Get your coated leather clean and preserve it for years to come with these fast-acting cleaning tips and tricks!
Written by Audrey Swanson. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.
Leather furniture is beautiful and can add a luxe touch to any home. However, cleaning leather can be a different story in itself. It’s hard to remember what you can and can’t use on leather, but the truth is that there are plenty of natural ways to clean it apart from the chemical-laden leather cleaners at the grocery store. Today, we’ll share how to clean your coated leather with natural products, home remedies, and household ingredients that will get the job done quickly and safely.
What is coated leather?
From couches and loveseats to jackets and belts, a lot of the leather you’ll be dealing with is probably coated leather. An easy way to tell? Put a couple drops of water on the surface. If the water beads, the leather is coated. If it absorbs into the leather (like a towel), you’re looking at uncoated leather, which is cared for differently than coated leather.
Coated leather is quite a bit easier to clean than its uncoated counterpart, and is simply a leather coated in vinyl or polyurethane to ensure that it lasts a long time and has a smoother, more durable finish. If you want to get really specific about it, coated leathers are defined as, “where the surface finishes that have been applied does not exceed a third of the total thickness of the product but is in excess of 0.15 mm.” You may also be dealing with a semi-aniline leather, which is where the leather has been covered with an extra layer of pigment to provide a level of uniformity to the piece.
Basically? Your coated leather has been covered with a protective layer and, though it might be easier to take care of than uncoated leather, it still has to be taken care of well.
Our favorite products & techniques for cleaning coated leather:
Since leather can be a bit finicky, there are definitely certain techniques for cleaning coated leather and certain products to clean it with that can make your coated leather (and your patience) last longer.
The best coated leather cleaning techniques:
There are a couple of rules when it comes to cleaning coated leather, and once you get a grasp on them, you can clean your coated leather with confidence.
- Every time you’re dealing with cleaning a piece of leather furniture, vacuum it to remove any crumbs, hair, or excess debris. This gives you a fresh surface to work off of.
- Don’t ever spray or pour any liquid on coated leather -- instead, you want to apply the product using a clean cloth, and apply in circular motions to the leather to even it out.
- Leather is a sensitive material -- don’t be rough on it, but instead be as gentle as possible.
- When you’re cleaning leather, build up on what you’re using by starting with the least amount of product you may need. It’s always easier to add cleaning solution rather than to take it away.
Our favorite gentle products for cleaning coated leather:
We’re all about keeping chemicals and toxic materials out of your household, but we also want to make your life as easy and efficient as possible. Here are some of our favorite products for getting the job done well.
Real Simple Clean Leather Cleaner/Conditioner: This leather cleaner and conditioner is made without toxic chemicals, while still restoring shine and luster to your favorite coated leather furniture and coated leather pieces.
Nordstrom Leather Cleaner & Conditioning Spray: Stored in a convenient spray bottle, this leather cleaner is great for removing scuffs and scratches, spot by spot.
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Leather Honey Leather Cleaner: This leather cleaning concentrate makes sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck, and using it has never been simpler. You just mix 2 tablespoons of leather cleaner with 8 ounces of water, making it so one 4-ounce bottle will last for two 16-ounce bottles.
Natural remedies to clean your coated leather:
When you’re just not feeling a trip to the grocery store, or you’re wanting to keep your leather cleaning completely in-house, there are some simple ways to clean your coated leather with products you have at home. Especially with leather, we always recommend spot-testing first.
For a general leather clean-up:
Sometimes your leather furniture just needs a good, overall spruce up with a cleaner that you can use all over. The key to cleaning leather is to coat every spot evenly before buffing it out, so don’t be shy!
All you’ll need for this is a spray bottle, warm water, and a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap. Mix together the water and dish soap in your spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto a clean, dry microfiber towel. Do not spray it directly on your leather furniture. Next, spot test a small, inconspicuous area first and allow it to dry. If you don't notice any discoloration or bleeding, then you're ready to clean your entire furniture piece.
Spray the solution into your microfiber towel, then clean your leather furniture using circular motions. Cover every spot evenly, then buff out using a separate clean, dry microfiber cloth.
For a natural leather conditioning:
Over time, leather can look dull or scratched up -- especially on pieces like couches that are used consistently. With these easy tips for conditioning and restoring your leather, everything will be smooth and supple again in no time.
Zaino Z10 Leather Conditioner works wonders. It will penetrate your leather furniture, leaving it supple and restoring its natural luster. It should keep your leather smelling like new, and it's also designed to provide protection from the sun. After spot testing on your leather, the process is simple: apply a small amount Zaino Z10 to a clean, dry microfiber cloth, rub in a circular motion, and then let it dry thoroughly. No need to buff it out afterwards. Apply it every 90 days to keep your leather looking fresh and to improve the longevity of your valuable furniture.
When you’re looking for an easy way to spruce up and clean your leather, a gentle multi-purpose spray like Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner will also do the trick. Spray it on a clean microfiber cloth and gently rub it on your leather furniture using circular motions.
Our gentle formula is safe to use on hundreds of household surfaces, including both coated and uncoated leather, but make sure to spray it on the towel, not directly onto your leather surface. Our plant-based formula will leave your home looking and feeling clean, the natural way!