How to Care for Leather Furniture at Home

living room leather furniture couch and chairs

Leather furniture is versatile to almost any interior design style and absolutely timeless. While it’s not super high maintenance, it does require a leather furniture care routine to stay in good shape. It pays off, however, as taking good care of your leather furniture will see it practically last forever!

If you’re considering leather furniture like a zero gravity chair, couch, or loveseat, keep reading our guide on how to care for leather furniture at home and protect your new favorite additions!

Tips for Leather Furniture Care

Leather furniture care is all about keeping your furniture looking its best and protecting your investment. When taken care of properly, leather furniture has incredible durability and longevity. With advancements in faux leather alternatives we’re now seeing the competitive durability and quality in vegan leather furniture, as well. This presents a great option for those looking for cruelty-free home decor with the same versatility and timelessness that fits into many different interior design styles.

Whether you’re looking at a couch, loveseat, or even a leather zero gravity chair, learning how to care for leather furniture should include:

  • Learning what type of leather upholstery your furniture is made from
  • Choosing the right cleaning materials for leather furniture
  • Being smart when arranging your leather furniture

Determine What Type of Leather Upholstery Your Furniture Is

The first step to learning how to care for leather furniture at home is determining what type of leather upholstery your furniture is made from. The main types of leather upholstery for furniture is aniline, semi-aniline, and pigmented leather.

Aniline leather is natural leather that has been dyed through the hide itself without a protective top layer (other than maybe an anti-dust treatment). This is typically the most expensive of the leather furniture types, but also the most maintenance. While aniline leather furniture is extremely durable and will develop a unique patina over time, it is also the most easily stained.

Semi-aniline and pigmented leather are more similar. Both have a protective polymer coating over top of the dyed leather hide. Semi-aniline leather furniture has a thinner protective layer, leaving it with more uniqueness like its aniline counterpart but more resistant to staining. Pigmented leather, also sometimes called protected leather, has a thicker protective polymer. This makes it the most stain resistant and durable of the trio, but also means there can be quality differentiations. Some high quality pigmented leather furniture will look more natural but lower quality pieces may appear less so.

Choose the Right Cleaning Materials for Leather Furniture

Leather furniture care is also very dependent on choosing the right cleaning materials. While you can typically get away with simple dusting or a quick pass with a handheld vacuum to remove dust and dirt, you’ll want to periodically do a deeper cleaning.

Cleaning leather furniture more deeply is usually as simple as using a soap and water mixture. It’s important to use a non-detergent soap and to wipe it right away. After a deep clean, you’ll want to reapply leather moisturizer with UV protection to keep your leather furniture soft and supple. Every 6-12 months, do a deep condition cleaning followed by a really good moisturizer for the best results. 

Arrange Leather Living Room Furniture Wisely

Part of leather furniture care is more than the actual cleaning itself, but arranging your furniture in a way to protect it from the elements. For example, having leather family room furniture in direct sunlight can cause the natural oils to dry up more quickly, putting your furniture at risk for cracking or discoloration. Since your furniture will likely have some UV exposure, it’s important to keep up a monthly moisturizing routine with periodic deep cleans. This will rehydrate the leather, keeping it soft and comfortable.

Knowing how you want to arrange your leather furniture can greatly influence which pieces you choose. While you might immediately think about a large couch, having leather zero gravity chairs gives you more versatility to arrange however you like to adorn the room and protect your investment. Add in the health benefits of zero gravity chairs and it makes them a no brainer when it comes to choosing chairs for your living room, a relaxing bedroom makeover, or home office setup!

Cleaning Real Leather Furniture

Part of leather furniture care is learning how to clean it properly. Since real leather is animal hide and not a synthetic material, it needs to be maintained to stay in good condition. Any spills should be wiped up immediately to avoid staining or damaging the leather upholstery.

Your steps to cleaning leather furniture are:

  1. Gather your cleaning materials: soap, water, washcloth, towel, and moisturizer
  2. Dampen a washcloth with a non-detergent soap and water mixture and wipe gently
  3. Completely and thoroughly dry your leather furniture with a clean towel
  4. Apply leather moisturizing cream with UV protection to keep it safe and soft

This simple routine is all it takes to care for leather furniture at home! It might take slightly more effort than a traditional fabric couch, but the durability and timeless look of leather makes it all worth it! 

Differences in How to Care for Faux Leather Furniture

While real leather was once an animal, faux leather is most commonly made from synthetic materials. In recent years, however, natural materials such as fruit have even been used to create vegan leather alternatives!

One of the benefits of faux leather chairs is that they’re upholstery is typically synthetic and requires much less maintenance than real leather counterparts. You’ll still want to use a mild soap and water mixture periodically between dusting and vacuuming. As a synthetic material, there is less risk of UV exposure for faux leather furniture. While the sun can discolor any fabric, there are no natural oils to dry up in vegan leather.

Another of the differences between synthetic hide/faux leather vs leather is you won’t need a leather moisturizer to care for faux leather furniture. Even so, some pieces will recommend applying a small amount of polish after cleaning to keep it looking its best.

Your leather furniture is an investment and can last an immensely long time! Learning how to care for leather furniture at home is crucial to keeping it in good shape. Whether you’re picking a couch or choosing a zero gravity chair, always check with the manufacturer to see the best care tips for your new addition.

Unsure about committing to leather furniture? Check out these 5 alternatives to leather furniture and decor!