Being human comes with several bodily functions that many people deem unpleasant or annoying, and one of them is sweating. As a result, if you own a leather couch, it is bound to get sweat on it at one point or another.
This is precisely why you should be well informed as to how sweat and body oils can affect your leather couch, as well as other items that include leather, such as jackets and car seats. Fortunately, this article holds all the information you need, so read on to learn about whether sweat can damage a leather couch.
How Sweat Affects Leather Furniture
To understand how body sweat affects leather, you must look at the difference in pH levels between sweat and leather.
The pH level for human sweat is typically 7.4, making it slightly alkaline, whereas leather’s pH levels are usually between 4.5 and 5.5, so it is acidic. You might remember from grade school how vinegar, an acid, and baking soda, an alkaline, react when combined—they basically explode, albeit in a fizzy, more gentle way than one might imagine a typical explosion to be.
This same reaction occurs on a smaller scale on your leather couch when sweat sits on it for extended periods of time. This is why cleaning your leather couch of body oils and sweat quickly and effectively is important for keeping your furniture in pristine condition for decades.
How to Clean Off Sweat and Oils
It is important to clean body oils and sweat from your leather couch as soon as it makes its way onto it. There will be a greater chance of it penetrating deep into the leather, making it even more difficult to get rid of these damaging bodily fluids when you finally do get around to cleaning it.
There are a few methods that you can use to effectively clean your leather couch of sweat, oils, and other dirt and grime. Some are better utilized for certain cleaning tasks than others, as you will see.
Warm Water and Soap
The most cost-effective way to clean your leather couch is by mixing warm water with a bit of gentle dish soap. Make sure you wipe away or vacuum up any crumbs, animal fur, or other debris from your furniture prior to cleaning it with the warm water and soap solution.
Dampen a soft washcloth with the soapy water, and wipe down your couch with it, then buff the leather dry immediately afterward.
50/50 Water and Vinegar Solution
You can use the same method as described above but with a vinegar and water solution instead of warm water and soap. Vinegar is great for both deodorizing and disinfecting surfaces.
Simply mix vinegar and water together using a one-to-one ratio, and wipe your furniture down with a washcloth dampened with it after you remove all debris from your couch.
Rubbing Alcohol for Stains
If your leather couch has any stains on it, which is inevitable for most people, you might be able to get rid of them with rubbing alcohol. If you have mildew or ink on your leather couch, pour a bit of rubbing alcohol onto a washcloth, and gently dab at the stain until it is totally removed from the leather.
Ice to Remove Sticky Substances
In the case that your leather furniture has something sticky on it, or if candle wax has been spilled onto it, there is an easy trick you can utilize to get the leather clean. It involves the use of cold temperatures.
Fill a sealable plastic bag with ice cubes, or take a bag of frozen peas or other food, and place it onto the affected area of your couch. Let it sit there for a few minutes, then pick up the bag, and immediately start working on peeling off the unwanted substance.
You will find that this is a very effective and easy method for removing certain things from your leather furniture.
Leather-Specific Cleaning Solutions
You can opt for utilizing store-bought cleaning solutions that are designed specifically for use on leather surfaces. Some people find these products to be very effective at cleaning their leather furniture, whereas others believe that more cost-effective, homemade solutions work just as well.
When you opt for utilizing a store-bought cleaning product, you should test out a bit of the solution on the leather before you wipe down the whole couch with it. This is to make sure that the cleaner will not damage the leather on your couch.
There are a few steps you can take to help prevent sweat, oils, and general messes from penetrating your leather couch.
One way is to use a leather conditioning cream on your piece of furniture once or twice each year, as it will act as a layer of protection. Similar to using a cleaning solution on your leather couch, you should make sure to test a bit of the conditioner on a small area of the leather to be certain it will not damage the surface prior to adding it to the entire piece of furniture.
Another preventative measure you can take is to cover up the parts of your leather couch that get the most sweat and oils on it, such as the back head rest. You can throw a blanket on the back of it to act as a barrier.
Finally, if you want to prevent a lot of sweat from getting on your nice leather couch, you should most certainly avoid taking naps on it. This just gives your body the opportunity to sweat on it for hours.
As you have found out, sweat can definitely damage your leather couch, which is why you should do all you can to prevent it from getting on your furniture in the first place.
Luckily, in the case that bodily fluids do get on your leather couch, you should know the exact steps you need to take to keep it from damaging the leather too much.