What Do You Clean a Dusty Leather Couch With?

A leather couch makes a classy addition to just about any home's décor, but not if it's coated in sneeze-inducing dust. Whether you just scored a fabulous deal on a neglected leather sofa at a second-hand store or simply forgot to stick with your household dusting regimen, knowing the proper technique for cleaning a dusty leather couch can mean the difference between a well-maintained leather sofa and a permanently damaged one.

The Facts

Cleaning dust from a leather sofa is typically a simple process.

A light coating of dust on a leather couch is nothing to get worried about. You can generally get rid of this kind of dust quite successfully using a feather duster or cleaning cloth. Start at the highest parts of the couch and move your chosen dust-busting tool systematically across the surface of the couch in short, gentle motions to get rid of the dust particles. Make your cleaning cloth even more effective at removing the dust by dampening it slightly with lukewarm water.


Follow up your dusting with a thorough examination of your leather couch to ensure that you've completely removed all of the dust. On some couches, such as those that feature leather piping or buttons, you may need to use a tooth brush to get rid of any stubborn dust particles remaining on the leather. If you need to do this, opt for a fine-bristled tooth brush and rub gently to minimize scratching and potential damage to the leather, especially if the leather is already worn or wearing thin.


A dusty leather couch that has been left alone for an extended period of time may show signs of water spots, which -- combined with the dust -- could lead to cleaning challenges. In most cases, a quick dusting will remove the majority of the dust and you can tackle the remaining spots of stuck-on dirt with a dampened cleaning cloth. To make the removal process go more quickly, simply dab a bit of mild baby shampoo directly on the spot and rub it gently into the leather with the dampened cloth to help remove the mud spot. Once you've completely ditched the dust, make the commitment to keep it from coming back by dusting your leather sofa once weekly.


Never use harsh cleaners or strong soaps to remove dust or other dirt from your leather couch. Doing so could lead to burns, marks or discolorations on the leather, which devalues your sofa and shortens its lifespan. Additional substances you should never use for cleaning a leather couch include saddle soap, strong detergents, ammonia, alcohol and oils, cautions Mary Findley, coauthor of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning."