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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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