How do you care for artificial leather?

Eine Couch mit kunstleder pflegemittel, wie pflegt man kunstleder

The days when artificial leather was considered an inferior substitute for real leather are long gone. The material, which is often referred to as synthetic or vegan leather, is now valued by many people for its quality and aesthetics. Artificial leather is an artificially manufactured material that looks and feels similar to real leather.

Most are made from textile materials with a plastic coating or from plant-based components. But although artificial leather is robust and durable, it requires regular care. The following article tells you what different types of artificial leather there are and how to care for it.

Cleaning artificial leather: tips for an attractive look

Regardless of whether it is shoes, bags, furniture or car seats: the prerequisite for an attractive appearance and a long life is regular cleaning and subsequent care . With the help of the following tips, you can clean your artificial leather in no time at all without damaging it:

  • Tip 1: Stains should be treated immediately . For synthetic leather made of polyurethane or vinyl, a damp, soft cloth is often sufficient to remove dirt. For microfiber synthetic leather, you should use water very sparingly and, due to the surface structure, it is better to use a soft brush instead of a cotton cloth.
  • Tip 2: Chemical cleaners should be avoided when cleaning artificial leather . These could damage the surface structure , dry out the material and make it brittle. Instead, choose sustainable alternatives .
  • Tip 3: Some artificial leather products, especially furniture and car seats, but also shoes and bags, require special care products . Natural leather care lotions, waxes and balms provide the artificially produced material with moisture and keep it supple. However, it is better to use a natural balm or lotion to care for artificial leather.

How to care for artificial leather, care for artificial leather

  • Tip 4: To minimize fading of artificial leather , avoid direct sunlight . Also protect the material from heat sources to avoid premature drying out.
  • Tip 5: When storing your artificial leather products, make sure that they are not bent . This will prevent unsightly creases and prevent the material from cracking . To prevent the formation of mold, you should also ensure that the ambient temperature is dry and well ventilated.

Emma Grün Tip: As already mentioned, you should avoid using chemically produced leather care products when cleaning and caring for artificial leather. The ingredients are too aggressive and can dry out and damage the material over time.

Cleaning artificial leather: Use these household remedies to remove dirt and stains from artificial leather

Do you have a great faux leather sofa or a chic faux leather jacket, but don't have the right care products to hand? No problem! We'll show you the best home remedies for cleaning faux leather that you definitely already have at home.

Clean artificial leather with baby wipes and acetone-free nail polish

You won't believe it, but baby wipes can work wonders! They're ideal for smaller stains . More stubborn dirt? Try acetone. Important: Always test in an inconspicuous area before you start.

The ballpoint pen trick: adhesive tape to the rescue

Yes, you are right. A simple strip of tape can effectively remove ballpoint pen stains. Simply stick it to the affected area and gently peel it off . Repeat if necessary.

Gall soap: The all-rounder against stubborn stains

Gall soap can help with even the most stubborn stains. Whether liquid or solid – simply mix with water, apply and wipe off with a dry cloth .

Mild shampoo: gentle cleansing from the shower

Don't have a special foam cleaner on hand? A mild shampoo will do the trick. Simply lather it up slightly, apply it to the artificial leather and remove it with a dry cloth.

Person in white t-shirt balancing soap bubbles in hand

Image source: Pixabay

Artificial leather care: What you should avoid when caring for artificial leather

Even though artificial leather is less sensitive than real leather, there are a few things you should keep in mind when caring for the material. You should avoid the following things when caring for it:

  • Care products that are too greasy: An absolute no-go for artificial leather. They can damage the material. Artificial leather care products that contain silicone are also unsuitable, as they clog the pores of the material and form an annoying film on the surface.
  • Irregular cleaning: To avoid discoloration, you should not only treat each individual stain, but treat the entire artificial leather product .
  • Scratchy cleaning utensils: Use soft cleaning utensils and treat your artificial leather products without too much pressure. Gentle, circular movements are optimal for cleaning and applying the subsequent care product.

Artificial leather: the different types and their properties

There are several types of artificial leather that differ in their production, composition and application and require special cleaning requirements . For example, polyurethane is water-resistant but has pores, while vinyl is completely non-porous and therefore waterproof. Care must be taken with microfiber materials such as Alcantara , as they can absorb moisture and should therefore be cleaned sparingly with water. You can find out more about Alcantara care here . The following information will not only make you a little wiser. It will also reveal how the individual types of artificial leather differ from one another.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride is one of the oldest and most commonly used types of synthetic leather. It is mainly used in the furniture and automotive industries. PVC synthetic leather is durable and water-resistant, but less breathable than other types .

Polyurethane (PU)

Polyurethane is more flexible and breathable than PVC . It is often used for fashion items such as bags and shoes, as well as for upholstery. PU synthetic leather often has a softer feel and can closely resemble real leather in look and feel .


Microfiber synthetic leather is made of fine synthetic fibers and is often considered a high-quality alternative to other types of synthetic leather. It is mainly used in the automotive industry and for luxury items. Microfiber is particularly soft and breathable .

    Textile-leather hybrid

    Here , textiles such as cotton or polyester are coated with a plastic layer to create a leather-like material . This type of artificial leather is less durable than pure plastic variants, but has the advantage that it is partly made from natural materials.

      Plant-based synthetic leather

      This faux leather is made from plant materials such as cork, coconut shells or even mushrooms . They are an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic faux leathers, but are often less durable and more expensive.


        Koskin is a special type of synthetic leather that is mainly used in electronic device cases and camera bags. It is designed to be very robust and abrasion-resistant.


        Caring for artificial leather doesn't have to be complicated or involve the use of chemical products. With natural leather care products you're doing everything right: you're extending the lifespan of your artificial leather items and at the same time acting in an environmentally friendly way. This way your artificial leather will stay beautiful for a long time and you'll feel good about it.

        FAQ: Questions & Answers

        Do I need to waterproof my faux leather product?

        As a rule, artificial leather is already water-repellent. Additional impregnation is usually not necessary, but can extend the lifespan if subjected to heavy use.

        How do I care for faux leather to keep it supple?

        Use natural faux leather conditioners that will keep the surface supple and prevent it from drying out. Some products also contain UV protection to prevent discoloration.

        Is artificial leather sensitive to sunlight?

        Compared to real leather, artificial leather is less susceptible to discoloration by sunlight , but it is still recommended to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight.

        Which cleaning products should I avoid?

        Avoid harsh cleaners such as bleach or ammonia as these can damage the surface. Instead, use natural alternatives .

        How do I store faux leather products?

        Artificial leather products should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated room. Direct sunlight and extreme temperatures should also be avoided.


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