How to Clean Faux Leather Jackets, Couches, and More

how to clean faux leather
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Pexels

This guide will show you how to clean your faux leather products and how to keep them in tip-top shape! Maintenance and cleaning of fake leather products can be done naturally, sustainably, and easily. Read on to see how.

How to Clean Faux Leather

Regardless of the type of item, cleaning faux leather is uncomplicated
Regardless of the type of item, cleaning faux leather is uncomplicated
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / LUM3N)

There are many types of faux and vegan leather made from materials ranging from apple peels to pineapple and cork. These fake leathers are becoming increasingly popular because genuine leather takes a toll on the environment, animals, and humans. Genuine leather production requires animal hide and toxic chemicals which pollute the environment and often make factory workers sick.

The best way to avoid contributing to this is to buy second-hand leather, or vegan leather that is organic, 100% natural, and sustainably sourced. Polyurethane (PU) is also a popular faux leather material. However, PU is a petroleum-based, synthetic material that is problematic both in landfills and when recycled. While PU leather is more sustainable than PVC, it is far from perfect. So if you have the choice between vegan or synthetic leather, we recommend going with the vegan option.

If you are new to the world of imitation leather, you may be unsure of how to care for your items. The good news is faux leather maintenance is easy. First, always check the care label if there is one, or check to see if you can find care instructions on the product webpage. If you can’t find maintenance instructions, look at the material your item is made of and go from there. 

Synthetic leather such as PU leather requires very little maintenance as it has a non-porous surface, whereas faux leather made from natural materials may require slightly more maintenance to keep it smooth and soft. 

When cleaning, always conduct a spot test first. This is the only way to ensure that the products you are using on your item will not be harmful. Also, remember to never use bleach.

Taking Care of Synthetic Pleather Handbags and Shoes

Organic coconut oil is a great natural way to maintain fake leather items.
Organic coconut oil is a great natural way to maintain fake leather items.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / DanaTentis)

If you want to polish synthetic products such as handbags, jackets and shoes, you can use organic coconut oil. This is a natural way to keep your faux leather soft and smooth. 

Cleaning synthetic items is very easy. Any accidental spill should roll right off the faux leather, and can also be wiped away with a damp cloth. Cleaning built-up dust and dirt should be done this way as well. Take a non-abrasive cloth and damp it with water. Typically, we associate non-abrasive cloths with microfiber, but these are not very sustainable. We recommend cutting up old terrycloth, or using a natural alternative like this one on Amazon** for plastic-based microfiber. 

Start by blotting and wiping your item to clean away any grime. If need be, feel free to use a mild soap. We recommend natural organic soap.  It’s better for the environment in production and decomposition, and it doesn’t have those harsh chemicals that are hard on your skin.

How to Care for Synthetic Leather Jackets and Other Clothing

Cleaning faux leather clothing is easy!
Cleaning faux leather clothing is easy!
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Hans)

Synthetic leather clothing items such as pants and jackets are typically machine washable. Just check your item’s care instructions and make sure you wash them at the correct temperature and setting. If your item does not include care instructions, do not fret. If not specified, your synthetic clothing items most likely require no maintenance at all. When it comes to cleaning, wiping your item down with a damp, non-abrasive cloth should do the trick. You can also use a mid organic soap if needed.

Taking Care of Natural Pleather Handbags, Jackets and Shoes

Natural pleather bags are easy to clean and more sustainable than their synthetic counterparts.
Natural pleather bags are easy to clean and more sustainable than their synthetic counterparts.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / HeungSoon)

Naturally-made faux leather materials require maintenance more similar to that of genuine leather. Natural pleathers include those made from pineapple, mushroom, cork, eucalyptus, apple peel, and other natural materials. These products without synthetic materials are more porous and therefore more susceptible to cracking and drying out. To prevent this, avoid leaving your items in direct sunlight or in hot spaces like cars. 

Cleaning natural fake leather is just as easy as cleaning synthetic items. Simply use a non-abrasive cloth and some water. Gently blot and wipe down your item to clean away any build-up. If necessary, use a mild organic soap. 

How to Clean Faux Leather Couches and Car Interiors

Remember to do a spot test before cleaning your leather couch.
Remember to do a spot test before cleaning your leather couch.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap)

Cleaning faux leather furniture items and car interiors is extremely easy. Instructions apply to both synthetic and natural materials. Very little maintenance is needed for these products; simply try to keep them out of direct sunlight for long periods of time. When cleaning away dirt and dust, use a damp, non-abrasive cloth. Gently blot and clean in small circular motions. Use a mild organic soap if needed.

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** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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