Leather Cleaning and Stain Removal Tips

September 19, 2018

Leather is a highly desirable type of furniture upholstery known for its rich natural beauty, long-lasting durability and cool comfort.

While leather is a largely durable, easy-to-care-for surface, it’s occasionally necessary to visit a professional specializing in leather cleaning in San Diego, CA. Working with a professional leather care expert can help you make the most of your investment in leather furniture, and ensure that your leather upholstery lasts as long as possible.

Identifying leather finish

Modern leather furniture is tanned and finished in many different ways. The type of leather finish used on your furniture will determine the best course of action to clean your leather furniture.

To determine what type of leather finish is on your furniture, you can perform a simple test by rubbing the leather, in a concealed area, with a damp cloth.

If the moisture does not soak in, you have finished leather that should block out most stains. You can use a very mild soap to clean this type of leather. It’s important to avoid detergents and saddle soaps at all costs, however. Harsh detergents and soaps will dry out and stiffen the leather, reducing its longevity.

If the surface darkens, you have an unfinished or semi-sealed leather. This kind is softer, but spills and soil can penetrate and stain the leather, making it hard or impossible to clean out. Try to clean using exclusively a moistened cloth. If the stain does not budge, you may need to reach out for professional leather cleaning in San Diego, CA. Leather care professionals can clean and then appropriately recolor the area.

Addressing common stain types

There are a number of common stains that frequently plague leather furniture. Here are just a few tips on dealing with the most common stain types:

  • Cleaning ink marks: To remove ink stains, try using a soft eraser, or a mild soap on a Q-tip, before the ink begins to dry, if possible. Ink is a dye, so it usually will not come off without using a product that will also remove the color coat. Some ink stains may fade away over time, however.
  • Removing oil stains: For oil stains, apply a little cornstarch. After the cornstarch dries, brush it off and repeat as necessary. The cornstarch will absorb the oil into the powder. Often, the oil will just migrate through the hide and diminish over time. Body oils that accumulate over time will not clean out, since they saturate the hide.
  • Avoid silicone and oil-based cleaners: Leather is oiled in the tanning process, and cannot be re-oiled. Silicone and oil-based cleaners may strip the original oil. Also, limit exposure to sun and heat as much as possible—exposure to sun and heat will dry out the leather, causing the color to fade.

For best results, have Total Leather Care clean and protect your furniture. We have the skills and products to deeply clean the leather. We’re proud to be among the foremost experts on leather cleaning in San Diego, CA. Once we’re done, be sure to get a bottle of Hidey’s Beauty Treatment for continued maintenance!

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Total Leather Care