DIY 2 Ingredient Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

I love my leather couches. I’ve had them for around 13 years and lately they have been looking a little worse for wear. I have tried a number of commercial cleaners over the years with mixed results. I decided to look for a homemade cleaner. When I saw this one I knew it was perfect because I had everything on hand and it used just 2 ingredients (that I LOVE).

diy leather cleaner-1 TITLE


You need: 1/2 Cup of Olive OIl

3/4 Cup of White Vinegar

Spray Bottle


diy leather cleaner-1-3

Mix the olive oil and vinegar in a spray bottle and shake well. {Some people call it salad dressing cleaner} I don’t mind the vinegar spell and it dissipates pretty quickly.

diy leather cleaner collage

Here’s some pictures of my scratched up and dirty furniture. You will want to to a test spot in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t ruin your leather.

diy leather cleaner-3-2

It took me a while to get the right spray from my spray bottle, you want a good mist, not a stream. You also want to be constantly shaking it.  I found it worked best to spray about a square foot and wipe with a cloth in circles.

diy leather cleaner-6

The vinegar cleans the leather and the olive oil moisturize it. I changed my cloth when it got really dirty and wet.  It took me about 3 refills to clean my couch, loveseat, chair and ottoman.  It dried pretty quickly too.  If you have carpet, I would lay an old towel on the ground to catch the over spray. I have concrete floors so I just wiped off extra spray that got on the floor.

diy leather cleaner-7

I was amazed at how much better my furniture looked. I think it is something that would be great to do every month or so to keep my leather soft and supple. It didn’t remove pen marks, I’ll have to find something else for those!

diy leather cleaner-8

The scratches don’t completely disappear, but they are a lot less noticeable. It was a lot cheaper than any of the cleaners I have bought in the past and I know exactly what is in it. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

diy leather cleaner-1 TITLE



Types: Cleaning, Adult
Categories: Frugal, Inside The House, Natural


  • I used this on my seats in my truck. I did not care for it. I did use coconut oil and loved it. Leaves my truck smelling great and my seats are conditioned.

    • Thanks for the tip, I love coconut oil and will have to try it!

      • I have heard a few drops of your favorite essential oil is a nice touch.
        when using either olive oil or coconut oil do you think it would be a good idea to leave the furniture in a warm room, say 80 deg. F (to simulate human body heat) for a few hours unused. Then wipe down furniture in broad circles to prevent the oil and possibly loose dirt and or die from getting on your clothes? Your thoughts…..Yes, No?

        • I used essential oil in mine and used it on my car leather. I washed and rinsed with dawn and then used this leather conditioner recipe with lavender essential oil added. Looks and smells amazing!

        • I have a pair of my son-in-law’s Rockport leather loafers that he was just gonna throw out, but I thought, as expensive as Rockports are, I’d try to get them cleaned up for him before giving them the axe…lol. So far, it’s gone well, but I really appreciate your comment and the tip about using the essential oils….I’ve got a collection of essential oils that I bought last year that are all scents that are appropriate for making men’s body splashes and tonics, so I think I’ll one of those in my concoction. Thanks for the tip!!

    • Did you use coconut oil only or mixed with the vinegar like above?

    • Hairspray takes out ink.

    • Did you use straight coconut oil or did you mix it with vinegar or what?

      • Rebecca said, “I only used coconut oil and an old t shirt. I let it soak in and wiped off excess. With the warm weather it soaked in nicely.”

    • What about white leather

      • You might want to test it out in an inconspicuous spot on your couch and see if it causes any issues on the white leather. Let us know how it goes!

    • I have always used windex to clean my car seats, because of transporting animals and kids, gets rid of any possibility of urine stains or smells and cleans really well. then I use Vaseline to condition seats leather dash, center console, anything leather or plastic. It works so well, no smell. I used this in a buick lasaber I had a long time ago, the car was in an accident and the drivers window was blown out. it sat for almost 2 years with no window through colorado weather, snow, heat and rain. not one crack, or decay on the dash or the seats. that is why I stick with this method. you do have to work the vaseline in and let it set then wipe it down again, but the leather soaks it up and stays supple. doesn’t smell, rot, or deteriorate over time.

  • Looking to bring some luster to my old car seats and discovered this post. I don’t have coconut oil so I’ll try the original recipe for this. I wonder if most oils will work?

  • Any oil will make leather look good until it dries. (Yes, all oils evaporate, some faster then others.) After drying, vegetable oil, leaves a sticky rancid smelling film while coconut and mineral oils leave no undiserable residual.

    • Good points Gene! Thanks!

    • I used coconut oil on a leather handbag and unfortunately when the weather is cold the oil solidifies in the crevices of the leather, looking like a white powder is all over the leather. I wouldn’t use the coconut oil myself, but there has to be an oil that won’t get rancid.

      • That’s not the oil going rancid, it’s that coconut oil solidifies below 70ish degrees 🙂 So while it’s annoying cosmetically, at least it’s not stinky and sticky like rancid oil gets. AND, it warms up fast! You could even just blast it for a half a minute with a hair dryer to help spread it out and get it to soak in more

  • your furniture looks great and you mention pen marks..

    There are sites that suggest rubbing alcohol, also if you have pen marks on your clothes, pour full strength on stain and wash out with soap and water

    it works great and I have have used it on pen marks also..hope this helps

  • Can I use (mineral oil based) Baby Oil?

  • Would this work on a coat as opposed to furniture?

  • The general consensus is that you shouldn’t use plant oil on animal products, and definitely not mineral oil (like baby oil)

    probably the best thing to use is saddle soap to clean and neatsfoot oil (which is made out of cow shinbones) to condition

  • Olive oil is horrible for leather. It rots it from the inside out.

  • Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try it in the future. However, I currently have a lot of unused hair conditioner….I heard this could be used as a conditioner for leather. Anyone try it?

  • I don’t think Olive oil is the best choice here. I would recommend 92 degrees coconut oil (or mineral oil) mixed 75/25 with distilled water with 1-2 drops (teeny tiny drops) of liquid Castile soap. This would condition the leather and the soap would help keep the mixture emulsified.

  • as for the scratches on your leather, the service man that came to look at mine used the colored markers used on wood. Then he wiped excess with a soft cloth (old t shirt), would test in a hiden place firsst. He also used two or three colors to blend. Hoe this helps.

  • I get pen out of leather using after shave. Try it on a spot first to make sure your leather will take it but its the only thing thats worked for me.

  • I used this and i love it. My couch and chairs look amazing and I like the smell too haha

  • Olive oil should not be used on leather because it rots and in turn will rot your leather.

  • don’t use saddle soap / glycerine based cleaner on good furniture leather. it is too harsh and will ruin your couches. I learned this the hard way.

  • I have used Avocado oil, vinegar and a couple of drops of lemon essential oil. Cleaned and conditions well. Give your furniture time to dry as well. I recommend overnight.

  • I stopped at the part that said test a spot. Leather can be ruined by the wrong product. I have no problem paying a few bucks for a quality product. If leather was cheap it would be a different story.

  • WOW! So MANY great comments here on this simple DIY. I like to buy vintage leather handbags and have several that desperately need cleaned. I think I may hesitate on using the olive oil or the coconut oil as there were noses turned to the various outcomes. Mineral oil, used sparingly with distilled water, actually sounds to be the best option. Castile Soap is an olive oil based soap for folks that don’t know…use that sparingly too. Also, I am amazed that nobody mentions any variations for using these DIY cleaners on brushed leathers versus the slick shiny leather. Just really curious about that twist on the DIY cleaning. Thanks!

  • Spray bottles just get clogged up when using oils. I mixed this in a bowl and simply dipped a rag into and rubbed away. Worked just fine! My leather chair looks beautiful!

  • Olive oil or any kind of oil for that fact is horrible on leather. It will rot it from the inside out and destroy your leather. Vinegar and water cleans it. The essential oil drop of lemon or tea tree is the best.

  • I have a burgundy colored couch and it is very stained from my hair and back of my neck where I sit back against the back of the couch. My guess is it is stained from sweating. Any advice on how to clean this dark stain. Thank you.Dr

  • The leather used in auto upholstery is bonded with a thin layer of plastic/vinyl on the outside. You need to use something that will protect that vinyl layer and keep it from cracking.

    Lemon oil is supposed to be an excellent conditoner/cleaner for leather, according to Bob Vila.

    I would not use mineral oil or Vaseline, ever. Your experience may vary but anything with petroleum by-products does bad things to my skin, guaranteed.

Leave a Reply

Want to see your picture by your comment? Get your custom avatar by registering for free at Gravatar.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *