Leather furniture care

How to take care of a Chesterfield sofa

So, the day is finally here… You’ve made your decision that will change the rest of your lounging days – you’ve decided on an exquisite leather, Chesterfield sofa! 

But then the realisation hits and you ask yourself ‘How do I take care of it in the best way possible?’ Not only do you need to know how to maintain leather, but a Chesterfield is in a class of its own! 

Using our handy guide, you’ll ensure your Chesterfield lives a long, healthy, and happy life alongside you and your loved ones. There are some specific dos and don’ts that we will go through with you and make sure it all makes clear, perfect sense! Although we can’t make you a leather upholstering specialist, we can ensure you know how to treat it with the utmost TLC.

Leather ‘do-nots’ 

If you’ve had experience of leather furniture before, you’ll know there’s some definite no-nos when trying to ensure their longevity and keep their prestige exterior facades. Here is a succinct list of how to take care of a Chesterfield sofa whether you’re new to owning one, or just feel like you need a refresher: –

  • Keep your leather furniture away from direct sunlight and heat
  • Don’t overdo it on the cleaning products – sometimes less is more 
  • Watch out for sharp objects, e.g., claws, knives, sharp corners, and edges
  • Plump it up – gently and often
  • Dust and vacuum with the rest of the house – it’s a central part of your home, after all
  • Always test a small, unseen patch before cleaning
  • Proactively protect your leather – as frequently as you can 

Longevity of leather 

Here at Chesterfields, it’s not that we’re even remotely biased, we just know for certain that leather is the best sofa choice – an undisputed fact. 

One of the main benefits of leather is its longevity in its ability to maintain a pristine, polished appearance. Its fibres are incredibly stable and durable because the grain has not been removed. There is less moisture in the leather from any prolonged contact as the grain has a characteristic of breathing. 

Due to this, you’ll find that you can look forward to welcoming an elegant piece of furniture into your home that will only gain character with use. If only everything did the same, hey?!

Leather: high maintenance vs. low maintenance? 

As with anything, when understanding how to take care of a Chesterfield sofa you will encounter various differing views and opinions. The good news, the pros most definitely outweigh the cons! Because leather undergoes such an extensive production process, most of the ‘hard work’ is already completed by the time you claim it as your own.

However, to make sure your sofa maintains its timeless looks, you will need to give it the care and attention it deserves. Leather is sometimes thought of as high maintenance, but with the right approach, you can keep your piece in great condition, with little need for expensive cleaning or rejuvenation. Maintenance is better than re-purchasing, let’s face it. 

With this in mind, we’ve put together this guide to cleaning and maintaining your leather furniture upholstery. Follow the advice here, and you can keep your sofa or chair looking like new for many years to come.

Sounds obvious – regularly clean and condition your leather sofa 

You’d be surprised to hear how often people tell us they didn’t realise they had to care for their leather sofa in any way shape or form. So, from the off, we like to drill this clear, important message in when answering ‘how to take care of a chesterfield sofa’ – conditioning is key!

Leather contains oils that need to be replenished every so often. These oils help to keep the upholstery soft and supple to the touch. But regular use can diminish its natural properties (wear and tear, as we call it). This is why it’s important to use a specialized conditioner on your sofa, which will give it a new lease of life and help prevent it from drying out and cracking.

At Chesterfield Sofa Company, we offer expert advice pre- and post-sale, but also stock a wide range of cleaning kits. These kits are specialist product lines that also contain Leather Protection Cream that will condition your upholstery and protect it during day-to-day use. 

Not only does this cream re-fortify the material, it also applies an invisible coating that resists any spills that contact the surface. See it as an invisible safety blanket for your sofa. 

Thanks to this extra layer, stains will be easier to clean should they occur, while natural leather dye transfer will also be reduced. This specialist product is designed with all types of leather in mind, including aniline, semi-aniline, and pigmented.

What does cleaning leather entail?

Cleaning your leather involves a very specific set of routines, skills, and knowledge. 

Leather is a hardy material that, if cared for, will only get better over time. However, without a regular cleaning routine, your sofa can soon begin to look a bit tired and worn out.

You need to dedicate some cleaning time, at least once a week, in order to fully care for your leather furniture. However, just as in life, this is individual to you and your sofa, so you may find you might need to up this to twice a week, depending on the amount of usage your sofa gets. 

Be sure to clean every part of your Chesterfield, as there will most likely be a slight alteration in the colour of your leather when it has been treated. This way you’ll avoid having furniture with mismatched upholstery.

Follow these steps with care and attention:

  1. With a soft (microfibre) cloth, go over your upholstery to brush off any dirt or dust that might have settled on the surface. To get into the smaller areas of your sofa, use a vacuum equipped with a soft brush attachment. (You may find a specific hoover brand that can come apart will be most useful for those hard-to-reach areas)
  2. Next, use a damp cloth to wipe the upholstery of your sofa. It’s best to use distilled water if you can, as the chlorine in tap water can damage the finish on leather over time. But don’t worry too much if this isn’t readily available this time. Before you do this for the first time, test how your material takes to water on a part of the couch that is hidden from sight. Take great care not to soak your sofa, as leathers do not take kindly to large quantities of liquid! 
  3. At least once every two to four weeks, you should use a specialized cleaning product to treat and cleanse your sofa’s upholstery. This is something we can help and advise on, so please feel free to ask us. Steer clear of using all-purpose wipes and sprays from the supermarket, as they can contain harsh chemicals that can irreparably damage your sofa. Instead, use a soft cleaner that is proven and tested to work on leather — we recommend the Soft Cleaner for Leather included in our leather care kits, which can be safely used on all leathers, including aniline, semi-aniline, and pigmented. Again, this is something we would be more than happy to assist you with. 
  4. Leave your sofa to dry naturally but avoid sitting on it. This is crucial for the drying process to happen organically. This way, the material will stay shaped around the contours of your sofa with no creases. You can speed up this process by opening a few doors and windows to create a good flow of air through your home.

Special note: please be aware that dye from none-colour fast clothing and garments can transfer onto leather/fabric and is usually more noticeable on light leather/fabric colours such as whites, creams and ivory. We also recommend to always check your labels on your clothing and garments for further information. There really is a lot to consider, but the joy and beauty of your leather Chesterfield will be more than worth it – we promise!

Positioning of your sofa is key

It’s seldom thought about, as we tend to worship the rarity that is sunlight here in the UK – but sunlight and heat sources really are damaging for your leather sofa. 

Sunlight and other heat sources (central heating, radiators, heaters and lights) can cause fading and other damage to your leather. As previously mentioned, conditioning your sofa helps to keep it soft and supple, but did you know that extended, prolonged exposure to sunlight and other heat sources is one of the root causes of dryness and cracking within leather? 

Positioning your new sofa (especially a prestigious Chesterfield) in a spot away from windows that get a lot of sunlight, fireplaces, air conditioning units or radiators really can preserve the look and condition of its upholstery. Of course, it’s impossible for your sofa to avoid light and heat completely but minimising contact can really prolong its life.

Buff your leather and plump your cushions to preserve their natural shine

One of the best things about owning a brand-new leather sofa is the beautiful, natural shine that radiates from it. The most effective way of preserving this quality is to regularly buff its upholstery with a microfiber or soft cloth, which will ensure your leather beauty keeps its shine and allure. Buffing (polishing, to you and I) is also a great way of reducing the appearance of scratches and scuffs that your sofa will pick up with regular use. Once we accept this is inevitable and character building for your leather sofa, this is half the battle won! Life happens and as a part of this, so do accidents. 

Keeping your couch nice and clean is important, but so is maintaining its shape so it looks great and provides maximum support. Just as you do with a cushion that has been sat on for a little too long (when it starts to look flat), your leather cushions need this level of consistent care too. Plumping your sofa’s cushions up at the end of every day will go a long way towards keeping everything in its right place, and it doesn’t take long to do at all. As we like to say here at Chesterfield Sofa Company, prevention is better than any cure!

Furthermore, carrying out this simple act will keep unnatural creases forming in the leather, as once it is creased, it’s nigh on impossible to eradicate them! 

If your sofa has a feather of fibre filling, plumping is absolutely essential, as they don’t have the inherent ability to bounce back like foam does. The inner materials of your sofa can be discussed in detail with us in the initial consultation phase, so do not worry.

How to avoid the spilling panic

Chances are within your busy life, you either have pets or children, or both. As wonderful as these family additions are, they come with mess! So accidents are bound to happen eventually. 

Luckily, leather has a reputation for being more durable than other upholstery materials, and rightly so. However, it is still vulnerable to staining when liquid or food is spilt – nothing is immune from this! Thankfully, reacting quickly to a spill and cleaning it up in the right way can hugely reduce the chance of your sofa becoming marked or stained. 

This makes it essential to always have the right know how and items at hand to swiftly clean up any mess.

Blot – don’t rub or wipe

The first thing you should do is to take a dry cloth or piece of durable kitchen roll and carefully blot the spillage area — take great care to avoid wiping, as this can ingrain the liquid into the leather even further. 

If you are quick enough, the majority of the spill can be absorbed into the cloth before it soaks into the upholstery, removing the need for deeper cleaning. This is always the best-route. A protective treatment, such as the cream we mentioned in the conditioning section, can also slow any staining. 

If you need to do a little more than blotting, a damp cloth can be applied gently. However, please note that greasy or oily spillages can be made worse when encountering water, so this should be avoided. Always take care to note what the offending stain is made up of, before attempting to clean it. 

Severe spillages

With leather you can still tackle more severe spillages with a specialist leather cleaner which can often take care of the problem without any stain forming. However, as with anything, this isn’t always guaranteed. Therefore, you should always be sure to keep a good stock of this product in a place you can reach quickly whenever you need it. 

This is an important point to remember, especially if you haven’t previously owned any leather furniture. If you buy a new type of cleaner, remember to try it out on an inconspicuous section of your sofa first, just to check it doesn’t have an adverse effect. 

For more in-depth stains such as ink, oil, and grease, feel free to drop us a line and we can assist in any way we can. 

Unsuspecting dangers

Alongside spills, there are also a few other dangers that you need to keep an eye out for that could damage your leather sofa’s upholstery. You should be wary of clothes, blankets, and pillows that are not colour-fast. In simple terms, this means that the material they are composed of does not hold its dye very well, becoming prone to transferring markings to everything you sit on or brush up against. 

This can be problematic when these materials are wet or damp. Should you own any items like this, you should keep them well away from your new leather sofa.

Inconspicuous items

There are so many household items that can also inflict damage onto your leather sofa. Items that you may not even consider, such as keys, scissors, clothing studs, belt buckles and buttons. All seemingly innocent but can mark your sofa if not careful.

If you wish to learn more about protecting your leather sofa from pets, feel free to check out our earlier blog article with handy tips and tricks!

Don’t just take our word for it! 

Even though we regard ourselves as highly trained, leather experts, we felt it only fair to give you other literature on how to take care of a Chesterfield sofa. In this article, you will pick up more, quick tips!


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