How to Clean Faux Leather

A homeowner cleaning spills from their faux leather sofa using a soft yellow cloth.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-40
What You'll Need
Paper towels
Warm water
Dish detergent
Clean, soft rags
Baby wipes
Faux leather polish (optional)

Faux leather is false or imitation leather. It is cheaper than real leather but pretty much provides the same texture as the real thing. This material is used in many products such as sofas, bags, shoes, and clothes. In order to clean stains or remove contaminants, follow the helpful steps below.

Step 1 - Blot the Stains

If the faux leather gets contaminated with liquids, vomit, food, or any other contaminant, make sure to blot it with paper towels as quickly as possible. This way, the stain to be cleaned is minimized substantially, thus saving a lot of cleaning time.

Step 2 - Prepare Soapy Water

To prepare soapy water, fill a container with warm water halfway up. Add a good dish detergent and mix well until it forms bubbles. Never use harsh detergents as this may damage the material.

Step 3 - Wipe the Stains

washing a leather car seat

Dip a clean, soft rag in the soapy water and squeeze off the excess water. Never allow the water to be dripping off the rag in order to avoid over-saturating the fake leather with water. Gently wipe the stains clean with the damp rag until the stain is removed. Wipe off the area with a clean, dry, soft rag afterward. The trick is to dampen the leather with only enough moisture to allow efficient cleaning so it can dry quickly to minimize the risk of damage.

When working on a large surface area, work on the stains one portion at a time; never wipe a large portion all at once. Use the damp rag on a small area first and wipe it dry. Afterwards, proceed to the next spot, following the same procedure until the entire surface has been covered. This will ensure the leather does not get wet for any long period of time. Letting faux leather stay wet too long may cause it to get damaged. For the same reason, you should never allow the leather to be saturated or soaked with water.

Step 4 - Use Baby Wipes for Instant Cleaning

When wearing faux leather outside the home, it is recommended you carry a pack of baby wipes. Experienced users recommend this product because it provides an instant cleaning solution while on the go. Baby wipes contain just enough moisture to clean stains away while maintaining the necessary short dry time. The product is intended for delicate baby skin and is therefore safe to use on delicate faux leather or real leather. Although the product may be quite expensive to use for larger areas, it is ideal for small stains on shoes, bags, and clothes.

Step 5 - Polish the Material

This is an optional step but is necessary if the leather material needs to be rebuffed. Spread a small amount of faux leather polish on a clean, dry and soft rag and use it to wipe cleaned faux leather surfaces.