Homemade Leather Cleaner

Today I have a little bit of nesting setting in,( could be 1 friend just had her baby today and another is in labor) :)   though I can’t act out much on it as we will be packing up for a 3 day basketball tournament… But like my mother I can’t leave my house a mess. Summer before last my husband finally bought me new couches. We had our original couches we bought shortly after we were married.. You probably are saying.. that’s just 14 years… I’ve had mine for 20 .. :) well they still looked pretty good .. but years of kid puke and other messes I had to clean off, I won’t say because you wouldn’t have wanted to sit on them LOL … I did have them cleaned professionally a few times.. really.. but regardless.. I ripped the cushion by putting the entire vacuum cleaner on them once, and my husband chasing  the kids jumped over the back and broke the couch’s frame, and we felt like we were sitting on the floor for several years…..after much begging, he  finally bought me new couches..

I’m not a leather person.. but after seeing what can get soaked into cushions and material , and with a house full of kids and new babies still coming .. I opted for leather.. Easy clean.. When I purchased the couches they sent me home with a cleaning kit. It had all kinds of stuff to clean and condition leather.. I really liked the leather wipes. They were easy and made my couches stay looking new.. But they cost a fortune and we spend a lot of time on our couches.. Having devotions, reading books, watching movies , playing wii, visiting with friends, kids sleeping on them like last night because of the bad storms that came through,  and soon that will be my new station holding and feeding baby Trenton.. So I got to thinking. How safe are these wipes and chemicals I am putting on my couches.. So after some investigating I found a recipe for leather cleaner and conditioner. It’s so SIMPLE…..

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar

pour into a spray bottle, spray  and wipe down

I added several drops of  lemon and eucalyptus oil into the mixture .. It’s what I had on hand and it mixed well in helping cover the vinegar smell.. which goes away anyway..

The couches don’t feel greasy and they look fabulous..and the oil will  help to condition them especially if you have wood heat or forced heat air..

I hope to have these at least another 15 years.. :) my husband would say a life time for what we paid.. But regardless if you spent 10 or thousands on something, you need to take care of it..


Hope it works for you… Enjoy


  1. From what I have read online.. Vinegar is safe on leather.. for tough cleaning though with out the oil you do need to dillute it with water.. Also this is for real leather not suede.. Thank you all..
    Jennifer recently posted..Homemade Leather CleanerMy Profile

  2. Also always test any cleaning product before use, on a small area.. then decide ….
    Jennifer recently posted..Homemade Leather CleanerMy Profile

  3. Leslie Beaumont says:

    Thanks for putting this online. I am going to try it as I am fed up with chemicals, too. I have two creamy white leather couches which I have had for 10 years and they still look new. …leather is fabulous! I love the idea of the lemon oil smell…anything lemony is fine by me. Off to get a spray bottle now. Grace to you!
    Leslie x

  4. Have you had any trouble with the color rubbing off? My leather couches were quite expensive but I believe the dark brown color was painted on not just dyed because there is a”faded” spot where my two year old tried to wipe off his artwork with a baby wipe before he could be caught.

    • Yes I also ran into that, My daughter spilled finger nail polish and tried cleaning it with polish remover and it faded a spot on my couches badly, needless to say I wasn’t happy.. But I noticed where we sit alot, it is fading now after 3 years. I have the purplish brown color leather, so I’m sure it will cause future problems. But the leather cleaner seems to really help keep there shine and keep the leather from cracking. Not sure how to fix the fading problems though. We bought the warranty but, I never persuded it.. Thanks for stopping by. :)

      • There are a few solutions to the faded spot problems. You can make your own all natural, non toxic, “shoe polish” that will match the color of your couch. Make sure you use very little as you want it to bind to the leather but not enough where it will rub off on people. Lastly, you can protect it with the use of an a non toxic stain and water repellent. If you don’t want to make your own. The only good one I have found on the market is created by Michael Kors. It only cost 9.99.

  5. I just tried this and my couches look amazing! Better than any other expensive product I have used!! Thank you!!

  6. I’m needing this for white leather in my car. Should I dilute this at all?

  7. I’m so excited to have found this! I just spent 45 minutes cleaning my couches & they look amazing! (I have to do all my vinegar cleaning when my husband is at the firehouse otherwise he whines about the smell….if I do it when he’s gone and tell him I used a commercial product he loves it and never complains about the smell but as soon as I tell him what I really used he automatically smells vinegar and complains nonstop…what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, plus I’m not breathing in chemicals while cleaning) Thanks for this great tip!

    • So glad I could help you.. My husband doesn’t care what it smells like as long as I’m saving him money..:) my kids do complain though too sometimes..mainly because they’re usually the ones that have to clean them..Well thank you for your comment and visiting my blog..

  8. I read that linseed oil is good to use, I haven’t tried it yet nor do I know the price compared to olive oil but thought I’d put it out there.

    • That’s good information. Thank you, I will have to look into it.

      • I mixed up 1/2 cup linseed oil with 1/4 cup vinegar to clean my leather sofa when a commercial cleaner got used up halfway through the job. It actually worked better! A LOT better!! Adding a few drops of sweet orange essential oil & pine essential oil -bc that’s what I had- hid the vinegar smell, although essential oils are a new discovery for me & I have lots to learn.

  9. Is this mixture safe to use on my leather car seats as well??

  10. Had to send a quick note to thank you so much for this…I just picked up a leather sectional that had been in storage for 6 years in a humid country…the brown leather was almost white in places…plus mold had attacked the back of it…used your formula and it absolutely gleams now…I even used it on an old wooden table and it looks nearly new! In the past I’ve made my own furniture polish with the juice of one lemon per 1/2 cup of olive oil. Shaken up it goes creamy and works like a charm…but I would never have thought to use white vinegar…brilliant…thanks again from Bermuda!

  11. I was wondering if you can substitute the olive oil for vegetable oil? I seem to never have olive oil in hand these days! Thanks!

    • I personally have never tried vegetable oil… Olive oil is just a cleaner /more pure oil. It won’t hurt to try in a small area and see how it does. Good luck.

  12. Hi Jennifer,
    I was going through my Good Housekeeping board on Pinterest and found this pin and decided to give it a try. We’ve had our leather sofas for about 4 years now and they’d never been cleaned before and truly needed it. This cleaner worked wonders! The sofas are not only clean but they shine like new! I did not experience any problems with the color wearing off. The vinegar smell was a little off putting at first but it is quickly dissipating. Thank you so much for this! Another homemade cleaner has been permanently added to my good housekeeping arsenal. :-)

  13. You may want to try linseed or mineral oil. Most cooking oils can go rancid and that is why they dont use them on butcher blocks or other wood products.

    • Good to know, thank you.. That’s why I only make a small batch at a time and use it immediatly. Because I saved some and it went rank. :) But I’ll stick with the olive oil. Just don’t make more than you need.
      Jennifer recently posted..Homemade Honey Wheat BreadMy Profile

      • Jennifer! Thanks for your interesting info about yourself. That alone is worth opening your site. What a fortunate family to have you. I have a very expensive couch similar to yours and I am eager to try your solution. Oh, I am a single male in my eighth decade and need all the help available.

        Thank you.

      • It smells like I’m putting salad dressing on my couches. Is this basically to condition the leather, because it is not cleaning it. Leather has little tiny wrinkles in it and when it gets dirty inside those, this is not cleaning the “dirty” out. Any help you or anyone else can give me would be greatly appreciated. (my couches are a light cream color)………..thank you, Barbara

      • Just tried your recipe, but had to use canola oil as that was all I had, but seems to work well, lounge is nice and shiny. Thanks.

  14. Hi…was working on ways to freshen up my leather couches…they looked so dry and dehydrated. Well I tried the vinegar and olive oil with a few drops of lemon and it was great! I found the first couch was much better….guessing that since I didn’t shake the spray bottle so much the couch got more olive oil. So keep that in mind…but the couches look amazing, shiny and not greasy!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I found this! I made a small batch: 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. With it I successfully restored three handbags, a small wallet, and a pair of shoes.

    1. Vintage Dooney and Bourke satchel bag with matching wallet: I started to freak out when it looked water damaged. I guess I was just impatient. This got into the pebbled leather nicely. It also brought out the beautiful patina.

    2. Sting Ray mini handbag: After seeing what it did to my D&B, I rushed upstairs to gather more items. I haven’t used this handbag in over 10 years and was dreading cleaning it. This concoction brought back the bag’s luster and it looks brand new now! It’s truly amazing!

    3. Black Charles Jourdan pumps: I wear these shoes a lot, and they were another great vintage find. Still, I found the leather looking dull and this did the trick! The pumps have ridges and waves, which are more prominent now.

    4. Isabella Fiore brown leather handbag: This bag looked dead, the leather anyway. Although the brass fixtures and decals were pristine, the rest of the bag looked faded! Again using this recipe instantly revived this purse! It has a rich chocolate brown color that is deeeeeeelish!

    A million thanks! Now if you’ll excuse I’m off to go thrifting. Toodles!

  16. Simple Dinners by Vicky D says:

    What kind of vinegar did you use? Pickling vinegar 5% acidity or full strength 9%? I use the 9% for everything when I clean to cut the grime and lime. Thanks you! Vicky

  17. Doing this after kids go to bed tonight! Ty , between my cat laying on top of it and etc. It needs this!

  18. Thank you, thank you I have had my leather lounge suite for 10 years and have spent hundreds of dollars on commercial products, well yesterday looking at my lounge decided it badly needed moisturising again but didn’t have any polish so decided to look on the internet for homemade polish. Found your page and already had the ingredients so we gave it a try.
    My husband and I did the lounge and it looks absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! it has not looked this good for years all the faded crack marks are gone and it looks brand new and it is so easy instead of spending hours cleaning then polishing it’s all done in one action. I am never going back to commercial cleaners/polishers again. My lounge is a dark brown and I toughly recommend this recipe to everyone. Angela

  19. Brandon says:

    Does this also work on leather cat seats?

  20. If your scratch is not too deep, there are some great methods that
    you can try with readily available products that you have at home
    or can purchase easily at the grocery store. Neglecting to take care of
    them properly make them look worse. Many people mistakenly assumed that leather furniture is high maintenance
    and very expensive.
    Leather Get Leather Cleaner Here recently posted..Leather Get Leather Cleaner HereMy Profile

  21. Will try this homemade leather cleaner. should definitly go well on my leather couches. Will give you the feedback once used… infact thinking of getting this done today itself.

    Jennifer, pls can you give me some tips on keeping my apparels smelling fresh in the wardrobe., especially during masoon..
    God Bless!!
    Valencia recently posted..Homemade Honey Wheat BreadMy Profile

  22. I am so excited to try this. I just bought a burgundy leather couch from a friend, who got it at an estate sale but it wouldn’t fit in her house. Tomorrow I am going to vacuum it real good, give it a good dusting then make the solution. I am wondering how long the lemon scent lingers. I have 3 cats and I know cats hate the scent of lemon and want to add it as a deterrent to digging.

  23. J, thank you for this formula…my Cadillac seats are a taupe color. I tried the formula, worked good on what I deem as superficial clean, but did not clean in those little cracks that appear from use. Have you ever used a soft bristle brush or soft bristle toothbrush with this olive oil and vinegar formula? Once again, thank you.

  24. Hi, I came across this today and was really excited to try it out only to discover at the last minute that I had run out of olive oil. I substituted with groundnut oil and the result was amazing on my leather dining set. Thanks so much for the tip. I also used it for my wooden doors. Great results too. Would definitely try it next time with olive oil. Can this be used on leather shoes and bagsa as well?

  25. Hi,
    I used this leather cleaner in my car on the leather and it worked wonders! My leather looks brand new and the car was built in 2003!

  26. I need a cleaner for leather boots that got some musty smell on them and to get mold off of them they are really good leather so i’m gonna try this and see what happens Im sure it’ll work great and the smell will get gone too thanks so much for the recipe.Stacey

  27. I used this homemade leather cleaner on my white sofa and love seat . It worked wonderfully they had started to show a little yellowing and it brought it back to pure white and they shine. I was concerned how they wood feel to sit on them after the cleaning re the oil but all is good. Thank you for the tip.

  28. Hi Jennifer:
    I was wondering if this combo would also work on a cream-colored leather jacket that has sweat & body oil stains on it around the neck & wrist areas? Have tried a commercial leather cleaner, but it didn’t appear to make any difference.

  29. Stephanie says:

    Where can I get the lemon oil at??

  30. Susan Donohue says:

    Thanks so much for this simple inexpensive leather cleaner recipe! I have just used it and my two recliners have come up looking amazing….much better than with the expensive products they recommended when we bought them. :)

  31. How would you get nicotine off?

  32. Hi, what kind of vinegar do you use please ..? Thank you. I have just bought an old suitcase and want to clean it.

  33. Hi, what kind of vinegar do you use please ..? Thank you. I have just bought an old suitcase and want to clean it.

  34. Love it! I hadn’t cleaned my leather couches for years, the dogs have left their marks, but this idea was fabulous and cheap. Really did a nice job on restoring the leather without leaving any sticky residue, will definitely forward this idea. Thanks,!

  35. beautiful family.. very encouraging to see another keeper of the home doing the same thing.. thanks for the advice..just what I needed. Blessings to you and yours and praise going up! Mrs D.

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