How to Clean a Leather Recliner

A leather recliner could add a lot of aesthetic value to your home. It is a typical choice if you want your room to look more luxurious—another reason people like it is that it is relatively easy to maintain. However, you need to pay attention while cleaning a leather recliner; it is not like a walk in the park.

How to clean a leather recliner in the right way? We will guide you step by step. These methods could also apply to other pieces of leather furniture.

Materials you need

Before you start cleaning your leather recliner, you ought to prepare a good set of tools. These often include a vacuum cleaner, a bucket, microfiber cloths, vinegar, diluted water, lemon juice, tartar, soap, and leather conditioner. 

We may not use all of them, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

How to clean a leather recliner thoroughly?

Once the tools and materials are ready, we can begin to clean our lovely leather chair now!

Know the type of leather

Different types of leathers may need other treatments. Therefore, we must know the leather type of your chair before you attempt to clean it.   Usually, a tag is attached to the recliner chair that shows you the leather type and how you can clean it. If you can’t find it, you could check the chair’s instructions or talk to the manufacturer directly.   

There are two main types of leather for furniture. One is unprotected leather, and the other one is protected leather. Unprotected leather comes with little or no coating so that it is more susceptible to stains. Most leather recliners are made of protected leather which has a protective pigment coating.  

In most cases, you can use a mix of soap and diluted water to clean these protected leather chairs.  

Check our recommendation for the best leather recliners. You could find a lot of good ones that are popular in the market.


When it comes to cleaning a recliner, no matter which type of the chair is, vacuuming is always one of the steps. 

If possible, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. It will effectively clean out the dander, dust, and debris, potentially leaving marks and stains on the chair later. Make sure you get the nooks and crannies where food residue often accumulates as well.

Please don’t press the vacuum cleaner too hard against the leather because it may leave behind marks and scratches. 

Another way to remove these particles is to use a duster. Lightly dust the upholstery to remove the debris further. A soft cotton cloth is also helpful as you can use it to wipe the chair down. 

One thing worth mentioning is that you should pay attention to the stubborn stains and marks while dusting and vacuuming. 

Use cleaners to remove stains

remove the stains on a leather recliner

Yes, you could go to your local store and get a bottle of professional leather cleaner, but sometimes a homemade solution is good enough. 

You could mix the mild soap with diluted water. We recommend diluted water because tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that may damage the leather. Another homemade cleaner that is also effective is the mixture of vinegar and diluted water. 

Get a soft microfiber cloth and dip it into the solution. Make sure the cloth is damp but not overall wet. Note that you should test these solutions in an inconspicuous area to prevent any damage and marks to your leather recliner.

Once you ensure it is safe to the fabric, you need to wipe the recliner down with this solution. Remember to rinse out the cloth from time to time, preventing the debris in the cloth from spreading out.

We typically do this while cleaning a leather recliner, but we may need different methods while removing various types of stains

Remove grease stains on a leather recliner

Once you find any grease stains on a leather chair, you should wipe it off with a dry and soft cloth as soon as possible. As water will boost the stain to set in, no water should be added. 

If it doesn’t work, apply a layer of baking soda to the stain and leave it for a few hours or overnight. This allows it to spot out the grease.

Remove ink stains on a leather recliner

Rubbing alcohol is excellent for dealing with link stains. Use a swab or a corner of the cloth to dab some rubbing alcohol on the stain. Then wipe the stain gently until the stain fade or disappear.

Remove darker stains on a leather recliner

If you have a light color leather chair, stains become even more apparent than other chairs. Luckily, you can get a mixture of tartar and lemon juice to get the job done for you.

Put a layer of this homemade paste on the spot and leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then use a clean and damp cloth to remove the paste.

We think these methods we mentioned above can help you to manage most stains on a leather recliner.

Dry off the chair

Congratulations! You have already finished the most challenging part of this cleaning task. Now let’s get the chair dry. 

Use a cloth with only diluted water to take away the excess cleaner residue, and use a dry cloth to dry the upholstery.

Please don’t make the leather wet while cleaning it as it will damage it permanently. 

Condition the chair

After cleaning the leather chair, you need to replenish it. Use a bit of olive oil or get some leather conditioner. Until now, your chair has been spruced up to the point of looking brand new!

How to maintain a leather recliner

A leather recliner or any other leather furniture is something that you need to take care of every so often. Instead of leaving your chair to become unbearable and getting a thorough cleaning, you’d better clean it regularly. 

Clean up a leather chair once a week to remove debris and danders, which is vital for your family members’ health.

Apply a conditioner every half a year to make it supple and soft.

Where you place the leather chair also matters. Don’t place it just under the window or close to the fireplace, which will cause drying or even cracking.

To make the recliner last longer, a recliner cover comes in handy. Find a slipcover that is on par with your style preferences, and you can build a gap between the user and the leather.

Wrapping up

Maintaining and cleaning a leather chair is vital to make your luxurious leather chair have a longer lifespan. 

We introduced a few methods in this post to ensure you can remove different types of annoying stains on a leather recliner. You may also find that conditioning a recliner is also crucial. 

Be gentle while cleaning it, as the leather is susceptible to marks and scratches. 

Photo of author
Rachelle is the founder of Best Chair Finder. She is a fanatic of home improvement, and as an engineer, she knows well about each chair's mechanism. You can find her story on the About page.