How to Clean Imitation Leather? – Tips and Tricks for Best Results

Ever looked at your favorite imitation leather jacket or couch and thought, “How on earth am I supposed to clean this without ruining it?”

You’re not alone. Many of us love the sleek look and feel of imitation leather, but keeping it clean can feel like a daunting task.

But don’t worry, I’ve been there too, and I’ve got your back.

In this blog post, we’re exploring the secrets of cleaning imitation leather.

We’ll tackle all your burning questions and concerns, like removing stubborn stains, dealing with everyday dirt, and making sure your items stay fresh and fabulous.

And trust me, it’s easier than you think!

How to Clean Imitation Leather Infographic

 Pre-Cleaning Considerations

Read the Care Instructions:  Take a moment to check what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning your imitation leather item.

Test in an Inconspicuous Area: I’ve learned from my experience that doing a patch test in a hidden corner can save you from potential disasters. It’s like a sneak peek into how your imitation leather will react to the cleaning solution.

Remove Excess Debris: Before applying any cleaning solution, gently brush or wipe away excess debris, dirt, or dust from the surface of the imitation leather.

Ventilation and Protection: Ensure that the area where you will be cleaning the imitation leather is well-ventilated to allow for proper airflow.

How to Clean Imitation Leather?

Depending on your imitation leather item and its level of grime, you can choose between gentle hand-washing or a machine-assisted cleaning approach.

Let’s explore the specifics of each method:

Materials Required

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mild soap or detergent
  • Water
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Mild detergent
  • Soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner

1. Cleaning Imitation Leather by Hand

Hey there! So, when it comes to cleaning your imitation leather items by hand, it’s all about being gentle yet effective. 

  • Mix up a Gentle Solution: Grab mild detergent and mix it with water to create a nice, gentle cleaning solution. We want to keep things mild to protect that imitation leather.
  • Dampen Your Cloth: Dip a soft cloth in your cleaning solution and give it a good wring to get rid of excess water.
  • Gently Clean It: Time to give your item some love! Use your damp cloth to lightly scrub the surface. If there are stubborn stains, focus on those areas, but remember not to go overboard with pressure.
  • Dab Away Excess Moisture: Once clean, use a clean, damp microfiber cloth to rinse off any soap residue
  • Let it Breathe: Pop your item in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat to air dry completely. We don’t want any mildew surprises, right?

2. Cleaning Imitation Leather by Machine

Now, if you’re thinking of throwing your imitation leather item into the washing machine, here are a few tips to get it right:

  • Check the Label: Always check the care label to see if your item is machine washable.
  • Go Gentle: If it’s machine washable, opt for a gentle cycle to keep things easy on your imitation leather.
  • Water Temperature and Detergent: Stick to cold water and a mild detergent made for delicate or synthetic materials. Say no to bleach and harsh chemicals.
  • Air Dry: Once the washing is done, take out your item and lay it flat to air dry. No dryer adventure – keep your imitation leather looking fab!
  • Finishing Touches: After it’s all dry, give your item a gentle reshaping to smooth out any wrinkles. If needed, a touch of leather conditioner can do wonders for restoring that softness and shine.

Source: People·WHYS YT Channel

What Are the Best Products to Clean Imitation Leather?

Product Description
1. Microfiber Cloths Your secret weapon! These ultra-soft clothes won’t scratch your imitation leather and are fantastic for grabbing dust and dirt
2. Mild Dish Soap A gentle dish soap, like castile soap, diluted with lukewarm water creates a safe and effective cleaning solution
3. Water The base for mixing cleaning solutions (use lukewarm water).
4. White Vinegar Can be mixed with water to tackle everyday dust and grime on imitation leather.
5. Baking Soda This natural wonder can be mixed with water to create a paste that absorbs oil-based stains like makeup or food grease
6. Rubbing Alcohol  For targeted cleaning of ink or pen marks
7. Leather Conditioner  Maintains suppleness and prevents cracking over time.

How to Remove Stains from Imitation Leather?

Even the most careful among us can encounter a stain on our favorite imitation leather items.

With the right approach, we can expel those stains and restore your faux leather to its former glory.

First, identify what kind of stain it is. Different stains require different removal techniques.

Water-Based Stains: Use mild soap and water to dab and lift the stain. Remember to blot, not rub. For most stains, a mixture of mild soap and water can work wonders.

Oil-Based Stains: Mix a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste gently to the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. The baking soda will help absorb the oil.

Ink Stains: Dab a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). Gently blot the stain with the cotton swab, working from the outside of the stain inwards to prevent spreading.

Mud and Grime Stains: For everyday dust and grime, you can use water and white vinegar. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar to create a natural stain remover. Test on a small, hidden area first before applying to the stain.

Apply Conditioner: Once the stain is removed, apply a leather conditioner to keep the imitation leather soft and supple.

How to Care for and Maintain Imitation Leather?

Taking care of imitation leather is key to keeping it looking fresh and long-lasting Here’s how to care for and maintain your imitation leather pieces.

  1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning your imitation leather, stay away from harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia. These can be too harsh and may cause damage to the material.
  2. Protect It from Heat: Imitation leather doesn’t do well with excessive heat, so it’s best to keep it away from direct sunlight or heat sources like radiators.  I always make sure my imitation leather pieces have a cozy spot away from any heat sources.
  3. Condition it: You can find specific imitation leather conditioners that will help maintain the quality of your pieces.
  4. Store it Properly: When not using your imitation leather items, store them properly to prevent any damage. Avoid folding or crushing them, this can cause creases or permanent marks.
  5. Use a Protective Spray: To add an extra layer of protection to your imitation leather pieces, use a protective spray. I love using a protective spray to give my imitation leather items that extra shield against the elements.
  6. Handle with Care: Take care of your faux leather items just like you would with genuine leather to keep them looking good for a long time.

Source: SMART Christmas YT Channel


Taking care of your imitation leather pieces is all about giving them the attention they deserve.

Remember to dust them off regularly, wipe away spills, and avoid using harsh chemicals that could harm their delicate surface.

Keep them away from excessive heat, condition them for that extra touch of luxury, and store them properly to maintain their shape.

By following these tips, you’ll keep your imitation leather items looking fresh and fabulous for years.

So roll up your sleeves, show your pieces some love, and let them shine.

Resources Consulted

James Chiles

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