How To Clean Faux Leather

by Albert Varkki updated 08-14-2023

Table Of Contents

cleaning faux leather

Because of ethical considerations, durability, and value for money, faux leather, also known as synthetic leather, is a good alternative to genuine leather.

Still, as with any material, adequate cleaning and care are required to guarantee longevity and a great appearance.

Here are some pointers for caring and cleaning faux leather:

5 Steps to Clean Faux Leather

man sitting on faux leather sofa

  1. Vacuum on a Regular Basis: Vacuuming imitation leather is an effective technique, particularly for furniture. Your vacuum cleaner removes crumbs, dust, and even pet hair. On level surfaces, make use of a brush attachment that’s soft. And if you clean nooks, use a crevice attachment and be cautious not to cause any scratches.
  2. Wipe Down: Every now and then, use a damp cloth to wipe down furniture made of faux leather. In particular, check the upper area of the sofa where you rest your neck and head. That part is susceptible to the buildup of oil from your neck and hair. Most folks use armrests as a prop to hold on to as they get up from a sofa or chair. Therefore, you should check and clean them regularly, too.
  3. Use a Solution for Mild Soaps: You can clean with a neutral home spray or use a mild, diluted dish soap solution. This soap’s surfactant qualities help remove and suspend soil from faux leather. Wipe it gently using a microfiber cloth. Afterward, rinse with a clean moist microfiber cloth. When you’ve finished cleaning, dry everything with another cloth.
  4. Remove Stains: If you need to clean a stain on faux leather, use a standard cleaner first. Stains can easily settle on the surface because this material isn't absorbent. If this does not address the problem, get a job-specific product. You can buy cleaning products that are specifically designed to get stains off imitation leather.
  5. Use a Vinegar Solution: You can use vinegar to clean faux leather. As a general cleaning product, a mixture comprising one part of vinegar and soap plus eight parts of water will do.

What Not to Do

  1. Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals: Harsh solvents might cause the synthetic leather to peel and crack. Always use gentle cleaners that are not abrasive.
  2. Don’t Soak the Material: Never soak or submerge faux leather in water. It isn’t waterproof, and water soaking into the material can ruin it.
  3. Don’t Rub: Always gently wipe imitation leather when cleaning it. Rubbing may cause faux leather to wear out faster than usual.

If you follow these guidelines, your synthetic leather goods will live for many years.

Remember that cleaning them regularly and reacting to stains and spills immediately is essential for imitation leather to keep looking good.

Maintaining Faux Leather

women with faux leather bag

Here are some extra tips to help keep your faux leather item in the best condition possible:

  1. Avoid Direct Exposure to Heat and Sunlight: We recommend you don't expose faux leather to sunlight and heat. Prolonged sunlight exposure may cause the leather to fade, and heat could dry it out, resulting in cracks.
  2. Steer Clear of Sharp Objects: Sharp items have the potential to scratch or penetrate imitation leather. As a result, it’s critical to ensure that claws of pets, keys, and other sharp things that could damage leather don’t come in contact with it.
  3. Make Use of Covers: Throws and covers greatly keep stains and spills off faux leather and protect it against wear and tear, too. You can remove or wash them easily. That’s why people regard them as a practical solution for maintaining leather.
  4. Do a mild clean regularly: It makes sense to go over the surface regularly to stay on top of tiny markings that accumulate as you use leather. Using dishwashing solutions, warm water, and a non-abrasive cloth is a good idea. Wring out the cloth to ensure it’s not soaking wet and wipe it over.

Removing faux leather smells

leather shoes in vacuum bag

Imitation leather can attract smells such as cigarette smoke, armpit odor, or even condiments. To remove these pungent smells, you can apply baking soda.

Here’s how to remove smells from it:

  1. Scatter baking soda on imitation leather furniture, the insides of shoes, and clothes linings.
  2. Put shoes and clothing in a container or bag and seal it. Allow the furniture to sit.
  3. Give it several hours or up to a day.
  4. Remove the baking soda using a wipe, brush, or vacuum cleaner.
  5. Repeat as needed.

How can you clean imitation leather shoes

Faux leather shoes can typically be cleaned by hand using only a few simple household ingredients.

Do the following to ensure your shoes keep looking new:

  1. Mix a tablespoonful of natural detergent with several glasses of water.
  2. Damp a cloth with your detergent mix and wipe down the shoe length.
  3. Wipe excess moisture away with a dry clean cloth.
  4. Allow the shoe to air dry.
  5. Soak a white clean cloth in melted coconut oil and massage it over the shoe in order to condition the synthetic leather.

Cleaning imitation leather jackets and apparel

women wearing black faux leather jacket

You can clean your pleather clothes by hand-washing or washing them in the machine.

Sometimes, you can only dry-clean imitation leather pieces, so check the tags before choosing a cleaning method.

Spot-treat obvious stains using the abovementioned removal techniques before washing imitation leather garments.

Here’s how to clean imitation leather clothes by hand:

  1. Turn on the tap using cold water to fill a container or sink.
  2. Mix the water with a natural washing detergent and follow the package instructions.
  3. Soak the item inside out in soapy water.
  4. Use your hands to move it quickly through the air and squeeze it lightly.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water till the soap is gone.
  6. Do not ring out the clothing. To dry, hang it up or lay it flat.

Here’s how to clean synthetic leather products in a washing machine:

  1. Turn the item of clothing inside out. You can add a clothes bag for added security.
  2. Start the washer on a gentle cycle on a cold water setting.
  3. Add a natural detergent and follow the package instructions.
  4. Dry imitation leather garments lying flat or on a hanger.

How to get rid of stains on faux leather

The simplest way to remove stains from vegan leather is spot cleaning.

To remove common stains, follow these steps:

  1. Dampen a microfiber cloth in warm or cold water. Hot water should never be used since that may warp or melt imitation leather in the worst case.
  2. Press excess water out of the cloth until it’s only moist.
  3. Gently wipe or scrape the stain.

You may have to use your arsenal of natural cleaning for tougher stains. Add a little stain remover to a moist cloth before scrubbing gently.

To remove difficult stains, you can prepare a detergent mix. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Fill a spray bottle halfway with water and add a tablespoon of soft detergent.
  2. Shake vigorously, then spray the liquid onto a cloth made of microfiber.
  3. Scrub gently to get stains off it.

What is Faux Leather?

Faux leather is made of a synthetic layer, some plastic embossed with a fabric-backed, leather-like texture.

However, faux leather comes in numerous varieties and characteristics, with the most prevalent being Polyurethane, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and Polyamide microfiber.

Polyurethanes, also known as PU, are a popular choice for the main material. PU is thought to be better than PVC since they are easier to look after and more environmentally friendly.

This is important when caring for the material. While PU is more breathable than PVC, it is still categorized as non-porous.

Therefore, marks will often stay on the surface. Yet because it’s breathable, moisture and heat can infiltrate the cloth if the conditions allow it.

Von Baer: Elegant & Professional Leather Bags 💼

von baer leather bags

Step into the world of luxury with Von Baer's full grain leather bags, handmade in Italy.

👜 Unmatched Craftsmanship. 🔝 Unrivaled Quality. 💼 Effortless Style.

Shop the range now


We hope you enjoyed our article on how to clean faux leather.

If you have any questions or comments, contact us at, or leave them in the comments.

Want to read more? Check out our Leather pages.

Related pages:

Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.