Homemade Leather Cleaner and Restoration of Old Leather Couch | Tutorial

We have a leather sofa set that we bought more than 10 years ago. It cost a couple of thousand dollars. I will not have leather sofa (or any furniture) when I have my own place. I like to be able to ‘wash’ the cover.

My folks are out-of-town until Friday. I know, I should try to enjoy the rare aloneness, instead, I am doing a bunch of things that I wasn’t able to do when they are around.

First thing first, I decide to clean (thoroughly) and possibly restore the drying leather couch. See, over the years, my parents have been using all sorts of crazy stuffs on the leather couch, resulting in destroying the natural oils that leather has. I want to do this without using commercial cleaners and moisturizer, partly because we don’t have a wide selection of the product which is easily available, and due to the scarcity, it often costs a more.

I found ‘Sparrow Magazine’ and decide to give the homemade leather cleaner recipe a try.

I tried on a small portion at the back of the single couch; I got bolder and wiped down the entire couch! I let it sit for a day, and checked on it today to find the couch looking newer, so I went ahead to work on the long couch.


1. 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (I use artificial vinegar, which is easily available as compared to distilled white vinegar, from the neighborhood grocer)

2. 3 teaspoon of olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil that I use on my salad)

3. 10-15 drops of essential oil (Choose citrus or stronger scent; I only have eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint, so I use 15 drops instead; also among the 3 scents, peppermint yield a better result in concealing the sour vinegar smell)


1. Spray bottle

2. Funnel

3. Measuring cup

4. Teaspoon (or your more professional measuring spoon, I ought to get that!)

5. Old rag (clean, please!) or cleaning cloth

6. Rubber gloves (Vinegar is acidic, you want to put on your gloves to protect your hands)


(the step-by-step pictorial works fine, but I find this ‘improved’ steps better)

1. Measure 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

2. Place funnel in spray bottle

3. Pour the measured vinegar into spray bottle (leave the funnel in)

4. Add 3 teaspoon of olive oil into the spray bottle

5. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil

6. Remove the funnel, replace the spray nozzle cap and screw it tight

7. Shake the mixture

#Note that the oil will always be on the top when still, therefore be sure to constantly shake the bottle on each spray, to ensure that the mixture is mixed.

Also, know that the sofa will smell vinegar for a few hours, at least (I don’t know if lemon essential oil could conceal and neutralize the vinegar smell better though), so be sure that you do this on days that you can leave the room aired, with open doors (lock the gate, please!) and windows.


Do a patch test, see, my couch is in dark shade – forest green, so it is less visible when lightly discolored, or soiled.

A – Spray the solution onto rag/cleaning cloth and wipe the leather, or

B – Spray directly onto leather and clean the leather and spread solution out

Leather has its natural oil, it is important to maintain the natural oil from the beginning, once it’s destroyed, you cannot get it back. Our couch is badly ‘abused’ with all sorts of harsh agents not meant for leather. In attempt to restore the cracked and dried leather, I oiled the leather with safflower oil. Safflower oil is commonly used to moisturize skin and absorbs quickly, so I assume it will not kill the already quite damaged leather.

DO NOT try this if your couch is light colored, treated matt, or new.

I simply poured the safflower oil onto a rag, and rubbed into the leather; and buff it with another dry rag to remove any excess oil. Know that it will shine, but doesn’t feel oily to touch. The shine lessens by the hour. The leather feels softer too.

I am going to try the after shower spray recipe later, or tomorrow. So much to do, so little time to do them.

Buying Guide:

Organically grown Safflower Oil

Pure Essential Oils

Spray bottle (various sizes)

Funnel (Ikea)

White Distilled Vinegar (your local grocer)


4 thoughts on “Homemade Leather Cleaner and Restoration of Old Leather Couch | Tutorial

  1. Even just wiping down your leather sofa with a lemon oil can do wonders for it. It gives the leather a great shine, and helps to keep the leather healthy. Too many people use destructive cleaning supplies and don’t understand why their leather couch looks incredibly used after a year.


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