How to Clean and Restore the Shine to Your Leatherette Sofa


If your leatherette sofa has lost its luster over the last few months, it may be due for a cleaning. Your beautiful furniture is probably covered with accumulated dirt and sweat. If you feel intimidated with the cleaning task ahead of you, this article should quell your fears.

Leatherette, also known as imitation leather or faux leather, is a comparatively cheaper alternative to leather that is also easier to maintain. But like all furniture, it gets dirty over time. There are just so many ways for that to happen.

For example, having kids in your house increases the chances of it getting dirty. Your child’s sweaty palm can leave a definite mark on the sofa arm.

Fortunately, cleaning a leatherette sofa is far less tricky than cleaning a real leather sofa. You do not have to take as many precautions while cleaning, either. There is a good range of cleaning solutions available in the market. But you can save your money and make a simple cleaning solution at home.

Here’s how to clean and restore the shine to your faux leatherette sofa in 3 easy ways.

Method 1: Using a Mild Soap Solution

Besides being highly effective, this method should easily fit your budget.

Things you’ll need:

Method 1 things need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Cotton swabs
  • Water
  • Glass bowl
  • Mild liquid hand soap
  • Sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • White lint-free cloth
  • Towel

Step 1. Vacuum the sofa

Vacuum the sofa

Use your vacuum cleaner to clean the loose dirt from the surface of the sofa. Use the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner to clean the debris lodged into the folds and crevices of your sofa.

Step 2. Clean the crevices with cotton swabs

Step-2 Clean-the-crevices with cotton swabs

Use a cotton swab to reach into the depth of the various folds and clean as much as possible. You’ll be surprised by how much dirt settles into the recesses of your furniture.

Step 3. Pour liquid hand soap into bowl of water

Step-3 Pour liquid hand soap into bowl of water

To prepare your cleaning solution, pour 1 tablespoon of mild liquid hand soap into a glass bowl filled with water.

Step 4. Mix until suds form

Step-4 Mix until suds form

Stir the solution until suds form in the soapy water.

Step 5. Dip a sponge in cleaning solution

Step-5 Dip a microfiber cloth-in cleaning solution

Dip a sponge in the cleaning solution. Squeeze out any excess solution.

Step 6. Clean the sofa with soaked sponge

Step-6.1 Clean the sofa with soaked microfiber cloth

Use this wet sponge to wipe the surface of your sofa. Start with a flat surface. Sponge catches dirt easily, instead of streaking it across the surface. Hence, they make for a great cleaning tool that gets the job done with minimal effort.

Step-6.2 Clean the sofa with soaked microfiber cloth

Once you’ve cleaned the seats, carefully clean the arms and back of your sofa.

Do not forget to re-soak the sponge in the cleaning solution. This will also help to clean the dirt from the sponge.

Step 7. Clean the folds and crevices

Clean the folds and crevices

Step-7.2 Clean the folds and crevices

Clean folds and crevices

Once you are done with the flat surfaces, it’s time to divert your attention to the folds of your sofa, such as the seams and the piping. Use your fingers to push the cloth into the crevices and move it along inside the folds.

Step 8. Spray water on a lint-free cloth

Step-8 Spray-water on a lint-free cloth

Fill a spray bottle with plain water. Grab a lint-free cloth and spray it with water. This will prevent any excess water from coming in contact with the imitation leather.

Step 9. Clean the soap off the surface with the damp cloth

Step-9.1 Clean the soap offthe-surface with the damp cloth

Step-9.2 Clean the soap offthe-surface with the damp cloth

The sole purpose of this damp, lint-free cloth is to clean the soap off the surface of your sofa. Wipe the entire surface to remove all traces of soap.

Step 10. Wipe dry with towel

Step-10.1 Wipe dry with towel

It is not advisable to leave the surface of your leatherette furniture wet. Dry any remnant moisture from your sofa with a soft, absorbent towel.

Step-10.2 Wipe dry with towel

Stand back and examine your work with pride.

Method 2: Using a White Vinegar Solution

A white vinegar solution can work, but it doesn’t prove to be as effective on leatherette as a soap solution. This method is more time-consuming,as well.

Things you’ll need:

method 2

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Cotton swabs
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • White lint-free cloth
  • Towel

Step 1. Vacuum up any dust and debris

Vacuum up any dust and debris

Vacuum your sofa to clean it of any dry dust or debris. Clean the debris lodged in the folds and cracks using the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner.

Step 2. Use cotton swabs to clean the crevices

Use cotton swabs to clean the crevices

Clean the crevices further using cotton swabs. Push one end into a crevice and drag it along the length of the fold.

Step 3. Prepare white vinegar solution

Step-3 Prepare white vinegar solution

Prepare your cleaning solution in a spray bottle. Fill it halfway with white vinegar and add water to fill the rest of the bottle.

Step 4. Spray a lint-free cloth with the solution

Step-4 Spray a lint-free cloth with the solution

Spray the white vinegar solution onto a white lint-free cloth. You should use a white cloth, not a colored one. This is because dye from a wet colored cloth can leave stains on your furniture.

Step 5. Clean the sofa with the damp lint-free cloth

Step-5.1 Clean the sofa with the damp lint free cloth

Step-5.2 Clean the sofa with the damp lint-free cloth

Wipe the surface of your sofa with the lint-free cloth dampened with the vinegar solution. Use circular motions to take the dirt off. Always use a clean side of the cloth so you don’t spread dirt around.

Step 6. Dry the surface as you go with a towel

Step-6.1 Dry the surfaces with a towel

If you let the vinegar sit on the fabric for long, it might stain it. Hence, it is advisable to keep wiping the vinegar off as you go with a clean towel.

Step 7. Clean the tough dirt spots

Step-7.1 clean the tough dirt spots

Step-7.2 Clean the tough dirt spots

For tough dirt patches, wad an end of the wet cloth and rub gently until the grime comes off. Alternatively, you can wrap the damp cloth around your finger and rub the surface clean.

Step 8. Clean the crevices carefully

Step-8.1 Clean the crevices carefully

Step-8.2 Clean the crevices carefully

Use your fingers to push the wet cloth into the folds. Push it along the length of the folds. Keep at it until you’ve cleaned all the nooks and crannies of your sofa.

Method 3: Using Baby Wipes

This method is the most fuss-free of the three. The only downside is that it can cost a bit more.

Baby wipes can efficiently as well as economically be used to clean small faux leather articles, such as bags and belts. Cleaning bigger items that require a large number of baby wipes can be expensive.

Things you’ll need:

  • Baby wipes

Wipe the surface clean with baby wipes

Step-1.1 Wipe the surface clean with baby wipes

Wipe surface clean

Wipe the surface with baby wipes

Step-1.4-Wipe-the-surface-clean-with-baby-wipes

All you need to do is gently wipe the entire dirty surface with baby wipes. Baby wipes, besides their numerous other uses, work magic on faux leather, deftly catching all the dirt.

Discard the wipes when they become filthy. Continue with fresh wipes. Wipe the entire surface until it shines. After this experience, you might even call them “magic wipes”!

Additional Tips:

  • You can adjust the quantity of your cleaning solution according to the size of the sofa to be cleaned.
  • Thoroughly dry your leatherette sofa after cleaning it. Persistent moisture is no friend of any type of furniture.
  • Develop the habit of regularly cleaning and vacuuming your leatherette sofa.
  • Refrain from using harsh brushes and steel wool, as they can damage the fabric of your faux leather furniture.
  • Avoid eating meals on your leatherette furniture, as food spills can be difficult to deal with.
  • Never use soap flakes to clean leatherette, as they can stick to the surface.
  • Your leatherette sofa should not be kept in direct sunlight.
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How to Clean and Restore the Shine to Your Leatherette Sofa

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