Can You Use Leather Cleaner on Faux Leather?

Can You Use Leather Cleaner on Faux Leather?

Leather is a luxurious material that can add sophistication and style to any piece of furniture or accessory. Faux leather is a great alternative to the real thing if you’re looking for something that’s more affordable, but you may be wondering if it can be treated the same way. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer all of your questions about using a leather cleaner on faux leather and give you some useful tips on how to care for it.

Faux Leather in General

Faux leather is a synthetic material that mimics the look and feel of genuine leather. It is usually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU). Faux leather is much more durable than genuine leather, making it an ideal choice for furniture, clothing, footwear, and other items that need to be strong and wear-resistant.

Can You Use a Commercial Leather Cleaner on Faux Leather?

Although faux leather can last longer than real leather, it still needs to be taken care of properly if you want it to remain in good condition. Cleaning faux leather regularly can help keep it looking its best and extend its life span. But what kind of cleaner should you use on faux leather? Can you use regular leather cleaner on faux leather?

A leather cleaner is a product specifically designed to clean and protect genuine leather. It typically contains ingredients such as oils, surfactants, conditioners, and solvents that work together to remove dirt, grime, and body oils while preserving the natural look and feel of the material. Leather cleaners can come in liquid form or wipes for convenience depending on the type of cleaning you need.

Can You Use a Commercial Leather Cleaner on Faux Leather?

There are many different types of leather cleaners available with varying degrees of strength. Some are gentle enough for use on delicate items like upholstery while others have industrial-strength formulas that can handle tough jobs like removing stains from heavy-duty work boots.

But in general, the answer is yes, you can use leather cleaner on faux leather. However, you should always check the label to make sure the cleaner is suitable for use on synthetic materials and not just genuine leather. It’s also a good idea to test the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot first to make sure it won’t damage or discolor the material.

Still, using a specialized cleaner isn’t a must when it comes to cleaning faux leather. Obviously genuine leather needs some extra care and attention, but cleaning faux leather isn’t really any different than cleaning other synthetic materials. [1] [2] [3]

How to Clean Stains From Faux Leather?

So now that you know you can use a leather cleaner on faux leather, let’s look at how to do it properly.

The first step is to remove any dust or dirt from the surface of the faux leather. This can be done with a soft cloth or brush and some warm soapy water. Once the surface is clean, apply your chosen leather cleaner according to the instructions on the bottle. You should then allow the cleaner to sit for 15-20 minutes before wiping off any residue with a damp cloth.

If your faux leather has stubborn stains, you may need to try applying a gentle abrasive. Let’s go over the options!

Baking soda

Baking soda is an effective and natural cleaner that can be used on faux leather. To use baking soda, mix it with a small amount of water to create a paste. Gently rub the paste over the surface of the faux leather using a soft cloth or sponge. Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes before wiping away any excess with a damp cloth.

Just remember to spot-test any cleaner or abrasive on a small area of the faux leather first to make sure it won’t cause damage.

Not only will baking soda help remove stains, but it also helps to deodorize fabrics as well!

White vinegar

White vinegar is a great natural cleaner that can be used on faux leather. To use it, mix one part white vinegar with four parts water in a spray bottle and shake well to combine. Apply the solution onto the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, wipe down the area with a damp cloth and follow up with a dry cloth to finish.

You can also use white vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner by mixing equal parts of water and white vinegar in a bucket or spray bottle. Wipe down surfaces with the solution and then rinse off with clean water and allow air to dry.

How to Clean Stains From Faux Leather

Natural oils

Another option is to use natural oils like jojoba oil or coconut oil on faux leather. These oils are gentle enough for use on delicate fabrics and will not damage the material.

To use a natural oil, simply pour a small amount of your chosen oil onto a soft cloth and gently rub it into the surface of the faux leather before wiping it with a clean cloth. The natural oils will help nourish the fabric and keep it looking its best! 

However, as we mentioned, more often than not you will not need to resort to a specialized leather cleaner at all. Faux leather is tough and resilient, so regular cleaning with warm soapy water should be enough to keep it looking good. Just be sure not to scrub too hard as this can damage the material. Keeping your faux leather away from direct heat and sunlight is also a good idea, as this can fade color over time. [1] [2] [3]

How to Properly Maintain Faux Leather

Cleaning is just one part of properly maintaining faux leather. To keep it looking its best and extend its life, you should also take care of it properly. In this section, we will discuss the best tips for cleaning and preserving faux leather.

Avoid too much sunlight exposure

One important thing to remember when you’re caring for faux leather items is that they should never be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

The reason why exposure to sunlight should be avoided with faux leather is that the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause serious damage over time. This damage can include fading, cracking, drying out, and even discoloration of the material which will make any item made from faux leather less attractive in appearance. Additionally, since UV rays can cause the material to break down faster, items made from faux leather may not last as long if exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. 

To prevent damage from occurring, it’s important that you store all faux leather items away from direct sunlight and in areas where temperatures remain relatively stable. If an item needs to be placed near or next to a window, ensure that any UV protective curtains, shades, or blinds are used to help block out the sun’s rays.

How to Properly Maintain Faux Leather

Keep in mind the color transference

When using a leather cleaner on faux leather items, you should always be aware of the possibility of color transference. This means that some of the chemicals in the cleaner may cause the color to bleed onto other surfaces such as clothes or furniture. To avoid this, it is best to test a small area of fabric or an inconspicuous spot on your faux leather item before applying any cleaning products.

And not only chemicals can cause this, even other items and materials can. For example, if you’re cleaning a white faux leather item and it touches something dark-colored like jeans, the dye from the jeans may transfer onto the faux leather.

For this reason, you should always use a white towel or a microfiber cloth when wiping down your faux leather item.

Always test the leather cleaning solution first

As we already mentioned, before using any leather cleaner on faux leather, it is important that you first test a small area for color fastness. To do this, apply a small amount of the cleaner to an inconspicuous spot on the fabric and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth. If there is no discoloration or damage after five minutes, then the cleaner should be safe for use on your faux leather.

Use only natural cleaners and avoid harsh chemicals

When it comes to cleaning faux leather, the most important thing is to use only natural cleaners that are specifically formulated for faux leather. This will ensure that your faux leather doesn’t get damaged or discolored by harsh chemicals. Avoid using detergents and soaps as they can cause permanent damage to the material.

And if you consider using a leather cleaner on faux leather, it is important to double-check that the product does not contain any harsh chemicals or solvents. Also, make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them precisely.

No heat!

Another important point to consider when cleaning faux leather items is to avoid using any type of heat. Heat can cause damage such as fading, cracking, and discoloration so you should never use a hair dryer or iron on your items. If you need to remove wrinkles from an item made from faux leather, try laying it out flat overnight or hanging it up in a cool area with plenty of fresh air circulating around it.

Use only non-abrasive cloths

When you are trying to clean faux leather, it is important to use soft nonabrasive cloth. The reason for this is that faux leather can be easily scratched or damaged with rough materials. Non-abrasive cloths will help prevent any scratches from forming and keep the finish of your faux leather looking its best.

It is also important to avoid using paper towels or regular kitchen towels as these can actually leave behind bits of lint that can get trapped in the grooves of your faux leather fabric. Soft cloths like microfiber are ideal for keeping your faux leather looking shiny and new without causing harm or damage.

Protect the surface of your faux leather

Once you’ve successfully cleaned your faux leather item, it’s important to protect its surface with a suitable sealant. This will help keep the material looking fresh and new for longer by reducing the chances of staining and fading. When selecting a product to use on your faux leather, make sure that it is specifically formulated for the material. Avoid using any products that contain harsh chemicals or solvents as these can cause damage to the delicate material of your item. Instead, opt for natural cleaners which are safe and effective at nourishing and preserving the quality of faux leather.

Protect the surface of your faux leather

It is also advisable to apply a protective coating every few months in order to keep your faux leather item looking its best for years to come.

Luckily, unlike genuine leather, you don’t have to condition faux leather. Regular cleaning and protection is usually enough to keep the material looking its best. [1] [2] [3]


How many years does faux leather last?

Faux leather can last anywhere from three to five years, depending on how it is cared for. It is important to use the right kind of cleaner and conditioner when cleaning faux leather in order to prolong its lifespan. The type of care you give your faux leather item will determine its longevity. Regular cleaning and taking proper care of your leather will keep it looking good longer.

What can be put on faux leather to protect it?

The best way to protect faux leather is to regularly use a leather protector designed specifically for synthetic materials. This will help keep the surface clean and prevent staining, dirt, and other damage that could occur over time. When using a protector on your faux leather furniture or clothing, it’s important to always read the instructions carefully first and then follow them exactly as recommended.

If you want extra protection, an additional layer of water-resistant sealant can be applied on top of the protector. This should also be done according to product directions for best results. It is not advised to apply wax products or oil-based substances directly to faux leather – these substances are too thick and may cause discoloration or other damage.

What cleaner can I use on faux leather?

Generally speaking, you should never use leather cleaner on faux leather. Faux leather is made with a synthetic material, such as polyurethane or vinyl, and it requires different cleaning methods than genuine leather. Cleaning products that are designed for genuine leather can be too abrasive for faux leather and could cause it to become brittle or cracked over time.

When cleaning faux leather, the best course of action is to use a mild soap or detergent in warm water. Start by gently wiping down the surface of your faux leather item with a damp cloth and then apply a few drops of the mild soap onto your cloth. Gently rub the soapy cloth over the entire surface before rinsing off any residue with a clean cloth and warm water. You can then dry the item with a soft towel.

What can be put on faux leather to protect it?

For tougher stains or dirt that won’t come off with a mild soap, you can also try using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). Start by applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a clean, cotton cloth and gently rub it into the stain. You may need to repeat this process several times until the stain is removed. As always, be sure to rinse any excess residue with clean water and a cloth before drying your faux leather item with a soft towel.

How do you clean faux leather?

Faux leather items should be cleaned using a soft cloth and warm water. Using a damp cloth, gently wipe the surface of the leather in circular motions to remove dirt, dust, and other debris. If there are any stubborn stains that won’t come off with just water, try using a mild soap or detergent mixed with warm water. After cleaning, allow the faux leather item to air dry completely before using it again.

You may also use a pH-neutral leather cleaner specifically designed for faux leather. Before using any cleaning products, it’s important to test them first on a hidden area of the item to ensure that the color does not fade or discolor.

Can you use leather cleaner on faux leather?

Using traditional leather cleaners made with harsh chemicals is not recommended on faux leather as these may damage the material and remove its protective coating. There are some specially formulated pH-neutral cleaners available that are designed specifically for cleaning faux leather surfaces, so these are considered safe to use. As always, we recommend testing any product in a small, inconspicuous area first before using it on larger areas of your item just to be sure there will be no adverse reaction.

What can ruin faux leather?

Faux leather can be easily damaged by dirt, oils, and everyday wear and tear. Dirt and grime can cause staining, while oil from skin and lotions can create a slippery film on the material. Sunlight exposure may also cause fading or discoloration over time.

In general, it’s important to stay away from harsh chemicals when cleaning faux leather, as these may break down the synthetic material or leave behind damage that cannot be reversed. It is best to use mild detergents such as dish soap, water, and white vinegar for all cleaning needs; leather cleaner should only ever be used when explicitly indicated as safe for faux leather.

What can ruin faux leather?

It’s also important to take care when using products such as leather conditioners, polishes, and waxes. If faux leather is not designed to be conditioned with these products, then they should not be used, as they could cause damage or discoloration. Additionally, it’s important to spot tests in an inconspicuous area before conducting any cleaning procedures on a larger scale. This will help ensure that no damage occurs before the item can be thoroughly cleaned.

Can you use a leather conditioner on vegan leather?

Generally, it is not advised to use a leather conditioner on vegan leather. While some conditioners may be labeled as suitable for both real and faux leather, using them on vegan leather can damage the material and shorten its lifespan.

There’s little to no need to use a leather conditioner on vegan leather either way. This is because vegan leather does not require the same level of maintenance as real leather, and it already has a durable waterproof coating that prevents it from drying out.

Useful Video: How to Clean a Fake Leather Jacket: Leather & Fabric Care


At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide if you want to use a leather cleaner on your faux leather item. After taking into account the potential risks and benefits associated with cleaning your faux leather with a leather cleaner, make sure to consider all options before deciding.

We believe that faux leather doesn’t require the use of a specialized cleaner, as regular soap and water can often get the job done. Just make sure to not overexpose the leather to water, as this can cause it to break down over time.

For stubborn stains, a leather cleaner may be the best option, as long as you take great care to ensure that it’s used correctly and not overused. Ultimately, if you’re at all unsure about whether or not it is safe to use a leather cleaner on your faux leather item, we recommend consulting with a professional in order to determine the best course of action.

Finally, remember that regular maintenance is key when caring for any item made from faux leather. Regularly dusting and wiping down with a damp cloth is usually enough to keep your faux leather item looking like new for years to come.

By taking the time to understand the differences between real and faux leather, you can take better care of your faux leather item and allow it to last long into the future. With the correct knowledge and cleaning techniques, you can ensure that your faux leather looks its best all year round!