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Tips on How to Protect Leather Furniture

If you are thinking about bringing a piece of furniture made of leather into your home, make sure you are brining that piece into an environment where it will thrive and remain as beautiful as the first time you saw the furniture.

Keep it Out of the Sun – Leather furniture is not a fan of sitting in direct sunlight. While you may want to make sure it's well-lit so everyone can see it, make sure it's artificial lighting that's shining onto your leather or else you may soon find you have a piece of furniture you don't like. Sunlight can lighten the color of your leather or make it dry out and start to crack.

Is Your Leather a Little Chilly? – Remember, leather is skin, even if it is on a piece of furniture, and may well act accordingly. If the temperature in a room is too hot or cold for your skin, it's also too hot or cold for the leather and may adversely affect it. You should also keep leather away from places where the temperatures may shift quickly, such as in front of the heater or air conditioner.

Maintaining Proper Oil Levels – Leather has oil in it. The trick is maintaining the oil level in leather. When it comes to leather furniture, the best way to do that is to not mess with it. If you alter the oils in leather, you won’t fix it. Leather can’t regenerate natural oils. You should not use oil based soaps and cleaners that may leave too much oil in the piece. You should also not use soap or detergent cleaners, as they could take the oils out of the leather. Losing the oils it needs can speed up the drying and cracking process.

Protect Instead of Trying to Clean – When you first get your leather furniture it's advisable to use a leather protector that will keep spills from seeping into the piece and causing stains. It's much easier to prevent the stains upfront, than to try and clean them up afterwards.

Question & Answers

Is it possible to steam clean leather? Asked By Anonymous
It is possible to steam clean leather. In fact, many professional cleaning services will steam clean leather furniture. However, there is some debate over whether or not it will damage the finish of the leather. Mike K. from WFB
Is it bad to cover a leather sofa, instead of sitting directly on it? What's the best way to preserve the oil in a leather sofa. Asked By Bob
The best way to preserve real leather is to use a leather furniture conditioning product to rub on the leather periodically to keep it subtle.  Just like people's skin, the hide needs to be mosturized.  I would recommend a product that has UV protection to help prevent pre-mature fading. Deanna G. from WFB
How do I prevent sun fading to leather furniture? Are there any products out there? Asked By Anonymous
There are products that you can purchase from local stores, perhaps even hardware stores to protect leather furniture. The best way to help prevent pre-mature fading due to sunlight would be to purchase a leather conditioner that has UV protection. Deanna G. from WFB
I have a chair and ottoman in front of a large window that has dried out. What is the best way to restore it? I think it simply needs an oil treatment, what do you suggest? Asked By Jack
It is best to always treat leather consistanty with a type of leather cleaner with UV protection.  You may want to try to contact a professional leather repair company for the best suggestions on how to restore dried out leather. Deanna G. from WFB
I have a leather couch. I will be storing it in public storage. What is the correct way to store it? What do you suggest to prevent it from getting stained or soiled? Should I cover it with plastic or cloth covers? Asked By Allen
The best way to store leather furniture is completely uncovered as the leather does best when it is allowed to breathe. Do not cover it in plastic as the plastic will encourage the growth of mildew. If the leather must be covered, blankets are probably the best option. Mike K. from WFB
What conditioner do you recommend? Asked By richard
There are several products available for leather conditioning, two highly rated products include European Leather Restorer and Leather CPR.  I would recommend getting a leather conditioner that is specifically for furniture since your indoor furntiure has different needs than leather car seats.  Reading online reviews before making a purchase is a great idea since some conditioners work better on dark leathers or may cause some color bleeding.  Always read and follow the label.  Thank you for your question! Alaina Y. from WFB
Is Linseed oil good for leather furniture? Asked By Judy
The information I've found about Linseed oil is use it to keep leather supple. I've found a simple solution that is suppose to do this; 1 part white vinegar, 2 parts linseed oil in a jar with a lid. Once put together you shake well, you apply to your furniture with a cloth. Let sit for 12 hours and the buff. Ginni S. from WFB
How to protect your leather sofa from cracking? Asked By Anonymous
It really depends on the type of leather that you have. Wendy J. from WFB
I have a new leather sofa only one week old, it was purchased in Australia and made in Malaysia and cost approx $1400 on sale. My problem is that the seat cushions have a matte almost soapy finish to them when they should have a nice lustre, the leather is not bonded or shouldn't be. I have tried the linseed oil mixture but to no avail.Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated Asked By Nicholas
Hi Nicholas, Unfortunately without knowing the exact leather your dealing with I can't really give you much more advice other than what's already in the article. You may want to contact a local furniture repair shop to see if they have any advice from you. If any of our other customers have any insight, please post some advice for Nicholas. Ginni S. from WFB
When I sit on my leather couch I get a color transfer on my colored clothes. Asked By Anonymous
One of the major culprits is denim jeans causing color transfer to white or light colored leather. The dark wash on many jeans rubs into the leather, causing a stain on the surface of the leather. There a number of great articles about this on eHow that also provide some great solutions. You can check them out at Wendy J. from WFB
What natural product can you use to restore the shine to a brown leather sofa? Asked By Anonymous
Before you begin: Always check the manufacturer's label for recommended care, and test cleaning methods on an inconspicuous area first. A gentle plant-based detergent like Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap can effectively clean and condition leather upholstery in one shot. Swirl two drops soap in one quart warm water. Work it into the leather in sections using a well-wrung sponge; don't soak the leather. To restore shine, buff leather surfaces with a soft cloth. Wendy J. from WFB
How do I protect new leather on kitchen bar stools? Asked By Anonymous
It is always recommended to follow the manufacturers care guidelines. It also does depend on the type of leather the seats have been made from. Genuine leather will require a conditioner to keep it clean and supple for years to come. Bonded leather can be wiped with a damp cloth to keep it clean. Wendy J. from WFB
I have several leather chairs and sofas and would like to know what oil I can use to stop the squeaking and rubbing I get when I rock in the rocker. Asked By Chuck Woodworth
Try these websites for different remedies! Caitlin L. from WFB
I placed a woven blanket over the back of my leather sofa and several weeks later, noticed white 'stains' where the blanket was. Mold? After carefully wiping them off with a damp cloth, it has left the areas sticky. Any suggestions? Asked By Jane
Follow this procedure if sections of your leather couch are sticky: Fill a bowl with water, add a few drops of mild dish soap, agitate until bubbles form on top, dip a cloth in these bubbles but avoid getting it too moist, then proceed to rub the sticky leather until gone. Once you have finished this it is a good idea to use a leather conditioner on these spots. some mild dish soap, water, and a soft cloth to wash it away. Once you finish this, it may be a good idea to Kelsey B. from WFB
I have a cat and he likes to lay on our new loveseat leather furniture. I have covered the loveseat with the surefit throw product so he now lays on the throw. Will anything happen to the leather furniture with keeping it covered all the time until I have to uncover it for company or family visiting us? Asked By Anonymous
Covering the leather to protect if from your pet should not cause any issues. Keep in mind though that if your room is exposed to natural sunlight, this could fade any other pieces that are not covered. Wendy J. from WFB
I have 3 cats who jump up on the arms of my sofa and leave little holes , is there anything to put on the leather that matches the leather somewhat, I have all these blankets covering the parts of the sofa that are leather, the rest of it is cloth. Please Help! My new couch looks terrible with blankets hanging over it. Asked By Robyn
Keeping cats away from scratching leather couches can often be a problem. The following are possible solutions to your problem: 1. Provide a scratching post near your sofa, which will deter the cat away from your couch 2.Place double-sided tape over the area where you cat is scratching. Many cats find the feel of double sided tape unpleasant so they will not scratch where it is placed. 3 Try aversion therapy. Spray the cat with water when it starts to scratch the couch. The cat will soon associate the unwanted spray with the couch. 4. Use citrus products in the area of the leather couch. Cats dislike the smell of citrus. They will avoid areas that have been saturated with that scent. If you use a cleaner for the leather sofa, make sure it is citrus-scented. Kelsey B. from WFB
Hi, I got heating vent on celing above my leather sofa, is that ok when I have the heat blowing from that vent on it? Asked By Anonymous
Hi there, the heat could affect your leather sofa so you'll want to watch how hot and how long the air blows on it. It will likely not be much of an issue but if you can try to direct your vent so it's not blowing directly onto the sofa it will help to keep your sofa lasting much longer! Ginni S. from WFB
I have my grandmothers round leather top table, what can I put under the things i have on the table, like a lamp, that doesn't then stick to the top. Should I put glass on top and if so, what would i put between glass and table so the same thing doesn't happen? Asked By c
A lot of people will use table pads to protect leather table tops, as well as coasters for things such as beverages. You can also try a cloth of some sort but be sure it's not rich with dyes as that can leech onto the surface of your leather table. If you want to use a glass top to protect your table you may be able to find furniture pads to put between the glass and the table top. Try checking with a local furniture store, they may have better options for you. Ginni S. from WFB
Concerning the question...and advice...about using Citrus products/sprays in the area of a leather couch, does it damage the leather if the citrus spray is applied directly to the leather? Also, I've read that a person could purchase citrus drops and mix with water; then, spray over the leather. However, I've also read that a person should NEVER APPLY water to leather! Finally, your comment states that "...if you use a cleaner for the leather sofa, make sure it is citrus-scented." Problem is, on another website, the author stated that a person should never disrupt the balance of oils within the leather. Too much...or too little oils...can alter the ideal balance of the leather oil. Therefore, your suggestion of using a citrus-scented cleaner raises a question mark in my mind. Would you please give me a bit more input concerning the issues I've outlined in this section? I really do need some sound advice on this matter. Thanks a Lot. I eagerly await your reply. Asked By Ron Owens
Hi Ron. We always try to give the most accurate information possible based on the research we do for specific articles or questions. However, we are not leather experts. The best product for anyone to use when taking care of their furniture are those recommended by the manufacturer of the product. Many products, especially upholstery, come with care guides. In the case of the citrus-scented advise, it was in the case of keeping pets off the furniture, a deterrent. The first thing you need to do is make sure you know 100% what type of leather your furniture is, as if it's not real leather, the advise will vary. As previously stated, we are not experts on leather care we've just tried to do balanced research to help our customers. I suggest finding out the type of leather first, then see if you have any care instructions. If you don't, and you bought the product locally check with the retailer to see if they know or sell any recommended products. If that doesn't work, it's best to do a lot of research and go with the majority. Without specific recommendations from the manufacturer of your furniture, unfortunately, you have to take your chances. Ginni S. from WFB
I want to buy a cream colored loveseat for my family room but in winter we use a wood burning stove in this room which heats our home what affect or any will this have on my leather sofa??? Asked By Josephine
Exposure to direct sunlight or common heat sources like fireplaces and furnaces can have a significant effect on your leather couch. While it’s a durable and versatile fabric, it is capable of cracking, fading, and peeling (much like dry skin!). It would be important to try to keep the sofa as far away from the stove as possible. You may also want to look into manufacturer recommended products that can help protect the leather. You can find a lot of products in store or by searching online but it would be best to use those that the manufacturer suggests as those have usually been tested on your specific brand of leather. You can often find these recommendation on the care guides that come with your furniture. Ginni S. from WFB
Do you of any process that will clean leather and the stuffing on the cushion of a leather chair? Human urine had spotted through the leather to the cushion inside. Asked By elvalena
Unfortunately I do not know of anything specific. I would try contacting a local dry cleaning company as they would most likely be your best bet. Ginni S. from WFB
Hi. I bought a sofa second hand that had been kept in storage for two years and covered in plastic. Within a day of having the sofa home, the leather started to crack and peel. I am regularly putting conditioner into the leather, but it is still peeling. It is cream calf leather. Is there any way we can save this or is it done? Asked By Tanya
Hi Tanya, I'm not sure if the leather can be saved at the point where it can be saved. My recommendation would be to see if there's a furniture restore or repair place locally where they can assess the issue and give you a better idea if it's possible to save it. It's possible that there was moisture under the plastic, with changing temperatures it could have affected the integrity of the leather. Ginni S. from WFB
Can you use an automotive UV leather protectant on interior furniture? Asked By wah
I don't see why not. Leather is leather, no matter if it's in the car or in your home. If you do decide to use it, the furniture will loose it's warranty if it's applied. Depending on which item you are looking at I can find out from the manufacturer for you to be 100% as some leather from different manufacturers may differ. Jonathan C. from WFB
I have a leather sectional that I keep the seat portion covered with a blanket. Will this absorb the natural oils in the leather and damage it? It is so cold to sit on otherwise. Thanks Asked By Shirley
It is possible that the blanket would absorb the oils, I would probably check the leather once or twice a year to see if it is drying. It may need some leather conditioner, then leave uncovered for a couple days to fully absorb. Savannah S. from WFB
Will I ruin my leather sofa if it's place about 5 feet from the fire place Asked By Anonymous
If the leather is getting warm, the fire can cause it to dry out. In addition, if it gets too warm, it could start a fire. Caitlin L. from WFB
I've noticed some slight bubbling on the surface of my leather ottoman. What causes that? Can it be fixed? Asked By Anonymous
Bubbling in the leather can be caused by a weak spot in the adhesive, too much exposure to sunlight, excess moisture or heat damage. The surest way to deal with damage of this kind is to have a professional, like a furniture upholstery company look at it. There are some DIY solutions as well but only those with experience should attempt them. from WFB
I have a bad back and often lean on a heating pad, I just got some leather furniture and am worried this may damage it? Please help because my back needs the heat. Asked By Tina
Hi Tina. Unfortunately heat will affect the durability of your leather furniture. Even if you were to use a blanket over the heating pad it could affect the long term stability of the leather. Many bonded leathers would be easy to care for but I would suggest not using the heating pad on the couch or put a pillow or some kind of material between the heating pad and your couch to reduce leather's exposure to the heat. Ginni S. from WFB
How do I protect a hand painted leather top coffee table? Asked By Sandra McNeill
Hi there, I have found two websites who may be able to help you a further: Unfortunately, our company does not carry hand painted leather, so a company who specializes in hand painted leather would be your best option! from WFB
I was given a table and chair set that have leather features. I want to put them on my back porch. I live in Arizona, where summer temps go up to 100-plus degrees. How can I protect them from the heat? The table-chairs will be in the shade, but still... Asked By SHB
You could try this: Or: Caitlin L. from WFB
Why would my leather couch change colors why i was wiping it down with mild dishsoap and water. I stopped as soon as I noticed it but now I have two large areas on the seat that are definitely a lighter beige color than the surrounding area! Asked By lynne fritz
Unfortunately we are not leather experts but it may have been a chemical that reacted with your type of leather depending on the soap. Did you purchase from us? Caitlin L. from WFB
We have an outside couch, gets lots of sun and occasional rain ... definitely not ideal for the leather but still nice to have and use. Any recommendations to extend its life (oil, wax, etc ...) ? Asked By Anonymous
You would purchase a sofa cover to protect against the weather. You can take a look here also: Caitlin L. from WFB
I live in Michigan and have a small pub shed. I use a portable propane heater. I would like to get some leathery pub chairs, but might use the shed only once or twice a week in the winter. Would the cold/heat damage the chairs? I'm afraid fabric might get too dusty. Asked By Teri
Hi Teri. There is definitely a risk of cold and heat damage on leather chairs, even if you go with a bonded leather or leatherette. You could treat them with leather conditioning more often and they should last longer but the long term affects would eventually make the leather more brittle. This could result in flaking or discoloration. If you're dead set on the leather look I would recommend Leatherette or Vinyl as you won't be paying as much as real leather so if they do end up with any damage you won't have lost your investment. Fabric would definitely be the safest choice. Ginni S. from WFB
I live in Yuma, Arizona for the winter and wonder how to protect my leather furniture when I am gone for the summer without having to use airconditioning. Asked By Karen
The best way to prevent drying is by cleaning and conditioning about every 6 months to a year, as well as keeping your furniture out of direct sunlight. That would be your best bet before you are leaving before summer. Caitlin L. from WFB
I bought leather dining room chairs to replace wood ones. When I push the new chairs in- after dining, the leather seat (front edge part of the chair) makes contact with a wood "trestle" beam that runs underneath our dining room table. We are worried that the constant brushing/pushing of the leather against the wood beam will eventually wear out the leather. Any suggestions? Asked By Anonymous
Unfortunately my only suggestion would be to not push the chairs in fully or possibly put a seat cover on the leather to separate the pieces. Caitlin L. from WFB
I have a burgundy coloured leather sofa, it has been exchanged once by the company after one year of use. The seat discoloured, My dog and cat get on it so I keep a blanket on it. It is now worse than it ever was. Can I try to dye just the seats where it is discoloured? Asked By Nancy
I would say it would be a good idea! You may have to dye the entire sofa. Here is an example: Caitlin L. from WFB
We have a wooden desk, the top of which contains a leather insert. We are thinking of purchasing a piece of tempered glass to protect the desk but have heard two conflicting stories. One story says the desk should be protected with glass. The other says the glass might dry out the leather, or possibly trap moisture under the glass. We're not sure what to do. Asked By Peter
Hi Pete, the supplier has advised the leather insert has a polyurathane coating and is already protected ,if you would like to add a piece of tempered glass for additonal protection it will not affect the product. Warm regards, Vicky Sheppard Customer Service Associate Wholesale Furniture Brokers & 1-800-971-4493 from WFB
I have a leather dining table. I had a custom glass top made to prevent scratches. Will the glass harm to leather though Asked By Anonymous
Hi, I have spoken to the supplier and they have advised that the leather already has a polyurethane coating on it to protect the leather but if you want to protect it additionally by covering with a piece of tempered glass it will not cause any further issue. Thank you, Vicky Sheppard Customer Service Associate Wholesale Furniture Brokers & 1-800-971-4493 from WFB
Leather recliner makes noise from leather rubbing. What can I do to stop the noise? Will the leather get damaged? Asked By Doris
Some leathers are saddle hides or burnished leather and when they friction rub they will 'squeak'. That won't go away and can't be corrected, however you can use some talc powder and put it in the friction areas (careful its white!) and that will calm the noise down considerably. All burnished and hand-antiqued leathers will be noisy, as well as Equestrian and most of the pull up hides. You could also, contact someone in your area who does upholstery to see if there is something they can do. from WFB
Hi, i have a leather sofa that when i use a blanket or certain clothes it stick to it. It dries it up and i have to re-oil it. Is their any material i can use to cover the sofa when i sit on it that won't stick to it and ruin the sofa? Asked By Krissy
Hi Krissy, You can try, using a soft brush then saddle soap to remove dirt, grime and dust. To restore suppleness to the fibres, use an equestrian product such as a leather cream. Don't use soap or detergent, no matter how mild. We can use mild soap on our skin because our skin is still alive and will replace the oils that soap washes off, but a leather sofa doesn't have that ability. It will eventually become brittle, dry and damaged. Why not wash with soap and then apply oil? Because the oil will stain the leather. Avoid placing leather furniture in direct sunlight. Virtually nothing is safe for long in the light and heat of the sun. Avoid extreme temperatures that would cause leather to dry and crack. If you're too cold or too hot in a room, so is the leather. Don't place leather next to air conditioners or radiators. from WFB

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