How to Care for an Aniline Leather Sofa


Aniline leather is leather that is unprotected or not treated with a clear topical coating. Because of this, sofas made of aniline leather are prone to staining and fading from the UV rays of sunlight and do not repel water or other liquids the way finished leather sofas do. Care for your aniline leather sofa to retain the leather's natural beauty and to avoid unsightly stains.

Things You'll Need

  • Dry cloth
  • Conditioner
  • Cleanser
  • Condition your sofa according to the humidity where you live. Aniline leather will become dry and possibly crack if not conditioned regularly. Humid areas may require only one or two conditioning treatments per year as opposed to dry places--such as the desert--where six applications a year may be beneficial. Check with your local leather specialist if you are unsure about how often to condition your sofa. Only use a leather conditioner that is specifically designed to condition aniline leather, also called non-pigmented or unfinished leather.

  • Gently wipe the sofa with a clean, dry cloth periodically to wipe dust away from the leather so it doesn't seep in. Do not rub the sofa as that will push soil into the leather which will lead to stains or scratches.

  • Wipe spills away from the leather, carefully avoiding pushing the liquid into the leather. Use a clean, soft, dry cloth. Do not use water, cleansers or soaps as they will likely cause further damage and additional staining. If a cleanser is needed, use one that is specifically designed to treat aniline leather so it has the proper pH.

Tips & Warnings

  • Implement a "no eating, no drinking" rule for anyone who sits on the sofa.
  • Consider a finished leather sofa instead of aniline if you have smaller children or pets who will be on and off of the sofa frequently. It may last longer.
  • Test any cleansers or conditioners on a small inconspicuous area of the sofa, such as the back, before using it in a more obvious place.
  • Keep the sofa out of direct sunlight, if possible, to avoid fading.

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