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How to Clean Leather Furniture & Upholstery

Leather is a luxurious upholstery covering that comes in a wide variety of colors and styles. It is the strongest of all natural materials used in today’s furniture, but like all natural materials, leather must be properly cared for in order to maintain its beauty. 

Different types of leather:

  • Aniline leather, also called “naked leather,” is prized for its natural look and feel. Only the very best hides are used as all surface marks remain visible. Aniline leather is not coated with any polymers or pigments, so it can be stained easily. Aniline leather furniture is not suited for homes with pets or small children.
  • Semi-aniline leather is surface treated with a light coat that contains some pigment, making it more soil and stain resistant than aniline leather. It is hardier than aniline leather, but the markings are not as apparent, making it less unique.
  • Protected or pigmented leather is the most-used leather in furniture and car upholstery because it is the most durable. Its surface is coated with a polymer coating that contains pigments. While it is easy to maintain and stands up to daily wear and tear, it does not have the most natural or unique look. 
  • Nubuck leather is a high-quality rawhide leather that has a soft, velvety surface that is similar to suede, but more durable. It is one of the most expensive types of leather, and also the most difficult to clean.

Leather that receives good care and regular cleanings can last for years. Professional cleaners can rely on Jon-Don for leather cleaning products, leather conditioners, and leather cleaning accessories.


Directions for Cleaning Leather:
  1. Use a soft bristle brush to remove loose dirt and soil from the leather surface and along any cracks or crevices.
  2. Choose the appropriate leather cleaning product for the type of leather you are cleaning. You can typically find this information on a tag attached to the furniture or leather piece.
  3. Follow the label directions for application. Use caution and do not over-apply. Work in one small section at a time to ensure thorough cleaning.
  4. Do not use petroleum-based cleaning products to clean leather as they can erode the stitching on the leather piece. Harsh cleaners (such as Windex or bleach), furniture polish (such as Pledge), alkaline cleaners, baby wipes, waxes, and silicone may also damage leather, leaving it feeling sticky.
  5. Be sure to dry the leather thoroughly after cleaning. Leather is porous and will absorb moisture. Thoroughly wiping the leather surface with a clean soft white cloth or using air movers to speed dry the surface is recommended.


Cleaning Suede Upholstery

Suede is leather with the flesh side turned outward, and then rubbed up to make a velvety nap. The feel of suede can be ruined by just about any kind of cleaning. For this reason only a very dry method of cleaning is recommended. Please note: True suede is not to be confused with microfiber suede, ultrasuede, or any other pseudo-suedes with a name in front of the word "suede."


  1. Use Absorene Wall Cleaner on the upholstery by rubbing it gently across the piece.
  2. Vacuum up remaining residue.
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  1. Chemspec® Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Biosolv®
    Chemspec® Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Biosolv®

    Chemspec Leather Cleaner and Conditioner contains specialized cleaning agents formulated with Biosolv to help remove both surface dirt and dirt that has become trapped in the grain of the leather. This advanced formula is effective against dirt, yet not harmful to the leather. Use on protected leather only.

    • Removes trapped dirt in leather
    • Restores and prolongs leather's natural beauty
    • pH: 8.0–9.0
    • For use on protected leather only
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $35.74

  2. Absorene Wall Cleaner
    Absorene Wall Cleaner

    Absorene works like an eraser, banishing dust, dirt, and smoke film from multiple surfaces: walls, ceiling tile, paintings, window shades, blinds, lamp shades, tapestries, felt hats, painted surfaces, and more!

    • Cleans walls, ceiling tile, smoke film and more
    • Safe on painted walls, wallpaper, and more
    • Non-toxic
    • Works like an eraser
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $6.30

  3. Leather Master Strong Cleaner
    Leather Master Strong Cleaner

    Leather Strong Cleaner is a mild, water-based cleaner that can be used on a most aniline and pigmented leathers. It will clean soiling as well as most water based stains.

    • Cleans soiling and water-based stains
    • Twice the cleaning power!
    • pH: 7.5–8.5
    • Safe for most aniline and pigmented leathers
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $12.61

  4. Leather Master Vital Conditioner
    Leather Master Vital Conditioner

    This product is for revitalizing older Leathers and also to improve the feel of stiff leathers. Leather Vital penetrates the leather to soften and nourish it.

    • Revitalizes and softens leather
    • Helps eliminate leather "squeaking"
    • pH: 9.0–11.0
    • Safe for protected leathers
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $21.18

  5. Leather Cleaning Brush
    Leather Cleaning Brush
    Treat the leather customers treasure with this brush designed specifically to provide the gentle agitation necessary to clean top-coated leathers. If used properly, the natural fibers in this brush will never scratch even the most delicate leather furniture. Block measures 4" x 4". Handle measures 4 1/2".
    • Soft, natural fibers prevent scratching
    • Specially designed for gentle leather agitation
    • Comfort-grip handle
  6. Sale
    Leather Buffing Mitt
    Leather Buffing Mitt
    Leather has never been a more popular choice, so you will want to pamper your customers' furnishings with this 8" cloth mitt that has been specially designed for buffing leather or cleaning upholstery. Your hand will fit neatly inside, giving you full control. Recommended for fabric upholstery, too.
    • Cloth mitt
    • Designed for buffing leather
    • Measures 8 inches in diameter
    • Hand fits inside for full control
    Regular Price $19.70 Special Price $19.22
  7. Leather Master Oleosa Oil Pull Up Leather
    Leather Master Oleosa Oil Pull Up Leather
    Oleosa is a product made for the special needs of oil pull-up leathers.
    • Great for removing surface scratches
    • Product should be applied 1-2 times per year
    • pH: 8.0-10.0
    • For use on oil pull-up leathers
    • Ready to use
  8. Leather Master Wax On for Pullup
    Leather Master Wax On for Pullup
    Wax On gives the wax pull-up leather the fats and nutrients that it needs in order to retain its suppleness and its beautiful lustre.
    • Retains suppleness and lustre of leather
    • Replaces wax removed from surface
    • pH: 8.0-10.0
    • For use on waxed leathers
    • Ready to use
  9. Leather Master Protection Cream
    Leather Master Protection Cream

    This is truly an incredible product because it provides excellent protection against oil-water-alcohol based stains as well as helping to resist the effects of daily soiling.

    • Protects against oil, water & alcohol based stains
    • Restores natural oils to leather and prevents cracking
    • pH: 3.5–5.5
    • Apply to any protected leather
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $74.01

  10. Leather Master Soft Cleaner
    Leather Master Soft Cleaner

    Leather Soft Cleaner is a water-based cleaner that can be used on all leather types. This is a mild cleaner that will not affect the leather's original properties or finish

    • Mild, water-based cleaner
    • Will not damage finish
    • pH: 6.5–8.5
    • Safe for all leather types
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $12.59

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