Remedy for a Squeaky Leather Chair

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Cows Don't Squeak

A cow's hide doesn't squeak as it wanders the field, lays down and gets back up, but your leather chair might. When the material's elasticity is no longer supported by its life force, it requires help to stay supple -- and not become squeaky. Before you can fix the annoying -- or embarrassingly flatulent-like -- sound, however, you have to find it.

Watch How You Squeak

A leather chair has potential to be part of your furniture family for decades, unless you disown it because of its grating voice. Instead of trading it for something quieter, watch -- or listen -- for the squeaking sound to find a remedy:

  •  If your leather chair squeaks as you settle into it, it may simply be so new that the material hasn't yet broken in, or aged to a buttery softness, like a worn saddle or well-traveled oxfords. 
  • If your leather recliner's frame squeaks when you flip up the footrest, the metal parts likely need lubricating. 
  • If the sound comes from a recliner's leather parts, the chair may need conditioning:

Clean, Condition and Repeat

In the creases, where the chair seat meets the arms and back, the tightly pressed-together leather-covered parts rub, and they can cause a squeaking noise when you activate the reclining motion or even settle into a standard chair, especially if it's new. Like squeaky clean shampooed hair, your leather furniture -- reclining or not -- needs conditioner. But don't condition a dirty chair, or you risk sealing in grime that'll grind at the hide. Basic regular cleaning and conditioning practices are quite simple:

Step 1

Vacuum the chair, using a soft-bristled upholstery attachment.

Step 2

Wipe it down from top to bottom with a soft, barely damp cloth.

Step 3

Dry the material with a soft, absorbent chamois, focusing on any creases that won't easily air dry, if left damp.

Step 4

Apply a quality leather-furniture conditioner about every three months, again using a soft cloth, which often is supplied in the conditioning kit.

Warning

  • Using a substandard conditioning product or improper cleaning methods can damage the leather and void the chair's warranty. Always refer to the manufacturer's care manual.

Tip

  • Test any leather-care product in an inconspicuous area, such as on the chair back, along the bottom, before using it on the whole piece.

Additional Care

  • Keep your leather chair out of the sun. Ultraviolet rays dry out leather, and dry leather may not only squeak, but crack or tear. 
  • If you plan to put the chair in a sunny location, also plan to cover it with a blanket or close the window treatments when you're not in the room. 
  • Position the chair away from heat sources, including a fireplace, baseboard heater, radiator or heat register.
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