How to Clean a Leather Recliner in 4 Easy Steps

Are you familiar with the pain of noticing stains and scratches all over your beautiful leather recliner? If you have pets or kids odds are your answer is yes. Leather might be tricky to keep, and it won’t respond well to harsh measures. This is why you’d probably want to say no to strong chemicals. Read on for really useful tips on how to clean a leather recliner and keep your chair beautiful for years to come. Besides, don’t forget to get the soft cloth. This will get useful in a very short time. Just believe me.


  • You can get rid of the dust on leather furniture using a vacuum cleaner with a soft nozzle. But a more thorough cleaning can be done by soaking gauze cloth in a salt solution and wrapping it around the nozzle. Dilute one tablespoon of salt in a liter (0.2 gallons) of water. This method will also allow you to refresh the color of the chair.
  • To clean light grease, use a neutral soap solution. Soak cotton swabs in it and move your hands in one direction.
  • In case you’re not sure what kind of cleaner to use, use professional leather furniture cleaners. They form a gentle foam that can be applied to the surface. Let it dry and then clean it with a vacuum cleaner.
  • It’s advisable to test any cleaner on a small inconspicuous area of the chair, as some of them can change the color of the leather.
  • If you wish to use two different cleaners, use one first, wait a couple of hours and then go ahead with the other. Do not allow them to mix.

Also, check out: 5 Best TV Recliners in 2022 to Watching TV [Summer edition].


The first thing you need to do is to arm yourself with proper tools and supplies. Here are some suggestions for cleaning leather furniture:

  • vacuum cleaner.
  • a bucket of water (it’s recommended to use distilled water);
  • saddle soap.
  • vinegar.
  • clean cotton or microfiber cloth.

Depending on the state of your recliner, you might also need rubbing alcohol. Using leather cream to create a protective layer might be a great idea as well. 


Before you get to lather your recliner with saddle soap, remove all the dust and dirt accumulated on its surface. It’s easy to do by vacuuming it thoroughly carefully with a brush nozzle. Make sure the brush isn’t too rough and that you don’t apply too much pressure on it. Also, be sure to clean every nook and cranny, especially between the cushions and folds.

It might take some time but easy to do it. You might also want to use a soft duster once you’re done. Even the smallest remaining particles of dust might damage the leather. 


Before getting started, it’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect your leather furniture. Does it only need some light cleaning, or do you have to be especially meticulous? Does it have scratches, tears, scuff marks, or any other signs of damage? Which areas beg for special attention? Is there anything that needs to be fixed?

Once you understand what issues you need to tackle, you’ll know what areas to focus on and which cleaning means to choose.

Read this post: 5 Best Lane Recliners In 2022 To Purchase.


At this stage, you can use soap and water or vinegar and water. Combine equal amounts of vinegar and warm water in case you decide on the latter. Wet a corner of a cotton or microfiber clean cloth in the solution and wring it out to make sure it’s wet but not completely soaked. Use it to clean the dirty areas. To make sure that you don’t smudge dirt all over the surface, wash and wet your cloth a few times. 

In case you don’t want to use vinegar to clean leather furniture, keep in mind that you can’t use any random soap. There’s a thing made specifically for this purpose called saddle soap. Add a bit of it to warm water and wet your cloth in the mixture. Again, make sure that it’s wet but not dripping water all over your recliner. Pay special attention to any stains and dirty spots. 

In case of particularly stubborn stains, you’ll need rubbing alcohol. Apply just a little bit of it to the dirty spots and rub gently to remove the stains of leather furniture. This might take a while but it’s worth it.

Once you are done, wipe the chair with a soft dry cloth and let it dry out overnight in a well-aired room. Leather and water aren’t best friends, so you need to make sure it’s completely dry before you go to the next step.


Making sure your leather furniture dries out after wet cleaning is important, but you shouldn’t forget that leather must not be too dry. That would result in cracks and brittleness, and you don’t want that. Therefore, it would make sense to use leather cream (or leather conditioner) after every cleaning. 

After you gently rub the clean in the leather and make sure you haven’t missed any spots or folds, let it rest for a little bit more.


Light leather might be a special kind of pain in the neck. In this case, you might want to keep to a gentle cleaning solution using lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply the mixture to the stains and let it sit there for 10 minutes or so, then wipe gently with a wet cloth.

Here are some general tips for taking care of light/white leather:

  • remove everyday dirt with gentle detergents.
  • residual grease must be absorbed first (you can use starch for that). After that, treat the leather with an alcohol solution such as household ammonia. 
  • drink stains are especially noticeable on light leather. Luckily, you can use alcohol, vinegar, lemon juice, or ammonia more freely than in the case of dark leather.
  • bloodstains, if they can’t be removed as usual, with cold water and detergent, can be treated with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Inkblots and stains from pens and markers can also be treated with alcohol or acetone.

Planning to clean a white or light-colored leather sofa at home? Don’t forget to test the cleaning product you are going to use on a small, inconspicuous area first. And after wiping the surface, let it dry and apply leather cream.

Remember that although alcohol cleans and removes grease stains well, it can dry out the leather. So, using castor oil, glycerin, or lather cream afterward is a good idea.

Read more: 6 Best Recliner for Tall Man to Buy in 2022.


Often, unexpected stains come from food and drink. If you haven’t made it a rule to not eat when sitting on your recliner, these tips are for you.


When the stain is very fresh, don’t try to rub it off with a cloth. This will only increase the area of the stain and press the grease particles into the pores. This means that you’ll make removing it even more difficult.

Sprinkle any absorbent over the stain: chalk, talc, starch, salt, and soda will do. Give it a few minutes to absorb and then gently wipe it away. Repeat if necessary. Afterward, wash the entire area with a soapy solution of dishwashing detergent.

Remove old stains by covering them with a soap solution or Vaseline. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes and wipe with a dry cloth. That should make your leather chair clean.


Freshly spilled tea, coffee, beer, wine, and other liquids should first be wiped with a dry cloth. Make sure to absorb any residual moisture. Leave it for a few minutes and wash the area with a soapy solution.

Clean the leather from old stains in the same way as described above. First, try to soak the area with any warm cleaning solution, and then wipe with a cloth. If that doesn’t work, try using Vaseline. If still unsuccessful, you can use a solution of ammonia, alcohol, or lemon juice as a last resort. Once you’re done, wipe everything thoroughly with a clean damp cloth, then wipe with a dry cloth and apply a layer of leather cream. You can remove the unpleasant odor by adding a little ammonia to the water.

Read later: Best Power Recliners with Heat and Massage in 2022.


Treat blood marks, whether fresh or dry, with cold water or solutions only. Heat accelerates clotting and makes it difficult to clean. If the stain hasn’t dried yet, apply talc, starch, or baking soda and allow it to absorb. Then remove it and wash the area with cold water or any gentle detergent.

Soak old stains with a soapy solution and leave it for twenty minutes. Then wipe with a damp cloth, let it dry and apply Vaseline or leather cream to protect it from drying out.


A common problem with the leather is mold and mildew. Humid environments, spilled liquids that weren’t properly removed, or not wiping your chair dry after washing it are some of the things that can cause it. You should pay particular attention to recliners with lots of folds and creases.

If you find mold on the best leather recliner, you’ll need to disinfect it asap. This is best done by wiping the place with a weak vinegar solution. Don’t let it soak in though; wash the area with gentle detergent and wipe with a dry cloth. 

Bad cases of mold are unlikely to be washed with cloth & detergent. The fungus can penetrate deep into the material. It takes professional work and supplies to take it out.

Tips for protecting your leather recliner 

  1. To prevent the leather from fading and to prolong its life make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight. 
  2. To prevent cracks and splitting, position the chair so that it is away from heat sources. Otherwise, the leather may dry out and become brittle. 
  3. The chair wheels can be cleaned of surface dirt with a soft brush. 
  4. You can keep your chair clean and safe by using slipcovers that can be easily washed. This way you can bring an interesting twist to the interior of the room and change different the covers to fit your mood or season. 

How to clean cloth recliner?

If your recliner is upholstered in cloth, you’ll want to take extra care when cleaning it. To remove dirt and stains, start by vacuuming the recliner with a soft brush attachment. Then, use mild soap and warm water to spot and clean any areas that are particularly dirty. Be sure to test the soap on a small area of the fabric first to ensure that it won’t damage or discolor the material. Once you’ve finished cleaning, allow the recliner to air dry completely before using it again.

How to clean a suede recliner?

Don’t let a little bit of dirt ruin your beautiful suede recliner! In this post, we’ll show you how to remove the back of your recliner sofa so you can clean it properly. We’ll also give you some tips on how to keep it looking its best.

Suede is a delicate material, so it’s important to be gentle when cleaning it. You should also avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the fabric.


Leather furniture is gorgeous and worth the investment. It doesn’t only make your home look more sophisticated; it’s also guaranteed to stay with you for a long while. You can be confident that you will enjoy your beloved chair for a long time now that you know how to clean a leather recliner. And make sure you do it regularly. Let it be a weekend project at least once in a few months.

Last updated: 6/07/2022

About Karen Miller

Hello! I'm Karen Miller, an interior designer from Chicago with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. After leading designer at Chicago Interior LLC in 2010-2020, I started to share my expertise on home comfort. I'm excited to help you transform your home into a place of comfort and joy. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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