12 answers

How to Disinifect Leather Couch?

Hello, my entire family was struck with the stomach flu the other day and both of my kids had vomited on our new leather couch. I admit to using Clorox wipes to disinfect the areas, but I know that if I use Clorox or Lysol wipes again, the leather will most likely dry out and crack. I'm pretty sure the vomiting is done (then again, I never know with my 21 month old daughter who has been VERY sick), but I'd still like to disinfect all of our furniture if possible (as I will be disinfecting the entire house!). We have family coming over next week and I'd like to lessen their risk of catching this terrible virus. Does anybody know of a safe way I can disinfect leather? Does vinegar or baking soda work? What do you use? Thank in advance!


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I would spray the couch with lysol and than open all windows in that room or anywhere else they where in for a half hr. I know it seems long but really you need to air the bug out along with disinfect it. Clorox is too harsh for the couch I feel lysol is jsut as good. Good Luck!!!

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D., my heart goes out to you and your little ones!

You are right to be concerned about the harshness of the chemicals. Have you heard how the common household cleaners are directly associated with asthma? On the other hand vinegar and baking soda are not disinfectants. I do have a couple of tools in my arsenal. If you want to know more about what has worked for me email me ok?

hope your babies get well soon!

I would use vinegar and water and then apply a leather softener.

I would spray the couch with lysol and than open all windows in that room or anywhere else they where in for a half hr. I know it seems long but really you need to air the bug out along with disinfect it. Clorox is too harsh for the couch I feel lysol is jsut as good. Good Luck!!!

Keep in mind that leather is actually SKIN. Just wash it with gentle antibacterial soap and a damp soft cloth, be sure to rinse. The bleach will hurt it, if not ruin it.

Murphy's Oil Soap, maybe? Since it's for cleaning items that tend to dry out with normal soap (wood and such), I'm thinking that looking at the label to see if it'll work on leather would be a good idea.

Do some research into how long the virus can live on the surface. I know a cold virus can only stay alive for 2 hours on surfaces. So chances are the virus will die off on its own. I would just use hot soapy water, then wipe down again with just hot water. Good luck.


Vinegar is a type of disinfectant - it works to dry out the cell walls of the bacteria. Mix a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water into a spray bottle, spray a fine mist (don't soak) over the leather and leave it to air dry. Later you will want to treat your couch with a leather conditioner to put the much needed oils back into the leather.

I also agree with the other mom, you will need to air your house out for about 1/2 hour. Cold also kills most bacteria and the fresh air will do your family and house good.

Good luck and I hope your family is feeling better.


I've always used hot soapy water. I had my leather couch for almost 10 years and it never cracked or even seemed dried out. I also did the clorox wipes and never had a problem.
I did have a kit from Art Van that had a cream in it to keep the leather from drying and cracking but never used it. You may check in to something like that if it seems like yours is drying out. Good luck!

Hi D., I would try one of those hand held steam cleaners(they work great)and then some saddle soap to make sure the leather doesn't dry out.

Have you considered telephoning a furniture store that specializes in leather, or possibly the store where you bought the couch? Or call Sears carpet cleaning department? Or Stanley Steamer or somebody of that nature?
The Vinegar solution will work to disinfect but doesn't always smell great. Apple Cider Vinegar smells better but has a color to it, so I would worry it might discolor if applied directly to a fabric or leather.
The Vodka concoction sounds interesting and in theory the alcohol from the Vodka should act as a disinfectant, and with the other oils should smell fabulous.
I would definitely get yourself some leather conditioner or at least leather conditioning wipes for afterwards, and for general purposes to keep the couch looking fabulous for years to come.

I feel your pain lady. My eldest had a stomach flu for 10 days a few years ago. He always managed to climb into the reclining rocker and throw up there, usually sitting on my lap, of course. It was quite an ordeal to get it cleaned up properly. I found furniture professionals to be very helpful in my research. Good Luck.

Hi D.,

Yes. Vinegar DOES disinfect. I typically use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Baking soda is great for scrubbing, but doesn't disinfect. I would then use a leather conditioner on it.

In a 16 oz bottle, try a mixture of:
a shot of Vodka, 10 drops of eucalyptus, spearmint, tea tree, peppermint essential oils. You can also add a few drops of rosemary, lavender, lemon as well.This works as a good room disinfecting spray as well.

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