Professional Cleaning: Suede and Leather upholstery

Why employ a specialist?

Leather and suede are popular materials used in interior design, especially for upholstery. Both are natural materials - leather being tanned hide, pelt or animal skin, usually from cows, and suede being made from the inner splits of a side of leather. Leather is surprisingly resilient and durable while suede is softer, open-textured and therefore more susceptible to dirt and stains. Both leather and suede are not washable in the way that cotton or other fabrics would be – so don't shove your leather cushion covers in the washing machine! Incorrect cleaning methods can remove the natural preservative oils which leather and suede contain, causing unnecessary wear and tear. Dirt must instead be removed using special leather and suede cleaning products, preferably by a competent professional. A variety of different types and grades of leather and suede are employed in upholstery and other interior design uses, each requiring specific cleaning and care. This knowledge and expertise is what you pay a specialist for.

Available services

The services provided by suede and leather cleaners can be categorised under cleaning, renovation and protection. A skilled professional will also be able to offer you advice on how to protect and minimise future damage to the leather and suede in your home.


Professional cleaners can remove grease marks, stubborn soiling, stains from ink, felt-tip pen and foodstuffs. Substances such as wax, chewing gum and paint can also be successfully eradicated. The technology used to clean leather and suede varies, but popular cleaning methods include "Leather Master" and "Leather Magic".


Once leather or suede has been cleaned, further work is required to restore the original finish and condition. This might include re-texturing and re-tinting, which should be included as part of the service if you have paid for an item to be cleaned. Alternatively, you might commission a professional to carry out restoration work on leather or suede which has become damaged or worn. Renovation services include re-colouring where bleaching or discolouration has occurred, restoring burns, cuts, scratches and soot damage, as well as “nourishing” dried out/cracked leather or suede.


Many suede and leather cleaners will protect your suede and leather against further damage. The process usually involves the application of protective sprays and/or creams which prevent stains and premature wear. This protective barrier can also have the added advantage of retaining the softness of leather or the silky quality of suede.


Professional leather and suede cleaners can offer advice on how to protect items against soiling and staining, the most suitable products to use on your furniture and the frequency with which you should clean and treat it. Advice can also be offered on storage of leather and suede items and how to minimise wear and tear.