How to Clean Leatherette

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with crevice tool

  • Dust cloth

  • Bowl of warm water

  • Mild dish or hand soap

  • Soft, white hand towels or rags

  • Cotton swabs

A quality leatherette has the good look of leather without the high-maintenance requirements for cleaning and preservation. Regular vacuuming and cleaning keep this leather-like vinyl material in top shape. You don't need a specialized vinyl or faux leather cleaner; regular mild soap and water will do.


Step 1

Vacuum leatherette upholstered furniture to remove dust and debris. Remove any cushions or pillows if possible and vacuum the exposed areas. Use the crevice tool to reach into cracks and deep indentations. For a flat surface such as an upholstered desk pad, use a dust cloth instead.


Step 2

Add a squirt of liquid dish soap or hand soap to a bowl of warm water. Dip a soft white hand towel or rag into the water and swirl it around a bit. Wring out most of the liquid from the towel.

Step 3

Wipe down the entire leatherette surface with the mild soapy solution. Wet another white towel with plain water, wringing out most of the water, then wipe down the leatherette again. Dry the leatherette with another white towel.


Step 4

Wet a cotton swab to clean dirty grooves and indentations in leatherette furniture, such as near piping or around buttons on tufted cushions. Dry the areas with a towel wrapped around your finger.


White towels are not dyed, so there's no chance of color bleeding onto the leatherette, which may stain it.

Remove ink by blotting the affected area with rubbing alcohol poured onto a cotton ball. Test an inconspicuous area first to make sure the alcohol won't affect coloring. Alcohol may be used to remove mildew in the same fashion.

If chewing gum sticks to the leatherette, place a zippered plastic bag of ice over the gum for several minutes until the gum hardens. Pick the gum away with your fingers or a plastic spoon.


references & resources

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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