How to Clean Faux Leather

Faux leather or fake leather may be an imitation of the authentic one, but it’s hard to argue that it shares the same feeling and look. Of course, many people opt for faux leather because it is cheaper than real one.

You may be wondering about the difference between faux and real leather. The latter is created from animal hides like buffalo, cattle, oxen, and sheep, among others. On the other hand, faux leather is a synthetic material from plastic that’s treated with wax, polyurethane, or dye to enhance color and emulate the texture of the authentic one.

Although faux leather isn’t real, it can last long and is not being peeled fast if it’s well maintained and regularly cleaned. But how do you clean faux leather? You don’t need to buy a specialized cleaning solution to get the job done. Continue reading to know more.

How to Clean a Faux Leather Couch

How to Clean a Faux Leather Couch

Faux leather is commonly used in couches. The material is not only preferred because of its low cost but also because it looks and feels like real leather.

Moreover, synthetic leather holds better dye compared to real leather meaning it can be available in a wider range of styles and colors. Faux leather couches are also low maintenance, meaning little effort and time are needed to keep them looking brand new. 

There are many homemade cleaning solutions that you can apply to clean faux leather. But before trying any of these solutions, you should try them first on an inconspicuous part of the couch, like its back panel or below its armrest cover.

Rubbing Alcohol

You can try using rubbing alcohol to get rid of noticeable stains or dirt on a faux leather couch. You might be surprised to learn that this common household item has good stain-removing properties. It is capable of removing tough stains and mildews on faux leather. Clear the couch’s surface of any dust and debris using a microfiber towel.

Then gently apply the rubbing alcohol on the affected area with a lint-free cloth. Rub it thoroughly. Once the stain has been removed, buff any remaining solution left on the couch surface with a soft and soggy fabric.

Liquid Dish Soap

Liquid dish soap may also be effective in cleaning faux leather. Mix two teaspoons of liquid dish soap with a cup of warm water. Then pour this into an empty spray bottle and spray the solution on the stain. Using cotton balls, rub the stain lightly in a circular motion. Once the stain has been removed, get rid of the leftover soap residue by wiping the couch with damp fabric.

Distilled White Vinegar

If those two solutions don’t work, you can try cleaning the faux leather couch with distilled white vinegar, which is an excellent stain remover. Mix a cup of distilled white vinegar with a half cup of lukewarm water and pour this into an empty spray bottle. Spritz the solution on the stain and rub it with a lint-free cloth until the stain has been removed.

Mild Detergent

You can also use mild detergent to clean faux leather couches. But you’d want to use only mild detergent and not one with harsh chemicals as the faux leather may get damaged. Mix one-half cup of mild detergent with one cup of warm water and fill it on an empty spray bottle. Shake the solution well and spritz this on the stain. Wait for 3 minutes before scrubbing the area with a dry fabric.

Vinegar and Olive Oil

You may also combine vinegar and olive oil to get rid of stubborn stains or mildew on a faux leather couch. Combine two cups of vinegar with a cup of olive oil and mix it well in a bowl. Dip a microfiber towel into this homemade solution and squeeze the excess liquid. Gently rub it on the stained part of the couch and repeat this if necessary.

Baking Soda

Finally, you may use baking soda to get rid of stubborn stains and oil on a faux leather couch. It can also help in removing unwanted odors from the couch. Sprinkle baking soda on the affected part of the couch and then leave it overnight. Wipe it out with a wet towel the next day.

How to Clean Faux Leather Shoes

How to Clean Faux Leather Shoes

But how do you clean other things made of faux leather-like shoes?

For faux leather shoes, begin by mixing equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. Dip a cloth into this solution and use this in wiping off any excess soil or dirt. This is particularly useful in removing winter salt stains.

For scuffs on faux leather shoes, you’ll need a soft cloth and petroleum jelly. Apply a dab of petroleum jelly on the affected part of the shoe and then buff it using a soft cloth. To restore its old shine, sprinkle glass cleaner and then buff it using the soft cloth.

How to Clean a Faux Leather Bag

How to Clean a Faux Leather Bag

You can also clean faux leather bags with common items you’d likely find at home. Faux leather handbag is usually a plastic or vinyl material that looks like it is made of real leather.

You’ll need three soft clean rags, mild soap or detergent, and warm water. Mix the mild soap or detergent with warm water, and then dip a rag into this homemade cleaning solution. Remove excess water and wipe down the purse. Dip another rag into the solution and rub it against the handbag. Dry your handbag using the last rag.


Faux leather may not be the real thing, but there are lots of reasons why it’s widely used in handbags, couches, and shoes, among other items. It looks and feels like real leather. It’s also way cheaper and easier to maintain.

Cleaning faux leather isn’t that much of a challenge. As you have realized after reading this article, you’ll only need some common household items to clean faux leather.

So, why don’t you start trying the tips shared in this article? You’ll be surprised to find out yourself how easy it is to clean faux leather.