How to Clean Leather With Household Products

Carole Ellis

While many of us are accustomed to thinking of leather as a delicate item when it comes to cleaning, in reality you can clean leather with household products without damaging the finish or shortening its lifespan.

Keep your leather sofas plush and clean.

Whether you want to clean a leather sofa, leather boots or jacket, items on your bathroom countertop or in your kitchen cupboard can help you keep your leather pieces conditioned, clean and supple.


Test all cleaning products on a small, unnoticeable part of the leather before cleaning the entire item.

  1. Vacuum the sofa. This will pick up any dust, dirt and grime that has built up on the sofa due to general wear and tear.

  2. Saturate a cleaning rag with water. Wring out the rag so that it is just barely damp, then squirt three drops of gentle liquid hand soap onto the rag. Work the rag so that the soap and water are dispersed throughout.

  3. Clean your leather item. Use firm pressure to wipe down the entire leather item with the soapy water. Refresh or replace the rag if it gets too dirty so that you are not just smearing the dirt around.

  4. Wipe down the leather with a rag that is barely damp. This will remove any soap residue that is left over after cleaning.

  5. Wipe down the leather with a clean, dry rag. Make sure that the leather is completely dry before moving on.

  6. Massage a small amount of olive oil into the leather. Pour about five drops on a clean, dry rag and work it into the rag. Use firm pressure to work the oil into the leather, replenishing the oil only when it is clear that all of the oil is out of the rag. When you are done, the leather should not be darker, shiny or sticky. If it is, use a dry cloth to buff off the excess oil.