Everyday Cheapskate: How to Clean Leather Furniture
Remove all the loose dirt, dust and debris from the item to be cleaned. A vacuum with the soft brush attachment is the best option, as it will get into the seams and crevices. Be gentle, though. Leather is delicate, and you don't want to scratch it as you are vacuuming.
Before you do a general cleaning, you want to treat, and hopefully remove, any stains.
For food, blood or other dark stains -- even those whose origin you're not sure of -- make a paste of 1 part cream of tartar and 1 part lemon juice. Rub this paste on the stain, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the paste with a damp rag and moisturizing soap (as described below). Rinse. Dry. And buff the leather dry with a soft cloth.
Mix a few drops of a mild liquid facial cleanser or body wash, such as Dove Body Wash, Neutrogena Facial Cleanser or any shampoo that does not contain sodium laurel sulfate (a harsh ingredient that could dry out the leather), with 1 quart of distilled water until suds form (chlorine and other contaminants in regular tap water can damage the surface).
Using a soft white cloth, test this cleaner in an inconspicuous place by scrubbing a small area. Observe how the leather responds.
Assuming the test gives a good result, dip the soft, clean white cloth into the soapy water, and wring it out thoroughly. Working on a small section at a time, apply it to the surface of the furniture with the damp rag.