leather sofa care guide with the iconica san Antonioleather sofa care guide with the iconica san Antonio

How to clean and care for your leather sofa

Looking to find out how to clean a leather sofa? Or seeking leather sofa care tips, to ensure yours stays looking good for years to come? Either way - you’re in the right place!

This guide looks at advice that applies specifically to the leather on our sofas, chairs and footstools - we also recommend checking out our Upholstery Care Guide, for key advice on safety and care that keep your sofa fillings looking great too.

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leather sofa care guide with the french connection hackney sofa

Leather sofa care tips

We know you want to keep your new leather sofa, chair or footstool in tip-top condition for as long as possible - so here’s our best advice to help you care for it!

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Direct sunlight can cause colours to fade, ageing your sofa before its time - so to help it keep its youthful looks for longer, we recommend placing it out of direct sunlight. For more tips on how you can reduce the effects of UV damage on your sofa, check out our Upholstery Care Guide.

As soon as your new sofa arrives, we recommend using a leather protector or conditioner. As it's new it won't need to be cleaned, but a great preventative measure against staining and general soiling is to use a leather protector straight away.

Don’t give stains the chance to settle in - clean up any spills or splashes immediately. Preventing a stain is much easier than removing one!

Give your sofa a gentle wipe down with a dry cloth to remove dust and debris, paying particular attention to anywhere dirt might collect - under the cushions, along seams, and in any creases around the arms. We don’t recommend vacuuming a leather sofa as it can leave marks on the leather upholstery. While water-based cleaning is not suitable for natural leathers, faux leathers can often be cleaned with a damp cloth, but check the care instructions that came with your particular sofa.

Even sturdy leather sofas can still be sensitive to substances that aren’t meant for them, so steer clear of any cleaning products that haven’t been created specifically with leather in mind. Much in the same way they do to our skin, household multi-purpose sprays can strip away leather’s natural oils, resulting in it drying out, fading, and even cracking over time. Even most leather cleaning wipes are designed for use on coated leathers, so if you have a natural or uncoated leather sofa, these are likely unsuitable.

Just like spills, excessive water or other liquid solutions on your sofa can damage the leather finish. If leather is left very wet, it can lose its natural suppleness. As the water evaporates, it will start to draw out the natural oils contained within the leather, leaving it brittle and stiff. Using water can also cause staining, especially on our Natural leathers. Using a damp cloth is fine on our Cherish leathers, but you should avoid water completely with Natural leathers - and definitely don’t pour any water directly on your sofa when cleaning.

Our specially designed DFS Leather Care Kits include stain removal wipes, as well as leather treatments that help prolong the life of your leather sofa. Follow the treatment instructions in the kit every few months, and your leather sofa will thank you! Add your DFS Leather Care Kit at checkout or purchase refills in store or via our official DFS eBay Outlet.

How to clean a leather sofa

Leather sofas and chairs are easy to clean - and regular maintenance will prolong the life of your sofa, letting you enjoy it for many years. Watch the video below for a short guide on how to clean your leather sofa.

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• Clean, dry, light coloured cloth

• Soft leather cleaning brush or sponge

• Soft cloth dampened with clean water (Cherish leathers only - not suitable for natural leathers)

• DFS Natural Leather or Cherish Leather Care Kits

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• Damp cloths on Natural, aniline or semi aniline leather

• Nail varnish remover and cleaners not specifically designed to be used on leathers

• Bleach or harsh chemicals

• Hard plastic vacuum nozzles, stiff brushes, sponges or scourers

• General household spray cleaners or wipes, baby wipes (including water wipes)

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DFS Leather Care Kits

To help you look after your sofa and keep it looking great, we’ve developed a range of stain removal and protection kits specially designed to work with different types of leathers - taking the guesswork out of what products to use on your sofa.

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leather sofa care guide with the cherish care kit

Cherish Leather Care Kit

Our Cherish leather sofas have a painted surface that makes them extra resilient to everyday wear and tear. The DFS Cherish Leather Care Kit is specially designed to prolong the life of protected and coated leather upholstery. Includes easy-to-use stain remover wipes, as well as leather protection sachets to keep your Cherish leather sofa protected, cared for and looking great.

To keep your sofa in tip-top condition, add your Cherish leather care kit at checkout!

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leather sofa care guide with the natural care kit

Natural Leather Care Kit

The beauty of natural leather sofas is that each one looks a little bit different. Natural leather sofas don’t have the protective painted layer that Cherish leather sofas do, so our DFS Natural Leather Care Kit is specially designed to prolong the life of leather upholstery without a protective finish. Includes easy-to-use stain remover wipes, as well as leather protection sachets to keep your Natural leather sofa protected, cared for and looking great.

To keep your sofa in tip-top condition, add your Natural leather care kit at checkout!

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How do I know if a cleaning product is safe to use on my leather sofa?

If you’re considering a more thorough deep clean of your sofa, you might be wondering what cleaning products are the best to use. We’ll always recommend our DFS Leather Care Kits first for stain lifting or general cleaning and care, but we know some customers like to look for different products for an occasional deep clean. Here’s some tips to help you avoid products that may damage the finish of your sofa…

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Different types of leather have different requirements when it comes to cleaning. Here at DFS, we offer two main groups of leather - our Cherish leathers, which have protective coatings or finishes to increase their durability; and Natural leathers, which do not have protective finishes applied. Both are brilliant for different reasons, and the best choice for you will depend on your lifestyle and personal preferences. However, it’s important to know which yours is, so you can ensure you are caring for it correctly.

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Make sure the product you’re planning to use specifically states it’s for use on leather. If yours is a Cherish leather sofa, look for a cleaner that states it’s for use on protected, pigmented or topcoat leather. Owners of Natural leather sofas should look for confirmation that your chosen cleaner is safe for aniline or semi-aniline leathers. Look for products from reputable brands, which come with detailed instructions or product information - and check out any customer reviews too.

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Even with all those checks above, we don’t recommend starting your cleaning right in the middle of a seat cushion! Pick an inconspicuous area - perhaps the back, or on a piece of leather that’s usually hidden - to test out your cleaner before applying it all over your leather sofa. It’s a good idea to clean your test area and then leave for at least 24 hours, in case the product does have any ill effects that only show up later.

Please note that we don’t outright recommend any third party leather cleaners for our sofas - formulas change often, so we wouldn’t want to test and recommend a particular product, only for it to become unsuitable when a manufacturer changes it. We’ll always recommend you stick to our DFS Leather Care Kits, but we know some customers like to test out other products too! You should know, however, that if you use a third party cleaning product on your sofa, you do so at your own risk - we can’t take responsibility for any damage, and it may invalidate your warranty.

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Get extra peace of mind with our Sofacare Protection Plans

Want reassurance your new fabric sofa will stay looking great? Our Sofacare Protection Plans offer just that! They cover your sofa against accidental damage, like spills, stains, rips and pet scratches; extend motion furniture warranties from 2 to 5 years; and ensure any damage is repaired or replaced - for a full 5 years from the day your sofa is delivered. There’s no annual renewals or premiums to pay - just a one-off payment at checkout.

Leather sofa FAQs

We recommend wiping your sofa down once a week with a soft, dry cloth, to keep dust and dirt from settling in, including cleaning under the cushions. This should be enough to keep everyday dust and dirt at bay - for any specific spills or stains, we recommend our DFS Leather Care Kits, which come with stain removal wipes.

You don’t need an entire arsenal of cleaning products to care for your leather sofa! We simply recommend the DFS Leather Care Kit that matches your type of leather sofa, a soft cloth, and a soft brush or sponge.

When cleaning your leather sofa, there are lots of household cleaners it’s best to avoid. General household spray cleaners and baby wipes should not be used, as they can strip the natural oils present in leather and even remove any pigments, colours or dyes. Bleach, nail varnish remover and other harsh chemicals should not be used to clean your leather sofa - generally, any cleaners not specifically designed and labelled as leather cleaners are best avoided. We don’t recommend the use of hard plastic vacuum nozzles, stiff brushes, sponges or scourers to clean leather, as they can scratch or damage the leather. Water or damp cloths should never be used on Natural leather.

You should condition or apply a protection treatment to your leather sofas as soon as it arrives, as this is the best time to ensure it prevents soiling, staining and prolongs your new sofa’s beauty. After this, leather sofas should be conditioned every 6-12 months to keep them looking their best - this will ensure the leather stays moisturised and supple, and help to prevent cracking. Any more than this and you can risk over-conditioning the leather, which can make it wear out faster.

Our sofas certainly are! We stock a range of 100% genuine leather sofas, which are exactly that - genuine leather all over, from the seat cushions to the backs. For those on a budget, we also carry a selection of leather and leather-look combination sofas, which give you the feel of real leather on all comfort areas (seats, back cushions and arms) but at a more affordable price. For those avoiding leather completely, or looking for the feel of leather without the cost, we also stock a selection of faux leather sofas. All our sofas are clearly indicated on their product pages whether they are 100% genuine leather, leather and leather look, or faux leather - and if you’re unsure in store, our staff can confirm for you.