How Should I Clean And Maintain A Leather Recliner?

Have you ever wondered how to keep your leather recliner looking and feeling its best? Leather furniture can add a touch of elegance and luxury to any room, but it’s important to take proper care of it to ensure its longevity. In this article, we’ll provide you with some helpful tips and tricks on how to clean and maintain your leather recliner, so you can continue to enjoy its comfort and beauty for years to come.

Cleaning and maintaining a leather recliner is relatively simple, but it does require some regular attention. First and foremost, it’s important to dust your recliner regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. A soft, dry cloth or feather duster can be used to gently remove any surface dust or debris. Next, you’ll want to clean any spills or stains as soon as possible. A mild soap solution or a specialized leather cleaner can be used in conjunction with a soft cloth to gently clean the affected area. Finally, it’s important to condition your leather recliner on a regular basis. Leather conditioner helps to keep the leather soft and supple, preventing it from drying out and cracking over time. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your leather recliner remains a beautiful and comfortable addition to your home. In the rest of this article, we’ll delve deeper into each step, providing you with more detailed instructions and recommendations for the best cleaning and maintenance practices. So, keep reading to learn more!

Importance of Cleaning and Maintaining a Leather Recliner

Cleaning and maintaining a leather recliner is essential for its longevity, the preservation of its appearance, and the promotion of hygiene. A leather recliner is a significant investment that can add style and comfort to any living space. However, without proper care, the leather can deteriorate over time, leading to a less appealing and less comfortable recliner. By following a regular cleaning and maintenance routine, you can ensure that your leather recliner stays in great condition for many years to come.

Enhances Longevity

Regular cleaning and maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your leather recliner. Leather is a natural material that requires proper care to prevent it from cracking, fading, or drying out. Over time, dirt, dust, and oils from your body can accumulate on the leather surface, causing it to deteriorate. By cleaning the recliner regularly, you can remove these potential harmful substances and keep the leather supple and flexible.

Additionally, leather conditioners play a crucial role in maintaining the longevity of your recliner. Leather conditioners help moisturize the leather, preventing it from becoming dry and brittle. By regularly applying conditioner to your recliner, you can keep the leather soft and prevent it from cracking or developing unsightly wrinkles.

Preserves Appearance

Cleaning and maintaining a leather recliner also help preserve its appearance. Leather comes in various finishes, such as aniline, pigmented, top grain, nubuck, and bonded leather. Regardless of the type of leather used in your recliner, proper care ensures that the leather’s color and texture remain intact.

Dirt and oils can easily build up on the surface of the leather recliner, leading to a dull and unattractive appearance. Regular cleaning helps remove these contaminants, allowing the natural beauty of the leather to shine through. Additionally, using a suitable leather conditioner can help restore and enhance the recliner’s original luster.

Promotes Hygiene

Another crucial reason for cleaning and maintaining a leather recliner is to promote hygiene. Over time, sweat, body oils, and other contaminants can accumulate on the recliner’s surface, creating an environment for bacteria and allergens to thrive. Regular cleaning can help remove these substances, reducing the risk of odors, allergies, and potential health issues.

In addition to cleaning the surface, it’s also important to pay attention to the nooks and crannies of your recliner, where dirt and dust may accumulate. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any debris between the cushions and in the corners. This will ensure that your recliner remains clean and hygienic.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your leather recliner, it’s important to gather the necessary supplies. Here are some essential items you will need:

Leather cleaner

Choose a leather cleaner specifically formulated for your type of leather. Avoid using harsh chemicals or household cleaners that may damage or discolor the leather.

Soft cloths

Use soft, lint-free cloths for cleaning and wiping down the leather surfaces. Microfiber cloths are a great option as they are gentle and highly effective at removing dirt and grime.

Leather conditioner

Invest in a good-quality leather conditioner that matches the type of leather on your recliner. Conditioners help nourish and protect the leather, keeping it looking and feeling its best.

Vacuum cleaner

A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment will help you remove any dirt and debris from the recliner’s surface and crevices.


A soft brush or toothbrush can be used to gently scrub away stubborn stains or dirt from the leather surface.

Preparing the Recliner for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your leather recliner, take some time to prepare the recliner for the cleaning process. This involves removing any cushions or accessories and dusting and vacuuming the surface.

Remove cushions and accessories

Remove any cushions, pillows, or removable parts from the recliner. This will allow you to clean all parts of the recliner more effectively and ensure that no dirt or debris gets trapped underneath.

Dust and vacuum the surface

Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dust or debris from the surface of the recliner. Pay attention to the crevices and corners where dirt can accumulate.

Identify any stains or spills

Inspect the recliner for any stains or spills that require special attention. Take note of their location and type to determine the appropriate cleaning method later on.

Cleaning the Leather Recliner

Once you have prepared the recliner, it’s time to clean the leather surfaces. Follow these steps to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning process:

Test the cleaner on a small hidden area

Before applying the cleaner to the entire recliner, test it on a small, hidden area of the leather to ensure that it does not cause any discoloration or damage. This is especially important if you are using a new cleaner for the first time.

Apply the cleaner to the recliner

Using a soft cloth, apply a small amount of the leather cleaner to the recliner. Make sure to distribute the cleaner evenly over the surface and focus on any stains or soiled areas.

Gently scrub the surface

Using a soft brush, gently scrub the leather surface in circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the leather. Focus on any stubborn stains or dirt buildup.

Wipe off excess cleaner

After scrubbing, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner from the recliner. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaner to prevent any residue from drying on the leather.

Repeat if necessary

If the leather recliner is still dirty or stained after the first cleaning, you may need to repeat the process. Be patient and thorough, as multiple cleanings may be required to achieve the desired results.

Dealing with Stains and Spills

Stains and spills are common occurrences on a leather recliner. It’s important to address them promptly and with the right approach to prevent permanent damage to the leather. Here are some tips for dealing with different types of stains and spills:

Blotting the stain

For liquid spills, such as water or beverages, immediately blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not rub the spill, as this can spread the liquid and potentially push it deeper into the leather.

Using mild soap solution

For stains caused by non-greasy substances, such as ink or food, you can create a mild soap solution by mixing a small amount of gentle soap or dishwashing liquid with warm water. Dip a soft cloth into the solution, wring out the excess, and gently blot the stain. Rinse the cloth with clean water and blot the area again to remove any soap residue. Finally, dry the area with a clean, dry cloth.

Avoiding harsh chemicals

Harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, should never be used on leather furniture. These chemicals can strip the leather of its natural oils and cause irreversible damage.

Removing oil-based stains

Oil-based stains, such as grease or oil from food, can be more challenging to remove. To tackle these stains, sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch or talcum powder on the stain and let it sit for a few hours to absorb the oil. Gently brush off the powder and use a clean cloth to blot the remaining stain. If the stain persists, consult a professional cleaner for assistance.

Seeking professional help if needed

If you are unsure about how to remove a particular stain or if your cleaning efforts are not yielding satisfactory results, it’s best to seek professional help. Leather specialists have the knowledge and expertise to assess and treat various stains, ensuring that your recliner stays in pristine condition.

Conditioning the Leather

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the leather recliner, it’s important to condition it to restore its moisture and protect it from drying out. Follow these steps to effectively condition your leather recliner:

Choosing a suitable leather conditioner

Select a leather conditioner specifically designed for your type of leather. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider any specific recommendations or limitations for your recliner.

Applying the conditioner

Using a soft cloth, apply a small amount of the leather conditioner to the recliner. Start with a small area and work in small sections to ensure even coverage. Gently massage the conditioner into the leather using circular motions.

Massaging into the leather

As you apply the conditioner, massage it into the leather surface. This helps the conditioner penetrate the leather and restores its natural oils and suppleness. Pay extra attention to any areas that may be prone to dryness or cracking, such as the arms or footrests.

Buffing the recliner

After allowing the conditioner to sit on the leather for a few minutes, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the recliner. This will remove any excess conditioner and give the leather a polished appearance.

Protecting the Leather Recliner

In addition to regular cleaning and conditioning, it’s important to take steps to protect your leather recliner from potential damage. Follow these tips to maintain the quality and longevity of your recliner:

Avoiding direct sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the leather to fade and dry out. Position your recliner away from windows or use curtains or blinds to protect the leather from prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays.

Keeping pets away

Pets can inadvertently scratch or damage the leather with their claws. Establish clear boundaries and discourage your pets from using the recliner as a scratching post or chewing toy.

Using leather protectant spray

Consider using a leather protectant spray to provide an additional layer of protection against spills and stains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and reapplication.

Regularly cleaning and conditioning

To maintain the beauty and condition of your leather recliner, establish a regular cleaning and conditioning routine. Clean the recliner at least once a month, or more frequently if needed, and condition it every three to six months, depending on its usage.

Dealing with Specific Leather Types

Different leather types require different cleaning and maintenance approaches. Here’s a brief guide on how to care for specific types of leather:

Aniline leather

Aniline leather is a delicate and natural type of leather that is prone to staining and fading. To clean aniline leather, follow the general cleaning and conditioning steps outlined above. Use a leather cleaner specifically formulated for aniline leather and avoid excessive water or liquid during the cleaning process.

Pigmented leather

Pigmented leather is more resistant to stains and fading. Follow the general cleaning and conditioning steps outlined above, using a leather cleaner suitable for pigmented leather. Pay attention to any areas of the recliner that may be more prone to wear, such as the headrest or armrests, and apply extra conditioner to these areas.

Top grain leather

Top grain leather is slightly more durable than aniline or pigmented leather. Follow the general cleaning and conditioning steps outlined above, using a leather cleaner suitable for top grain leather. Top grain leather may require more frequent conditioning to maintain its softness and suppleness.

Nubuck leather

Nubuck leather has a velvety texture that requires special care. To clean nubuck leather, use a suede brush or a soft cloth to gently remove any dirt or stains. Avoid using excessive water or liquid as it can damage the leather. If necessary, use a nubuck-specific cleaner or consult a professional cleaner for assistance.

Bonded leather

Bonded leather is made from leftover leather fibers bonded together with polyurethane. Although it may resemble genuine leather, it requires different care. Follow the general cleaning and maintenance steps outlined above, using a leather cleaner suitable for bonded leather. However, be cautious not to over-condition bonded leather, as excessive moisture can cause it to break down over time.

Maintenance Tips for a Leather Recliner

To keep your leather recliner looking and feeling its best, follow these maintenance tips:

Regular dusting and vacuuming

Dust and vacuum your leather recliner regularly to remove surface dirt and prevent it from settling into the leather pores. Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner and be thorough in reaching all areas of the recliner.

Avoiding sharp objects

Keep sharp objects, such as keys or scissors, away from your recliner to prevent accidental tears or scratches. Leather is a relatively durable material, but it is still susceptible to damage from sharp objects.

Immediate spill cleanup

If you spill any liquids or substances on your recliner, clean them up immediately to prevent them from seeping into the leather and causing stains or damage. Use a clean cloth to blot the spill and follow the appropriate cleaning methods mentioned earlier.

Using leather wipes

Leather wipes can be a convenient option for quick cleaning and conditioning touch-ups. Keep a pack of leather wipes handy for regular maintenance and to address minor stains or spills.

Keeping away from heat sources

Position your leather recliner away from direct heat sources, such as radiators or fireplaces. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause the leather to dry out and crack.


By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your leather recliner remains clean, well-maintained, and a source of comfort and aesthetics. Regular cleaning and conditioning will enhance its longevity, preserve its appearance, and promote hygiene. Remember to choose the appropriate cleaning and conditioning products for your specific type of leather, and always test any new products on a small, hidden area before applying them to the entire recliner. With a little care and attention, your leather recliner will continue to provide you with comfort and style for many years to come.

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About the Author: Phil Bentley

Phil has cultivated a deep appreciation for the comfort, craftsmanship and timeless elegance that leather recliners embody.