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How To Disinfect Leather

By now everyone knows that COVID-19 is an outbreak of a virus that can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, surfaces and more. The virus causes flu-like symptoms to show up within about 1 week of being exposed. It typically lasts for about 2 weeks. Some people experience vomiting and diarrhea as well.

The virus is easily spread from person to person and it's important to take precautions to avoid being infected. That includes cleaning all surfaces in your home - especially leather furniture - with a disinfectant appropriate for the surface type. Here are some tips on how best to disinfect items in your home as well as your leather furniture.

Keep the Floor Mopped

When cleaning up an infection, the most important thing is to keep the surface area that you're touching, or walking on, as clean as possible. By using a mop, or for even better results, wet mopping, you can make a much bigger dent in the surface area you need to clean. This helps to minimize the chance of contaminating other surfaces, because moisture tends to weaken microorganisms.

Use a Disinfectant

If you're working with leather in a room where children might be playing, then you need to find a disinfectant that doesn't contain ammonia. This is because ammonia makes leather and other surfaces become extremely sticky and it's not good for children to play on. Other household products, such as bleach, may be a better option.

Use Direct Sunlight To Kill Germs

A direct sunny day will kill most germs. Disinfectant works best in a room with direct sunlight. When UV light from sunlight penetrates through the leather surface, UV light molecules react with a disinfectant. The disinfectant then gets absorbed into the leather. This process only works in direct sunlight, so do not leave it to sun bake the leather in your house! To disinfect your leather use a disinfectant (can be water or alcohol based) with a UV-C filter. Since most disinfectants are primarily water-based, UV-C filters will not be able to penetrate the leather.

Keep Alcohol Disinfectant Away From Your Leather

In general, alcohol disinfectants do not kill viruses but will burn leather. They will usually kill bacteria and other microbial life in less than half a day.

Leave Things Outside in the Fresh Air

Bring items like chairs and recliners, tables and more outside to let them air out until you have finished cleaning and disinfecting and are ready to put them back into the house. Do not touch them, let them air dry and then touch them again.

Open Doors and Windows for Ventilation

Proper ventilation is the best thing you can do to keep things such as germs and viruses at bay. Fresh air gets rid of microscopic organisms, dust, pollen, pet dander and more. 

Wipe Surfaces, Don’t Just Spray Them

Wiping down items and surfaces with a good disinfectant is way better than just spraying them and walking away. 

Spraying might kill germs, but wiping the surface will eliminate them altogether. That's why it's best to avoid using scented or foaming products, which can leave a residue and even contaminate the leather..

Use Hot Soap and Water for Disinfecting

If possible, use hot water and a microfiber cloth to scrub hard-to-clean areas on the surface. If the surface is leather, use a paper towel to wipe the surface dry.

Hot water should NOT be used to clean water-stained leather; this could cause or increase the severity of the stain.

Don’t Shake Out Your Dirty Laundry

Shaking out dirty laundry in an empty space is just asking for trouble. Dust, pet hair and outside particles will quickly contaminate an area if you do this. These particles will cling to the surfaces of your disinfected area and furniture all over again. 

Machine Wash Clothes With HOT Water

Hot water kills most germs and bacteria. This is simply the best way to keep your clothes disinfected and safe for wear, especially if you travel outside of the home frequently.

Use a Blowdryer To Get Items Dry Quickly

Hot air acts much the same as hot water. It gets any contaminants off of surfaces, kills germs, viruses and more, and keeps pollutants away by removing unnecessary moisture.

Turn Up the Heat in the House To Dry Out Any Bacteria and Viruses

Now that it's getting warmer outside, you may be tempted to air out the home. However, if you don't completely dry out the virus, it can be easily spread through the home by people or household items that are next to the infected area. 

Use Bleach When Cleaning Hard Surfaces, but NOT on Leather Surfaces

Bleach is universally known to kill viruses, germs and anything else it touches. Take a cap full of bleach and add it to water to eradicate stubborn bacteria. But don’t use it to wipe down your leather, as it will dry it out too much and potentially damage it. 

Replace Hepa-Filters for Your HVAC System To Remove Virus Particles

Replacing the filters in your home's HVAC system is drop dead easy most of the time. Having fresh filters also ensures that when you are using the air conditioning or heat, you’ll have clean air filtering throughout your home.

Leave Mail Packages Outside in the Sun for at Least 48 Hours if You Can

The sunlight will destroy the virus and any other bacteria as well letting the fresh air blow away any other contaminants. 

Leave Your Car in the Sun To Help Kill the Coronavirus

This is a surefire way to kill viruses and other nasty critters. It’s worth a little discomfort to ensure your safety from Coronavirus isn’t it?

Professional Tips for Cleaning Your Leather

Know what type of leather you are cleaning

You have to identify the type of leather you are cleaning, as different types of leathers may have their own cleaning requirements. You don’t want to stain your leather because you decided to ignore the manufacturer instructions

Do NOT Attempt To Use a DIY Cleaning Solution on Your Leather

Leather is tough but it still needs to be protected. Using some homemade cleaning solution is not recommended because you could easily damage the leather surface. Invest in some good leather clever instead.

Treat Leather Stains Immediately

Eliminating the stains before they have a chance to become established is always the best option when dealing with leather. Never let fresh stains just sit there on your leather goods, as they will damage the surface. 

Keep the Leather Moisturized and Conditioned

Making sure the leather is not too dry is crucial to the process of keeping your leather from cracking. Most conditioners will also destroy things such as mold and other damaging bacteria

You May Need To Dry-Clean Difficult Stains on Your Leather

Only attempt this as a last resort, as the chemicals from dry cleaning may do more damage than good.

Step by Step: How To Sanitize Leather Seats

  • We recommend always using disposable gloves
  • Use some straight household soap diluted in some warm/hot water, as the ingredients will definitely kill germs. It is also safe enough that it won’t damage the leather
  • Go ahead and give your seats a good cleaning, being careful to pay close attention to get the areas where your head would be a thorough cleaning
  • Dry your seats with a good quality lint-free cloth
  • Now it’s time to apply a bit of leather conditioner. This will keep your leather supple
  • Throw away your gloves and towels if needed

Mission accomplished!

Frequently Asked Question

Sanitizing and Disinfecting: What's the Difference Between the Two?

What’s the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting? Sanitize and disinfect may sound similar, but that's because they are the same thing. 

“Sanitize” means clean, in other words, the power to kill. That's different from the power to "wash." 

Disinfect means to remove all traces of disease. There are different degrees of this power, but they are all about disinfecting.

The difference between the two is really the difference between being "eradicated" and being "left alone." When you do one, you're making the area "clean" to the point that there's no way you can get any more diseases in there. The other one, which we will refer to as "clean", just means there's no danger anymore.


And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed our article on how to disinfect leather. As you now know, routine cleaning and disinfection of your leather and household goods are critical to keeping you safe from viruses and other illnesses. Happy Cleaning!