Can You Clean Leather Furniture with Soap and Water?

With leather furniture, sometimes unfortunate accidents happen that require drastic measures to prevent or repair permanent damage. Fortunately, those mishaps are rare. So, what do we do to give our leather furniture a quick clean-up for general dirt and debris or a minor spill? Is there a simple solution to a minor task, like using soap and water?

The answer is yes! You can clean your leather furniture with soap and water with positive results and little risk. All you need is a mild liquid soap, some warm water, and a couple of soft, white cloths.

If your leather couch is in need of a quick clean, and you’re looking to try the soap-and-water technique, here’s some advice to help with your endeavors, plus some alternative cleaning methods. Or if you are looking to clean pet urine from leather furniture, read more here!

How Do I Clean Leather with Soap and Water?

First, it’s best to vacuum the furniture before cleaning, just to pick up the larger crumbs. Then, if you’re using a mild liquid detergent, simply add a teaspoon into a bowl of warm water and mix it in. Lightly dampen a soft, white cloth in the soapy water and wipe down the entire piece of furniture. To remove any excess soap, use another soft, white cloth that’s damp with soap-free water and give the furniture piece another go-over. Once free of dirt and soap, promptly dry everything with another soft cloth.

If you have a tough spot that doesn’t seem to require heavier products, you can put a couple of drops of the liquid soap directly on the spot and brush it out with the damp cloth, and then wipe away the suds and dry.

Will Soap and Water Ruin Leather?

It’s pretty hard to ruin leather by cleaning it with soap and water. As long as you use a mild soap and dry the leather properly at the end, you won’t have anything to worry about.

What Soaps Can I Use on Leather?

When it comes to which soap to use, soft-and-mild is the key. A gentle dish detergent, laundry detergent, or hand soap will do the trick. Dawn is the go-to choice. You can also use Dove or Ivory body soap.

Avoid using any soap that comes with too many ingredients or fragrances. The more the soap is made with, the more you run the risk of making things worse.

Can You Clean Fake Leather with Soap and Water?

Same as with real leather (only with less anxiety), fake leather can be cleaned with a basic soap-and-water solution. Same process, same simplicity. Be sure to use a mild soap and to dry-up well at the end!

Other Household Products That Can Be Used to Clean Leather? 

A mix of water and vinegar is the next best option for cleaning your leather furniture. It’s safe, easy, and chemical free. If you have a heavier clean-up to handle, this method is more effective than soap and water.

For food grease and other types of mild oil stains, sprinkle some baking soda on the spot and let it sit for few hours before wiping it up. Don’t forget the old cold-treatment. If you have chewing gum or candle wax stuck to your leather sofa, rest an icepack on the mess until it’s good and cold, and then pick it away.

Household Products That Are Best NOT to Use

There are other home remedies that are often claimed as safe and effective for cleaning leather furniture. However, these clever solutions have their fair share of risks.

A quick scrub with alcohol is a common suggestion. While you might be able to get away with this method, you run the risk of discoloration. Applying olive oil is another suggestion you might come across. The problem with oil is that it can leave unsightly oil spots if it’s not applied evenly. Also, oil is absorbed into the leather and cause the leather to break down at a faster rate.

Final Thoughts

Considering the risks involved in using clever home remedies to clean your leather furniture, a simple scrub with water and soap turns out to be one of the best options. While it’s only effective for minor messes, you can rest assured that it’ll leave your furniture in good shape. However, as with any cleaning method, be sure to do a quick test in an inconspicuous spot before jumping right in.