Cleaning Guides, Materials

Our Top Tips on How to Properly Care for Faux Leather

September 11, 2015 6

As we are big fans of faux leather here at Danetti, we thought we’d share our top tips on how to properly care for it with you! Not only is it soft, stylish and extremely durable, but with some useful tricks and tips you can help maintain the materials quality which will keep your furniture looking good for longer. Faux Leather is a big part of our product range, so we have first hand experience on how best to look after it.

In this post, we’ll talk about the basics of faux leather to get a better understanding of how best to care for it. We’ll discuss a whole host of advice on caring for the material and the best means of protection from future wear and tear. Our 7 things to keep in mind when maintaining faux leather are located further down the page, but we recommend looking at the whole post to get a clearer understanding of the material and its qualities.

Firstly, there are 2 main points to remember when dealing with Faux leather:

  1. It’s a non porous surface so most stains will sit on the top
  2. Don’t let it get too dry. If the material is allowed to get over dry then it can crack.

So, What is Faux Leather?
All faux leathers are essentially a layer of synthetic material (a type of plastic) that’s embossed with a leather like grain and is backed with fabric. However, there are a range of different types and qualities – the most common being PVC (poly vinyl chloride), Polyurethane and Polyamide microfibre.

There’s a huge variation on the market but we only use Polyurethanes, which we often refer to as PU. We prefer Polyurethanes as they are easier to care for and better for the environment than PVC. The reason this is relevant when looking after material is that although PU is more breathable than PVC, it is still classed as non-porous so marks will generally sit on the surface. That said, it is breathable so heat and moisture means that a stain can penetrate the material if the conditions are right (or wrong!) for you.

Protection is key…

Although leather and PU can look the same, in reality they are very different! Having said that, some of the principles of caring for leather can be applied to faux leather. A protective treatment is a great precaution but with a different effect: unlike with real leather, a protective treatment won’t penetrate and moisturise the faux leather, but rather will add a thin protective layer so that the surface is easier to clean. If marks are easier to clean to start with, there is less need for the harsher cleaners which will lead to drying – a big no no with faux leather.

Here are some links to the products we have been told have been useful for the protection of faux leather (please note though that we don’t endorse these products and can’t be held responsible for the usage or results):





Do a regular very mild clean.

Mild is the order of the day when cleaning faux leather as harsh detergents will cause drying. It’s a good idea to give the surface a regular once over to keep on top of general little marks that just build up with use. We recommend warm water with some washing up liquid and a non-abrasive cloth. Wring the cloth out so that it’s not dripping wet and wipe over. Follow up by drying off with a soft cloth such as a microfiber cloth. This stops general wear and tear and everyday marks from building up and making the surface look grubby.


7 things to keep in mind when maintaining faux leather…

  • Sunlight
    Direct sunlight can dry out faux leathers. If your dining table is in a sunny spot maybe try and rotate the chairs once a month so that the same ones are not fully in the mid day sun all the time.
  • Colour transference.
    Clothes that are indigo dyed (like jeans) or strong colours can transfer onto light colours. Be sure to give this a wipe as soon as you notice it, as it’s the kind of stain that will penetrate if left. A quick wipe down with a baby wipe after use should keep this at bay. It’s the kind of stain that only becomes obvious once it’s been there a while and by then it’s generally too late. The regular once over will also help this.
  • Test First
    Anything you put on your faux leather, try on a hidden part first just to check that there is no adverse reaction. Test it, let it dry and then try on the visible parts.
  • What product?
    When choosing a cleaning product, it’s best to ask yourself ‘would I put it on my skin / body’? If not, chances are it’s too harsh for your faux leather.
  • Never reach for the bleach
    Whatever the stain, don’t use bleach. Bleach is the most drying product you can put on faux leather and it will affect the structure of the fabric and it will become more susceptible to future marking. A small mark is probably easier to deal with and less noticeable than a bit patch that has been affected by bleach treatment. Even if it does remove the stain, that area is then more prone to cracking, plus the surface could be compromised such that future marks actually sink in more.
  • Soft Non abrasive cloths
    Never be tempted to rub / scrub the surface or use any kind of abrasive cloth or sponge.  Soft cloths and repeated circular motions is all you need. Scrubbing will crack the faux leather not remove the mark.
  • Clean after cleaning
    Whatever you use to clean a mark, whether it works or not, always give it a wipe afterward with mild detergent. The cleaners will do the job but they are not meant to be left on the surface for long periods of time.

Phew! that was a lot of information on faux leather. (is the word faux starting to sound strange to you too?!)

So, to recap on what we’ve pinpointed:

Treat faux leather like your skin – avoid it getting  it it too dry and don’t use anything too harsh like bleach.

Protecting the surface makes it easier and more effective to clean. Stains will sit on the top so protecting the surface will make cleaning an easier, less abrasive process.

Approach larger stains in parts. Patch clean one bit and then when you have a successful result, repeat on the other areas.

So there you have it, Danetti’s own run down of the best ways to care for and to protect faux leather. Reckon we’ve missed anything? or do you have your own remedy for cleaning that you’re willing to share with the world! We’d love to hear some of your own hints and tips, including your opinions and experiences with faux leather furniture. Be sure to post your responses in the comments 🙂

There are 6 comments

  • Amanda Hickmore says:

    I have a biro mark on one of my faux leather chairs and it won’t come off. I’ve tried all the methods you suggest but to no avail!
    What else do you recommend?

    • Hi Amanda

      I am so sorry this reply has taken so long to come through to you….our top tip that you could try is to use an aerosol hairspray – spritz the spray onto the biro – leave it for a little bit (about a minute) and then use a cotton bud or a face cleaning wipe to wipe the hairspray off – you may need to do it a couple of times but eventually it will come off – the solvent in the hairspray will break down the biro eventually – when you have completely finished with the biro mark…use some mild soapy water to wipe the area clean to completely remove the hairspray residue etc…

      Best wishes


  • Jen Altrogge says:

    Hi Jess, thank you for sharing these tips. I used to buy leather cleaner to clean my furniture, but I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts recently about DIY leather cleaners. The ingredients are found in every house such as vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. Do you think DIY is better than detergents or other leather cleaners?

    • Hi Jen,

      Thanks for your comment, it’s a really great point! There is a definite trend towards more natural, DIY leather cleaners (and cleaning products in general) at the moment and I think different leather & faux leather pieces often require different treatment too. As a general rule, we say that for most of our furniture, anything you wouldn’t want to put on your skin, you shouldn’t use on your furniture. So in this case, more natural and often less harsh cleaners are perfect. I hope this helps 🙂

  • Spencer says:

    We’re thinking of buying some faux leather chairs from Danetti to replace some ones (from another company) which have cracked and peeled in the sun. We have them in a very sunny room. Other than rotating them round, anything else you can recommend? We’ve tried some specialist PVC protector on our existing ones but not sure it’s helped.

    • Kitt Moss says:

      Hi Spencer,

      That’s a good question! Unfortunately the sun can cause some real damage to any furniture. It can bleach the colour and affect the nature of the fabric which sounds like what has happened with your previous chairs. Rotating your chairs is probably the best thing to do, as no amount of protector will block harmful rays from the sun. If you want to ensure longevity maybe invest in some blinds to diffuse the sun or perhaps look at fabric or plastic dining chairs. Just be aware the colour may fade if left in the sun for long periods of time.

      I hope this helps!

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