How To Clean A White Leather Sofa: Full Tutorial

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Your white leather sofa just might be the very centerpiece of your living room, lounge, or sitting room. It’s a very elegant piece of furniture that is bound to capture both the eyes and the hearts of your guests. Obviously, it’s super-stylish but hopefully also comfortable beyond belief.

White furniture, in general, tends to stand out among the rest of the interior design. These pieces are chosen carefully to act as decoration other than just to perform their usual uses. This is why, among other reasons, it’s important that you keep your white leather sofa looking shiny and new. Clean white leather looks nothing short of amazing; stained — not so much.

A white couch will always be a stain magnet, regardless of the fabric or material it was made from. Dust, pet hair, wine stains, food stains, the crayons your kids played with the other day… All of that shows up on your white leather sofa as if it was a painter’s canvas. The more the dirt builds up, the more your sofa stops looking like the leather beauty you first bought.

Don’t worry — cleaning your leather sofa is not going to be that hard. There are ways to restore it to its former glory. Some of those ways only require a few simple products found in your home! Leather cleaning is an art in and of itself, but it’s all very simple.

In this guide, we will show you how to clean and maintain your leather sofa so that it can stay beautiful for years to come!

What is the best way to clean a leather couch?

There are many ways to go about cleaning your white leather couch. Choosing one of them is going to depend on what you have on hand, how bad the stains are, and what kind of dirt you’re looking to remove. Most methods require that you prepare a specialty cleaning solution or use a leather conditioner.

One of the most popular methods of cleaning leather furniture involves the use of baking soda. Things such as rubbing alcohol or even specialty detergents also find their uses. Which method is the best? Read on to learn all about it!

How do you clean a white leather couch with baking soda?

Baking soda is something you most likely have on hand at all times. That’s great because it also happens to be one of the most popular DIY cleaning agents in the world.

It’s amazing how many uses there are for baking soda. It’s capable of removing all sorts of stains, but it also absorbs moisture, oils, and odors. All those factors add up to the fortunate conclusion that baking soda is ideal for cleaning porous surfaces. What’s a porous surface? Leather! With all that said, how do you clean white leather furniture with baking soda?

Prepare the following:

  1. baking soda (1 tablespoon)
  2. borax (boracic acid, 1 tablespoon)
  3. 100ml of water
  4. a clean cloth or a sponge
  5. a bowl you won’t use for food preparation
  6. optional: a soft-bristled toothbrush

Remember: for bigger sofas you may need more ingredients, such as double the dose of baking soda and borax.

Start by mixing the baking soda and the borax in a bowl. Add the water to the two ingredients and stir until they’re fully mixed. Next, you need to dip the cloth in the cleaning solution until it’s soaked through.

Apply the solution with the cloth to the stain or the area of your white leather couch that requires cleaning. Gently rub in the mixture while removing the stain. Do not rub too hard — leather cleaning requires delicate treatment, otherwise, you may damage the leather!

If the stain is persistent or located in a tight spot, use the toothbrush dipped in the cleaning solution to clean up any remaining dirt. This is going to be especially useful for the stitches and various crevices that are always found in a white leather couch.

Once you’re satisfied with the end-result, wipe off the surface of the couch with another clean, dry cloth. Don’t leave any moisture and make sure to wipe away all of it. 

If needed, these steps can be repeated two or three more times.

How do you clean a white couch with rubbing alcohol? 

This method is especially useful if your white leather couch has suffered an ink stain. Rubbing alcohol dissolves ink stains without any issues, so it’s going to be a savior in this situation.

It’s very simple. Take a cotton swab and a bit of rubbing alcohol. Pour the alcohol onto the cotton and rub at the stain gently, but with a moderate amount of pressure. Just rubbing alcohol is enough — you do not need to dilute it with water.

If the stain will not budge, you can also try using the toothbrush trick here and rub at the stain a little harder. You can also simply leave it to soak under the moist cotton swab. If the stain is large, make sure to pick up more cotton to be able to cover the entirety of it.

This may take a little time, but with enough persistence and a few minutes spent on leather cleaning, you will be able to remove the ink out of your white leather couch.

How do you clean white leather with dish detergent?

You read that right — dish detergent can actually be a great base for a cleaning solution for many different things. Leather is not any different. You can use this for greasy stains or as an addition to the other two options. 

It’s one of the strongest variants, but it does require you to pick up a powdered stain remover for it to fully work. We’ll give you some recommendations below.

Begin by mixing water, liquid dish soap, and a powdered stain remover in a bowl. The ingredients should be added in the following quantities:

  • around 15g of the powdered stain remover
  • half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap
  • a bowl of warm water

Mix all of the ingredients well and then, using a cloth, rub them gently into the white leather couch. The benefit of this cleaning method over the other ones is that it works in two ways. While the dish detergent cleans the surface, the stain remover works hard to lift the stain and also brightens your white leather sofa as a whole. 

Like above, if you need to, feel free to replace the cloth with a sponge, a toothbrush, or a furniture brush. Remember to make sure it’s not hard-bristled. Leather does not handle rough scratching very well.

What powdered stain remover is best to use?

We can bet that you’ve heard of OxiClean.

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OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover, 7.22 Lbs
  • The unique formula is activated by water, unleashing bubbling oxygen power for safe, effective cleaning
  • For regular and he washers

This is possibly the most well-known, as well as the most versatile, brand of powdered stain remover on the market.

Made to handle all kinds of different stains, OxiClean can be used for things such as carpet stains, furniture stains, and of course, clothing. As such, it’s a handy product to have at home regardless of the state of your sofa.

It’s color-safe, so you don’t have to worry about discoloration of the leather. You can use it separately from the dish detergent and leave it to soak on top of the stain for a while. When you come back to clean it, you’ll be surprised to see the stain lifted in just a few seconds.

You want to clean your white leather sofa today, but it might be your white shirt tomorrow. For that reason, we recommend a versatile cleaner such as OxiClean.

How to clean a white leather couch using vinegar

Vinegar is yet another household staple that works very well for cleaning all manner of things. For leather, it makes for a safe alternative to other options if it’s all you have at home. 

Start by combining some white vinegar with water. This has to be done in equal parts, so for example, 100ml of white vinegar equals 100 ml of water. The final amount will vary based on the size of the stain.

Next, you need to mix the cleaning solution until it’s fully blended. Take a damp clean cloth or a sponge, soak it in the solution, and then place it on top of the stain. Leave it to sit for a few minutes.

Once you return, rub it gently until the stain is fully lifted. This can be successfully combined with our other methods if the stain on your couch is extreme.

How do you clean yellowed white leather?

Leather, while very sturdy and durable, tends to yellow over time. This is very visible in white sofas which were once pristine and now look more like cream or ecru rather than white. 

Why does my sofa turn yellow over time?

The reason for this unfortunate incident lies in a process called oxidation. This is a natural, unstoppable process that happens to leather when it’s exposed to dust, air, water, and sun, over time. In chemical terms, under these conditions, oxidation occurs and breaks down some of the fibers in the couch. 

Unfortunately, you can’t completely prevent your white leaher sofa from yellowing. As you continue to use it over the years, it will eventually change color. However, there’s a lot that can be done to slow down the process to the point where it’s almost impossible to discern.

The key to a non-yellowed leather sofa lies in regular maintenance. Other than tending to every stain the way we described, you should also tend to the sofa as a whole. Part of that lies in keeping it well-oiled with a trustworthy furniture conditioner.

What furniture conditioner to use on my leather furniture?

If you own leather furniture, it’s good to equip yourself with a proper leather care kit. We like Furniture Clinic.

Furniture Clinic Large Leather Care Kit - Includes a 17oz Protection Cream & Conditioner, 17oz Leather Cleaner, Sponge & Cloth | Condition & Protect Leather Furniture, Chairs, Car Seats
  • GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SEAL: This product was evaluated by the Good Housekeeping institute and after rigorous testing by their expert scientists and engineers, has been granted the prestigious Good...
  • PACKAGE INCLUDES: A full leather care kit. One 17oz bottle of Leather Cleaner, one 17oz bottle of Leather Protection Cream and Leather Conditioner, Sponge, Cloth & Instructions for use. Perfect to use...

This is a care package made for your leather couch. By using these products, you will prolong the life and great looks of your white couch.

In this set, you get a 500ml leather cleaner and conditioner. There’s also a specialty cleaning cloth designed for use with leather, a sponge, and a full set of instructions. All of this allows you to perform regular maintenance and keep your sofa from yellowing.

It doesn’t matter what type of sofa you use, because Furniture Clinic is suitable for them all. You can also use it in car interiors, on car seats, and other kinds of furniture. That’s not all — feel free to clean your leather boots or gloves with this set. It’s also safe to use with all colors of leather ranging from black to beige.

You can use the cleaner to help you get rid of stains with minimal effort, and then the protection cream to make sure your white leather sofa is staying healthy and clean. The cream also leaves a protective layer on top of the leather, making any future stains even easier to clean.

If you’ve loved your sofa especially much when it was new, you’ll love it even better now. This conditioner provides that “new leather smell” that we all love. 

We recommend using this, or any similar product, frequently for cleaning your sofa.

How do you clean light colored leather?

Light colors, such as beige, tan, white, cream, ecru, off-white, and more, are difficult to clean in their own right. It’s true that darker colors can be just as easily stained, but oftentimes, stains are more visible on lighter colors.

The methods we’ve described above are all well-suited to all kinds of light-colored leather furniture. You don’t need to worry about discoloration because baking soda, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and of course, the professional cleaners, are all safe on leather.

If you want some extra tips though, here’s your 101 on keeping your light-colored leather in brilliant condition.

  • Clean stains right away — the sooner you act, the higher the success rate. At first, stains should not be cleaned with any type of cleaning agent. You don’t want to apply moisture to a fresh stain, as this helps it set in. Instead, wipe away the new spot with a clean sponge or microfibre cloth.
  • Perform regular maintenance — be it frequent cleaning or using a leather conditioner, light-colored furniture always requires you to go that extra mile. Add refreshing your white leather sofa to your spring cleaning list and don’t forget to do it again by the time winter comes.
  • Consider using furniture covers — if you’re going to be away for a while, it’s good to cover up your furniture in some way. You’ll protect it from the harmful effects of the air and the sun, allowing it to preserve its original coloring.

Summary

A white leather sofa is a beautiful, but a sometimes troublesome piece of furniture. However, don’t let that derail you and settle for a stained, yellowed sofa. There are many easy steps you can take to make it look as if you just brought it over from a furniture salon. 

Get into the habit of regular maintenance and act fast when stains occur. These two things will go a long way in keeping your leather sofa in perfect condition.

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