how to disinfect leather

How to Disinfect a Leather Couch (Without Causing Damage)

In Cleaning, Furniture by Jamie

Choosing the correct products to clean oand disinfect leather can be quite frustrating and stressful. This guide will help educate you on some of the key basics about owning a leather couch or leather products in your home.

The best way to disinfect leather is to first clean the leather with a mix of mild dish soap and water, next use professional leather cleaners and conditions to properly preserve the leather to ensure a long life. Avoid using alcohol, vinegar, nail polish remover, and disinfectant wipes. 

Cleaning and conditioning is an important factor when purchasing such unique pieces and maintaining the integrity of those products are crucial. There are several amazing cleaning products listed in this article that will help disinfect your leather couch properly so you don’t cause any damage.

How Improper Leather Cleaning Causes Serious Damages

There are certain products that are good for cleaning leather items, but there are many cleaning/disinfecting techniques being mentioned online that may seem like a good option but you should completely avoid using them on leather furniture.

Popular household products people choose but should not use on leather are acetone (nail polish remover), alcohol (such as benzoyl peroxide), disinfectant wipes, vinegar, Windex, bleach, lemon, and many other types of cleaners that may contain alcohol.

Acetone and alcohol are so disruptive and harsh for leather. They don’t allow for leather integrity in the long run. Cleaning supplies, disinfectant wipes, and other sorts of one-time use also usually contain some alcohol and can also be very damaging to your leather furniture piece. It’s important to stick to products that allow for the integrity of your leather in order to ensure it stays in great quality over time AND also looks good in the present.

Vinegar is a great disinfectant for many things, but when it comes to leather it can be damaging. Let us take a look at the pH scale, where the lower the number the more acidic the substance. The pH of leather is about 5, while vinegar is about 2-3. If you were to use vinegar directly on leather it would eat it away no question. Even if vinegar is diluted the impact may not be as severe or quick, but instead, it will still permanently weaken the leather until it eventually cracks over time.

How to Disinfect a Leather Couch Like A Pro

Can You Disinfect a Leather Couch with Soap and Water?

Yes, you can disinfect your couch with just soap and water. It is important to use a mild soap and dilute it properly. Use just a drop of mild dish soap, mix it into a bowl of warm water. Using a soft microfiber cloth, dip it into the bowl and wring out the cloth. Using the damp rag wipe and clean the leather surface. This is a simple and effective way to clean and disinfect your leather furniture at home.

Using this method first is recommended, once completely dry you can use the cleaning products below for an even better clean.

Feel free to read more on cleaning leather by reading our article “Can You Clean Leather Furniture with Soap and Water?”. It holds a lot more detail on the subject!

Best Products for Cleaning Leather?

Cleaning leather comes down to choosing the correct products. After using soap and water for a good disinfecting, we can use proper leather cleaners that also clean the leather surface but more importantly preserve it for a longer life. We have researched and found the best options for you so you don’t have to! Take a look at the best cleaners below:

FibreNew Cleaner

Squeeze some FiberNew product directly onto a cloth (preferably lint-free); use circular motions to clean areas. Use a different dry towel to dry off the area and allow drying. Click the link below for extra clarification on cleaning with this product. Watch the video below for a better look!

Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey

See on Amazon

You’ll need an empty spray bottle – fill up ~1/2 with water and mix with cleaner; spray one section at a time directly onto the leather product. Use a microfiber or lint-free towel. Make sure it is completely dry. The next step use a brand new clean microfiber towel and pour a small amount of conditioning product onto the towel. Apply to the couch using circular motions. This product is natural so you do not need gloves!

Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

See on Amazon

Start with a microfiber cloth/ applicator and spray the Gold Class directly onto the towel; gently clean in circular motions. It is that simple!

There are so many products on the market that are great for leather cleaning, these are just a few listed above that had great reviews by customers and swear by the purity of it. Always do your research prior to purchasing and a patch test before applying the product to the entire leather product.

Can Ventilating a Room Help Keep Your Leather Clean?

Of course, ventilation is extremely important for your leather furniture. Just think about it, if your leather is damp and can’t air out it can potentially grow mold, yes mold. It is quite common actually, I had a friend place his car in storage with no ventilation. The leather seats grew mold and it was just gross.

Similarly to furniture, if you let a leather sofa sit in a damp area with no proper ventilation you can get mold. Open the windows, get a dehumidifier, do what you need to do!

Also, after a cleaning, your leather may be damp. Make sure it dries before you place the cushions back in place. If the damp areas get trapped you can cause mold too.

Lastly, just having better airflow in your home is better in general to reduce germs on and around your furniture. Make sure your living space is ventilated.

Too Scared You’ll Do Damage? Call a Local Leather Technician

There are plenty of leather cleaning services available if you are too afraid you’ll damage your leather couch or even not sure of what products to use. If you do a local search on google, there are so many services available that you can promptly call and ask any type of questions you may.

Remember, these are professionals who have experience cleaning, repairing, and conditioning many types of leather products. It wouldn’t hurt to ask! Most professional services often offer a guarantee on protecting your product and you have some sort of insurance on having the quality of your couch stay in perfect condition.

These services can range from a variety of expensive to affordable, but it all depends on the reviews and doing your research in the servicing company prior to booking an appointment.

Other Things to Consider About Leather Furniture

Body Fluids and Leather

There are a few things that should always be avoided in order to preserve the quality of leather. First and foremost, cleaning your leather furniture at least once weekly is a must. Many people don’t realize the long-term damage that can occur just from body sweat and spills.

Body grease, especially men who sweat a lot more than women, can disintegrate the quality in the specific areas that men are seated. Over time, seeing this disintegration of leather can be quite visible.

Sunlight and UV Rays

Another important factor is protecting from direct sunlight or excessive light. The color often fades faster if directly sitting in extreme heat caused by direct sunlight or in an area with multiple bright lights.

For example, a studio with multiple larger lights can be harmful to the leather long-term. Some leathers fade faster than others; it all depends on the texture and quality of the leather itself to determine how long it will last.

Obviously, if you pay a lot more money for something very high-end, it should last longer than something that might not be pure leather material or mixed. Leather almost always changes in texture over time – some become hard or stiff, while others start to tear with maximal usage. The ultimate goal is to preserve the leather for as long as possible and keep your furniture looking like it was freshly bought.

Disinfecting Leather Furniture FAQs

Can you use baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, Lysol or Clorox wipes on a leather couch?

Do not utilize any types of wipes for cleaning your leather product. Wipes and regular cleaning items contain alcohol which is not good for the integrity of the leather couch. It can dry or harden the leather, resulting in cracking leather long-term.

How to disinfect a faux leather couch?

A faux leather couch can be disinfetced with just simple soap and water. Make sure to thoroughly dry the product prior to conditioning with any products.

Should I condition my leather couch after disinfecting it?

Conditioning is very important for the long-term integrity of your leather product. Use specific products that will help with also retaining colors. Conditioning every 6-12 months is recommended (twice a year).

What Other Products Should I Not Use to Sanitize or Clean my Leather Couch?

Avoid cleaning leather furniture with solvents, regular household cleaning supplies, oils, and acetone types.

How often do I need to clean my couch or get it professionally conditioned?

Cleaning every couple of months if you have children is a necessity. Professional cleaning and conditioning should be done at least twice a year to maintain the quality of leather products. If the leather furniture is in a public space, monthly disinfecting is recommended.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.