How to Care for Faux (PU) Leather

Faux leather, also called artificial leather, has become a trendy substitute for genuine leather in both the fashion and furniture industries. This type of leather is more environmentally friendly and much more affordable.

So whether you choose synthetic leather products because they’re cruelty-free or a cheaper way to add elegance to your wardrobe or interior design, you still need to treat it properly. Faux leather might not be as durable as natural leather, but if you take good care of it, it can serve you for quite a long while.

And since many of our office chair guides or gaming chair guides include PU leather options, we thought it’d be only fair if we provided you with a few tips on how to care for this type of furniture upholstery. So read on to discover the dos and don’ts of cleaning and treating faux leather goods.

In This Guide

How to Care for Faux (PU) Leather: 7 Simple Tips

A secret to keeping your brand-new pleather item from peeling, cracking, or losing its initial look and feel, is to give it a little care every week. And don’t worry, it’ll take you only a few minutes. So, here are a few things you can do to protect faux leather.

Tip #1: Keep It Away From Direct Sunlight

I know it might be hard to accomplish if your space options are limited. But if it’s an artificial leather gaming chair, try rearranging your work or game station so it doesn’t face direct sunlight.

Like genuine leather and even our skin, faux leather gets too dry if exposed to the sun’s rays. And if it’s very dry, it’s more prone to start cracking or peeling.

Tip #2: Vacuum Clean It Weekly

With the help of the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, give it a quick run removing all the debris, dirt, and dust that might be scratching the surface of your chair or other pieces of furniture.

Tip #3: Avoid High Humidity

While faux leather doesn’t like being too dry, it also prefers not to get too wet. Prolonged exposure to water or super high humidity might ruin its texture. And yes, PU leather is water-resistant.

However, it doesn’t mean you should wash it with a hose or let the water stay on its surface for too long.

Tip #4: Clean It Properly

From time to time, wipe your faux leather item with mild dish soap or castile soap and warm water. After that, just use a clean, damp microfiber cloth to remove any soapy residue from the surface.

And finally, dry it with a fresh cloth to prevent any water marks.

Tip #5: Moisturize It

It might sound like one of the body care routine steps, and it almost is…but for faux leather. Even if you ensure your pleather item isn’t under direct sunlight, this type of material still tends to get dry on its own.

So, to prevent any potential cracks, try to apply special conditioning products for artificial leather approximately twice a year. You can also try using a soft, non-abrasive cloth with coconut oil, but first, test it on a small and more hidden spot to ensure it won’t change the color of your faux leather goods.

Tip #6: Avoid Bleach by All Costs

You might find some resources advising diluting bleach in the water to remove stains. However, we strongly recommend staying away from bleach.

Apart from it being able to stain your faux leather office chair or favorite couch, it can also dry out the fabric and make it more prone to cracking and peeling.

Tip #7: Read the Label

This is probably one of the easiest, yet often overlooked, things owners of artificial leather items forget to do. Each manufacturer uses materials of different textures and quality.

That’s why always check the label on your brand-new faux leather purchase and see what the manufacturer recommends. In addition, there might be some chemicals to which the material reacts harshly and can lose its color or tear sooner.

And you can also find step-by-step guides on how to take care of that specific item you bought. So don’t be afraid to spend a few minutes going through the leaflets and manuals included in the box.

What Is Faux Leather?

To ensure we’re on the same page, let’s look at what exactly faux leather is. There are lots of terms out there that might cause confusion when shopping for fake leather products. So, to eliminate any misunderstandings, here are the most common types of pleather (yes, it’s one of the names of artificial leather):

  • PU leather → Type of faux leather made from polyurethane
  • PVC leather → Type of synthetic leather made from polyvinyl chloride
  • Vegan leather → Type of pleather made without animal products
  • Bonded leather → A mix of both real and fake leather

Note: not all faux leather is vegan, so always check the manufacturer labels and characteristics if you’re searching for a vegan leather product.

Also, if you’re curious, some types of vegan leather are made of these materials instead of traditional plastic-based ones:

  • Pineapple leaves
  • Cork oak
  • Cactus leaves
  • Recycled plastic
  • Fruit skins

Right now, PU leather is most commonly used as an upholstery material because it’s more breathable than PVC leather. For example, a well-known UK furniture brand Danetti prefers PU leather for its products because it’s easier to care for and better for the environment than PVC.

So that’s why, in this guide, we’ll mainly focus on how to properly clean PU leather, as most of the best leather office chairs we reviewed are also upholstered in high-quality PU leather.


Is faux leather the same as PU leather?

Yes, you can consider faux leather the same as PU leather since PU leather is a type of faux leather. Generally, faux leather is every artificial type of leather that’s not genuine.

Does faux leather absorb water?

Unlike real leather, faux leather is water-resistant because it’s made mainly of plastic. However, letting the water sit on its surface is still not recommended as it might make the material more prone to tearing and further damage. Or water also might leave an unwanted stain on your faux leather item.

Can you condition PU leather?

Yes, you can condition PU leather. You can choose from various faux leather conditioners on Amazon. Alternatively, you can try using coconut oil on a fiber cloth before testing it on a small patch of your item.

Is bonded leather PU?

Yes and no. Bonded leather is actually a mix of scraps of genuine leather and a polyurethane binder. Then, all these fibers are rolled together using adhesives to bond them onto a paper backing. So, that’s why bonded leather is still classified as faux leather and is usually less durable than PU leather.

How long does faux leather last?

It’ll mostly depend on how well you care for your faux weather goods and how much you use them. Generally, we’d say you can expect PU leather to last 3-5 years and sometimes even more if you truly make sure to protect it and clean it properly.

Olia Batyr

Olia is a senior writer and researcher for Overheard on Conference Calls. She leverages her skills and training to create quality content that grabs an audience. When she’s not busy writing copy, you’ll find her traveling around the world gathering inspiration. Olia is an ultimate adventure seeker and meme lover.