How to Protect a Leather Sofa

Because a leather sofa represents a significant investment, proper care can help to retain its good looks and provide you with a long-lasting piece of furniture.

Find the Right Spot

A variety of harmful items, such as heat, sharp objects, chemicals and excessive moisture, can quickly damage a leather sofa. Take proactive steps to ensure your leather couch is protected against impending household hazards.

The location of your leather sofa within a room is vital to its good looks. Just as heat and direct sunshine can rapidly dry out human skin, the same is true for leather. Avoid placing your sofa adjacent to heat sources in your home, such as radiators, heating vents and fireplaces. And if the couch is repeatedly exposed to sun rays streaming through bare windows, it can dry out and lose its overall attractive appearance. If you must position your couch close to a sunny window, install a substantial window treatment -- opaque blinds, lined draperies, wood shutters -- that you can easily close to block the sun's rays as needed.

Practice Preventive Care

A leather sofa will lose its rich, upscale appeal if it's not properly maintained. For all leather types, remove dust and dirt from the exposed surfaces with a large furniture duster, dry lint-free cloth or a soft furniture brush attached to your vacuum cleaner. Expensive leather couches use top or full-grain leather. Full-grain leather shows all the natural marks and scars on the leather making it a durable choice for families with pets and children, while top-grain leather has been sanded to remove these marks, making it more susceptible to surface scratches. Even if the tag says genuine leather, it typically consists of split-grain leather taken from the lower animal hide, which makes it softer, but not as durable as top or full-grain leather.

Keep It Healthy

Apply a conditioning product every three to four months to help keep your sofa soft and supple based on its leather type, coloring and finish. Aniline leather consists of a dye added to the leather without other protective coatings, which retains the natural characteristics of the leather. Semi-aniline leather also keeps this natural appearance, but it is more durable than aniline because it contains a light protective surface coating with a pigment in it, resulting in a more consistent color across the sofa. Pigmented leather has a polymer coating with pigment in it across the surface of the leather, a common choice for sofas, because of its resistance to fading and cracking.

Check the Care Tag

Look at the attached cleaning tag on your leather sofa to discover the recommended methods to clean and protect the specific type of leather. If you buy a new leather couch, you can also ask the retailer how to care for and protect the specific type of leather to keep it looking fresh and new. You can take the best care of your leather sofa when you know whether it has been dyed, pigmented or coated or whether it comes from the top or lower hide of the animal.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.