How to Clean an Antique Coffee Table With a Leather Inlay

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An antique wood and leather coffee table is an elegant piece of furniture, but over time, it can take on a dull, soiled appearance. In most cases, you can clean the table yourself, but you must clean the wood and the leather inlay separately. Work carefully and don't be too concerned with the scratches and water marks that give a table character and contribute to its historic value. Clean only surfaces that are solid and stable. If the wood or leather appears fragile, or if you have doubts, consult a professional before cleaning the antique table.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cotton cloth, soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a dusting attachment
  • Oil soap or liquid dish detergent
  • Dry cotton cloths
  • Castile soap, optional
  • Saddle soap, optional
  • Leather conditioner
  • Remove dust and loose dirt with a soft cotton cloth, soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a dusting attachment.

  • Wipe the wood with a clean cotton cloth and oil soap. Alternatively, wipe the wood with a weak solution of two or three drops of liquid dish detergent in a cup of warm water. Never use dishwasher or laundry detergent.

  • Rub gently to remove dirt, oil and grime. Use a cotton cloth to dry the surface of the wood.

  • Clean the leather inlay by wiping it gently with a cloth dipped in a solution of 1 cup of warm water and 2 to 3 drops of liquid dish detergent or castile soap. Wring the cloth so it's barely damp.

  • Remove the detergent by wiping the leather with a clean cloth dipped in warm water.

  • Buff the leather with a clean, dry cloth. If the leather still appears soiled, wipe it with a damp sponge dipped in saddle soap, then buff with a dry cloth again.

  • Dry the leather thoroughly and then apply a leather conditioner. A high-quality leather conditioner softens, conditions and preserves antique leather. Apply the conditioner according to the recommendations on the container.

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