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How to Clean Faux Leather in 4 Simple Steps

Looking to lengthen the lifespan (and improve the appearance) of your vegan leather items? Read on to learn how to clean faux leather.

Written by
Samantha Bailon

There’s something timeless about leather. From its look to its touch to its durability, the fabric combines rustic elegance with luxury, making it a favorite for home decor and fashion alike.

In terms of sustainability, secondhand leather provides a quality option, as does vegan (or faux) leather. Read on to learn about the eco-minded benefits of the alternative, as well as how to clean faux leather.

What Is Faux Leather?

Also known as vegan leather, faux leather serves the same purpose as traditional leather minus the animal products. Brands like Dr. Martens and Volkswagen have incorporated vegan options into their product offerings. And from a consumer vantage, faux leather is cheaper than the real stuff. 

Some faux leather is still crafted using polyurethane (you’ve likely heard of “pleather”) making it a better choice from an ethical standpoint, but necessarily not in terms of sustainability, as plastic can take up to a century to biodegrade in landfills. Fortunately, the new guard of faux leather is entirely environmentally friendly, made of everything from apple skins, coffee, cork oak, pineapple leaves, cactus leaves, and recycled plastic.

Regardless of the materials used, faux leather alts share a common goal: to be as enduring as the sort born of animal hides. And there are steps you can take, too! Vacuum or wipe down faux leather goods regularly, keep them out of the sun to help increase longevity, and spray with an eco-friendly protectant for an additional safeguard.

In need of a deeper clean? Read on to learn how to clean faux leather.

How to Clean Faux Leather

When cleaning faux leather, you'll want to avoid soaps with any anti-bacterial or degreasing agents, which can quickly dry out the vegan products. Rather, reach for castile soap, which is biodegradable and made from minimal (and largely natural) ingredients.

Here's how to clean your faux leather, preventing it from peeling and cracking and keeping it in prime condition for years to come.


Castile soap
Warm water
Soft cloth


1. Combine castile soap and water in a bowl.

2. Using a soft cloth, dab the mixture onto your faux leather, gently wiping in a circular motion. (If the leather is light, spot test first to avoid potential discoloration.)

3. When done, repeat the process with a clean cloth and plain warm water to remove any soap residue.

4. Dry with a fresh cloth or towel and enjoy your freshly-polished piece!