How to Remove Stickiness From Leather Furniture

Maureen asked: Can leather furniture damaged by Pledge be restored? Unfortunately, I read your remarks about Pledge too late. But at least I know what happened to my chair. It has become very sticky, and we are not able to use it. Is there anything I can do to undo this? Thank you.

Removing sticky buildup from leather is a simple process but may require some work on your part. Although it’s tempting to use a scrubbing pad to make the job easier, avoid this. Using anything abrasive on leather can cause permanent damage, so stick with a soft cloth and lots of elbow grease for best results.

You Will Need:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Water
  • Soft clean cloth
  • Bowl

Steps to Remove the Sticky Residue:

  1. Start by filling a bowl with water.
  2. Add a few drops of a mild dish soap.
  3. Agitate until bubbles form on top. You will be using only the suds that form, so be sure there are enough. Add more soap if necessary.
  4. Dip the cloth in the bubbles. Avoid getting it very wet.
  5. Rub the sticky leather with the cloth.
  6. Repeat as needed until the sticky spots are gone.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Once the leather is clean, finish the with the leather conditioner recommended by your manufacturer.
  • If you need more cleaning power, you can wet the cloth but wring it out well before touching the leather with it. Leather should not be exposed to wet conditions.
  • If the cloth gets dirty, turn or replace it so the area you’re working with stays relatively clean.


  1. Wanda says:

    What were your remarks about Pledge? I would like to know because I used it on my leather sofa and now it is sticky.

  2. Melanie says:

    I believe Maureen was referring to the information on the post, How to Clean Leather Furniture, which says, “Never use any kind of oils (such as mink oil), furniture polish, or any product containing waxes or silicone (including many car care products) on your leather furniture as it may damage the leather and leave it feeling sticky. Consequently, be very careful when using Pledge, or any other type of furniture polish, around your leather.”

  3. Troy says:

    My couch is not sticky to the touch, but only becomes sticky once you sit in it for a long time, particularly in the summer.

    During hotter days, it ruins clothing when you sit in it. What happens is your back begins to perspire and the moisture causes it to stick to the furniture.

    I heard a theory that this was caused because we apply a flea-treatment (Frontline or Advantage) to our cats who later rub against the sofa. The chemical doesn’t react well with the conditioner, causing this to happen.

    There are references to “sticky leather couch” on the internet, but so far none seem to have a solution.

  4. Ron says:

    Our brown leather couch wasn’t sticky, but it was seriously scuffed and faded in a number of sections. I figured if wax can cure those problems on leather shoes, why not the couch, despite the occasional warnings I’ve read about wax on leather? So I bought a tin of brown shoe wax and went to work. The couch now looks way better and there have been no adverse effects. Plus it now has, after light buffing, a rich luster.

  5. Traci says:

    During a very hot summer with no a/c, we threw a cotton, nubbly bedspread over our leather couch. When we removed the cover, white cotton pills adhered to the brown leather. We’ve used soap, and even scraped the leather, but we haven’t gotten nearly all of it off. I’ve searched…and never heard of a fix for this. Anything you can think of?

Leave a Comment