happy bedfellows. When positioning your new leather suite, ensure it’s at least 30cm away from radiators. Similarly, do not position a leather sofa where it is directly touching walls or skirting boards as this can stain the walls. Lastly, unless you want to walk around with the blinds drawn, make sure your leather sofa is not in direct sunlight. Ultraviolet rays can cause the leather to dry out and fade.