How To Clean A Leather Recliner?

How To Clean A Leather Recliner

Leather recliners are a symbol of comfort, luxury, and style in many homes. These versatile pieces of furniture offer a cozy spot for relaxation after a long day, but they also require proper maintenance to maintain their beauty and longevity.

Cleaning a leather recliner may seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a straightforward and satisfying task.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to clean and maintain your leather recliner, so it continues to be a statement piece in your home.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Leather Recliner

Cleaning a leather recliner is not as difficult as it may seem, provided you follow the right steps and use appropriate cleaning materials. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you keep your leather recliner in pristine condition:

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you start cleaning, make sure you have all the necessary supplies ready. You’ll need:

  • Soft, Clean Cloths: You’ll need a few soft, lint-free cloths or microfiber towels to clean and buff the leather.
  • Leather Cleaner: Purchase a high-quality leather cleaner specifically designed for cleaning and conditioning leather furniture. Ensure that the cleaner is compatible with the type of leather your recliner is made from (more on that later).
  • Leather Conditioner: A leather conditioner helps to keep the leather supple and prevents it from drying out and cracking. Make sure the conditioner is suitable for your specific leather type.
  • Distilled Water: It’s best to use distilled water for cleaning leather to avoid any mineral deposits that can accumulate on the surface.
  • Mild Liquid Soap: A small amount of mild liquid soap can be used to remove stubborn stains, but it should be used sparingly and tested on a hidden area first.
  • White Vinegar: White vinegar can be used to create a homemade leather cleaning solution.
  • Soft Bristle Brush or Vacuum Cleaner: A soft brush or the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner will help remove dust and debris from crevices.
  • Leather Protection Cream (Optional): A leather protection cream can be applied after cleaning and conditioning to provide an extra layer of protection against spills and stains.
Leather recliner cleaning essentials
Leather recliner cleaning essentials

2. Determine the Type of Leather

The first and most crucial step in cleaning your leather recliner is to determine the type of leather it is made from. Different types of leather have unique cleaning and care requirements. Common types of leather used in furniture include:

  • Aniline Leather: This is the most natural and luxurious type of leather. It’s extremely soft and supple but also the most sensitive to stains and spills. Aniline leather requires gentle cleaning and conditioning.
  • Semi-Aniline Leather: This type is similar to aniline leather but has a light protective coating. It is more durable and easier to clean than pure aniline leather.
  • Pigmented Leather: Pigmented leather has a polymer coating that makes it more resistant to stains and fading. It’s a common choice for family-friendly furniture.
  • Nubuck Leather: Nubuck leather is a top-grain leather that has been sanded to create a soft, velvety surface. It is more sensitive to stains and damage than other types of leather and requires special care.
  • Bi-Cast Leather: Bi-cast leather is a synthetic leather with a layer of polyurethane on top. It’s not as durable as genuine leather, but it is easier to clean and maintain.

To identify your leather type, check the care label on your recliner or consult the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re unsure, perform a simple water drop test by placing a small drop of water on an inconspicuous area of the leather. If the water is absorbed quickly and leaves no mark, you likely have aniline or semi-aniline leather. If the water beads up, you probably have pigmented or bi-cast leather.

Also read: Are Recliners Bad For Your Neck?

3. Prepare the Recliner

Start by preparing your leather recliner for cleaning. Begin by removing any loose debris, dust, or crumbs. Use a soft bristle brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently brush the recliner’s surface and crevices. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, including between the cushions and under the armrests.

4. Perform a Spot Test

Before applying any cleaner or conditioner to the entire recliner, it’s essential to perform a spot test. Choose a small, inconspicuous area, like the back of the recliner, and apply a small amount of the leather cleaner and conditioner. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to ensure it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions, such as discoloration or damage. If the test area looks fine, you can proceed with the cleaning process.

5. Clean the Recliner

Dampen a clean, soft cloth or sponge with a mixture of mild leather cleaner and distilled water. It’s important to dilute the cleaner to prevent it from being too harsh on the leather. Gently wipe down the entire surface of the recliner, paying close attention to stains, spills, or areas with built-up dirt. Remember to avoid excessive scrubbing or applying excessive pressure, as this can damage the leather.

6. Address Stains and Spills

If you encounter stubborn stains or spills, don’t panic. Use a separate cloth or sponge dampened with the cleaning solution and gently work on the stained area. In most cases, the stain will gradually lift. Be patient and avoid aggressive scrubbing, which can worsen the situation. If the stain persists, consider consulting a professional cleaner.

7. Rinse and Wipe

After you’ve cleaned the entire recliner, rinse your cloth or sponge with distilled water and wipe down the leather to remove any leftover cleaning solution. This step helps prevent any chemical residue from lingering on the surface.

8. Dry the Recliner

Use a clean, dry towel to blot and absorb any remaining moisture on the leather. Make sure the recliner is thoroughly dry before moving on to the next step. Avoid using heat sources, such as hairdryers or heaters, to speed up the drying process, as excessive heat can damage the leather.

9. Condition the Leather

Once the recliner is completely dry, apply a leather conditioner using a soft cloth or sponge. Leather conditioner helps to restore the leather’s natural oils and maintain its suppleness. Follow the product’s instructions for application and buff the recliner with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess conditioner.

10. Leather Protector (Optional)

For added protection, you can apply a leather protector after conditioning. Leather protectors create a barrier against stains and spills, making it easier to clean up future messes. Follow the product’s instructions for application, and allow it to dry before using the recliner.

11. Routine Maintenance

To keep your leather recliner looking its best, establish a routine cleaning schedule. Regular dusting and wiping down with a damp cloth can prevent dirt and grime from building up over time. Additionally, avoid exposing your leather recliner to direct sunlight and heat sources, as prolonged exposure can cause the leather to fade and dry out.

Also read: 10 Benefits of Reclining Chairs

Tips for Maintaining Your Leather Recliner

Here are some additional tips to help you maintain your leather recliner’s appearance and durability:

  1. Rotate Cushions: To ensure even wear, regularly rotate and flip the cushions on your recliner.
  2. Avoid Sharp Objects: Keep sharp objects away from your recliner to prevent accidental punctures or scratches.
  3. Use Leather-Specific Products: Stick to products designed for cleaning and conditioning leather. Avoid using harsh chemicals or household cleaners, as they can damage the leather’s finish.
  4. Keep Pets Away: If you have pets, discourage them from jumping onto the recliner to avoid potential scratches and damage.
  5. Store Properly: If you need to store your recliner for an extended period, make sure it’s in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  6. Regularly Vacuum: Vacuum the recliner’s crevices and seams to prevent dirt buildup.
  7. Check Manufacturer Guidelines: Refer to the manufacturer’s care and cleaning instructions specific to your leather recliner for any unique recommendations.

FAQs About Cleaning Leather Recliners

1. Can I use household cleaning products on my leather recliner?

It’s not recommended to use household cleaning products, as they can be too harsh on leather and may cause damage. Stick to mild leather cleaners specifically designed for the purpose.

2. How often should I clean and condition my leather recliner?

The frequency of cleaning and conditioning depends on factors like usage and environmental conditions. As a general guideline, consider cleaning and conditioning your leather recliner every 6-12 months, with routine dusting and wiping in between.

3. Can I remove ink stains from my leather recliner?

Ink stains can be challenging to remove from leather. If you encounter an ink stain, consult a professional cleaner for the best chance of successful removal.

4. My leather recliner has a scratch. What can I do to repair it?

Minor scratches can often be camouflaged with a leather repair kit or by using a leather touch-up pen that matches the recliner’s color. For more extensive damage, it’s best to consult a professional.

5. What’s the best way to protect leather from fading?

To prevent fading, keep your leather recliner out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Additionally, using a leather protector can provide an extra layer of defense against fading.

6. Can I clean a white leather recliner the same way as other colors?

Cleaning white leather may require extra care, as stains and dirt are more visible. Use a leather cleaner and conditioner suitable for white leather and be diligent in your cleaning routine to maintain its pristine appearance.


Cleaning a leather recliner is an essential part of leather furniture maintenance, and it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article and adhering to the maintenance tips, you can ensure that your leather recliner remains in top-notch condition for years to come. Regular cleaning and conditioning will not only preserve its beauty but also extend its lifespan, ultimately making your investment worthwhile.

If you have any further questions or concerns about cleaning your leather recliner, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or consider seeking advice from a professional upholstery cleaner. With the right approach and a little effort, your leather recliner can look and feel as good as the day you first brought it into your home.

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