5 Ways to Clean Faux Leather Coffee Table


Faux leather coffee tables are a stylish and practical choice for many homeowners. Whether you’re drawn to their sleek aesthetics or appreciate the cost-effectiveness and durability of faux leather, these pieces can significantly enhance your living space.

However, like all furnishings, your faux leather coffee table requires regular cleaning and maintenance to look its best.

Over time, coffee tables can become victims of various stains, from food and drink spills to ink marks or pet stains.

This guide will familiarize you with some of the most common stains on faux leather surfaces and provide effective strategies for tackling them.

Common Stains on Faux Leather Coffee Tables

As a faux leather coffee table owner, I’ve encountered many stains that have marred its elegant finish. The most common offenders are food and beverage stains, followed closely by ink stains.

Food and Beverage Stains

Unsurprisingly, this is a major hazard for any piece of furniture that lives near our snacks and drinks.

  • Coffee and tea stains

The irony isn’t lost on me that my coffee table is most often victimized by its namesake—coffee. Yes, coffee and tea stains are all too common.

They can leave unsightly dark rings that are hard to ignore. I remember a particularly stubborn coffee stain that took a few tries to remove completely.

  • Food spills

Food spills, from pizza sauce to chocolate and salad dressing, are an occupational hazard for coffee tables everywhere.

I still remember when a slice of pepperoni pizza slid off its plate and onto my pristine table. The greasy spot it left behind was a challenge to remove!

Ink Stains

The written word can leave a lasting mark, especially regarding faux leather surfaces.

  • Ballpoint pen marks

Remember when you thought jotting down a quick note directly on your coffee table was a good idea?

Well, I do. A quick scribble turned into a permanent reminder of that moment. Ballpoint pen marks, I found, can be particularly stubborn.

  • Marker stains

If you think pen ink is tough, wait until you encounter marker stains. Your table might become a canvas for their creativity, particularly if you have kids around.

I recall when my niece decided to unleash her inner artist, and my coffee table bore the brunt of that artistic expression. It took a good scrub to get those bright colors off!

Makeup Stains

Faux leather coffee tables can also fall prey to cosmetic products.

  • Lipstick Smears

Lipstick, especially long-lasting, can leave a colorful mark on your faux leather table. I remember absentmindedly placing a lipstick tube on the table, only for it to roll and leave a streak of red.

  • Foundation Spots

Be careful with your liquid foundation! A spilled foundation can leave a discolored patch that’s tricky to remove. I’ve dealt with this when a makeup session inadvertently extended over the coffee table.

Wine Stains

A casual evening can quickly awry when a glass of wine accidentally spills.

  • Red Wine Spills

The rich color of red wine might be a delight in the glass but on your coffee table? Not so much. I’ve faced the challenge of a spilled Merlot leaving a daunting purple blotch on my table.

  • White Wine Marks

Don’t be fooled by the pale hue of white wine – the acid can discolor or damage the faux leather. I recall when a casually placed glass of Chardonnay resulted in an unsightly ring stain.

Pet Stains

If you have furry family members, you may have already encountered these.

  • Pet Urine

An unfortunate reality for pet owners, urine can leave a foul-smelling stain that’s hard to remove.

  • Pet Saliva

While not as damaging as urine, prolonged exposure to pet saliva can also mar the surface of faux leather. I’ve seen the damage firsthand when my dog used my coffee table as a chew toy.

General Cleaning Tips

Maintaining your faux leather coffee table doesn’t have to be a rigorous chore. With a gentle touch and the right cleaning solutions, you can easily keep it spotless without causing damage.

Let me share some personal tips and tricks that have saved my coffee table more than once.

Gentle Cleaning Solutions

There is no need to rely on harsh chemicals when cleaning faux leather. The mantra is ‘the gentler, the better’.

  1. Using Mild Soap and Water: My most trusted tool for removing stains and keeping the faux leather shiny is a simple solution of mild soap and warm water. It’s a delicate yet effective way to clean the coffee table without harming the faux leather. I once dealt with a stubborn coffee stain that all conventional cleaners failed to remove, but a soft cloth dipped in soap water did the trick!
  2. Diluted Vinegar Solution: When faced with tougher stains, I resort to a household staple: vinegar. A diluted vinegar solution can cut through grease and grime without harming the material. I remember candle wax dripping onto my table, leaving a sticky residue. A quick wipe with a vinegar solution cleared it right up!

Soft Cloth and Sponges

Your choice of tool for cleaning faux leather is as important as the cleaning solution.

  1. Choosing the Right Cleaning Tools: I always recommend using a soft cloth or a sponge. They are gentle on the faux leather and effective in lifting stains. I can’t count the number of times they’ve come to my rescue, especially when I had to remove a streak of chocolate sauce from a movie night gone wrong.
  2. Avoiding Abrasive Materials: While scrub brushes or rough towels may seem to get the job done quicker, they can scratch and damage faux leather. I learned this the hard way when I tried to scrub off a marker stain with a scouring pad, only to scratch the surface. Stick with soft cloths and sponges, and your faux leather coffee table will thank you!

Targeted Stain Removal Techniques

1. Coffee and Tea Stain Removal

  • Immediate Blotting:

No matter how careful I am, accidental spills happen, especially when coffee or tea is involved. Whenever this happens, my immediate reaction is to blot the spill, not rub.

I use a dry, soft cloth to absorb the liquid gently. Remember, the key is to act fast. This method saved my faux leather coffee table when my overly excited labrador knocked over a mug of strong black tea.

  • Using a Mixture of Water and Vinegar:

If blotting doesn’t entirely remove the coffee or tea stain, I will next use a mixture of warm water and vinegar.

Add one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of warm water, dip a soft cloth into the mixture, and lightly dab it onto the stain.

It’s amazing how this simple solution can effectively lift off stubborn coffee stains. I recall when my friend accidentally spilled his espresso on my table, and this mixture worked like a charm!

2. Ink Stain Removal

  • Testing a Small, Hidden Area First:

In my experience, ink stains are the trickiest to remove from faux leather. Before applying any cleaning solution, testing it on a small, hidden area is crucial.

The back or underside of the table is a good spot. This precautionary step saved me once when I was about to use a strong cleaner that discolored the material.

  • Applying Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Remover:

If the test goes well, I dab a bit of rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball and gently rub it on the ink stain.

My niece used my faux leather table as her canvas, leaving a blue ink sketch behind. Fortunately, rubbing alcohol dissolved the ink mark without harming the table’s surface.

Prevention Strategies and Maintenance

Protective Coatings

  • Using Faux Leather Protectant Sprays:

As a precautionary measure, I use faux leather protectant sprays. These sprays add a layer of protection to the faux leather, making it more resistant to stains and spills.

I remember when I first discovered these sprays. I was skeptical, but after applying it to my table, it protected the surface from a potentially disastrous wine spill during a dinner party. It’s safe to say I’ve been a loyal user ever since.

  • Applying a Clear Vinyl Cover:

Another effective method of protection I’ve found is using a clear vinyl cover. It does not interfere with the look of the faux leather but offers a robust shield against potential damage.

This cover saved my day when my nephew, an aspiring artist, decided to redecorate my table with his crayons. Thanks to the vinyl cover, the faux leather underneath remained untouched!

Regular Dusting and Cleaning Routine

  • Importance of Consistent Maintenance:

In my experience, consistent maintenance is key to keeping faux leather in top-notch condition.

Regular cleaning prevents the accumulation of dust and dirt that may degrade the faux leather over time. I learned this the hard way.

I neglected my table for a few weeks, and the grime build-up was tough to clean. Since then, I’ve been religious about my cleaning routine.

  • Using a Soft Brush for Dust Removal:

I use a soft brush for dust removal, which is gentle on the surface but effective in cleaning.

I remember using a scrubber to clean a dusty corner – bad idea! It left a noticeable scratch.

A soft brush, however, does the job without causing damage. I’ve found it essential to maintain the appearance and durability of my faux leather items.


In conclusion, cleaning faux leather coffee tables cannot be overstated. Over the years, I’ve seen how consistent and proper maintenance dramatically extends the life and beauty of faux leather items, just like my table, which despite the occasional wine spill or crayon incident, still looks as good as new. It’s a testament to the fact that a little attention now prevents damage and costly repairs later.

Reflecting on my journey of maintaining my faux leather table, a few key tips for effective cleaning and stain removal stand out.

Firstly, protective sprays are life-savers. These easy-to-apply solutions provide a reliable shield against spills and stains.

Secondly, clear vinyl covers work wonders, especially if you have little budding artists at home. Finally, the humble soft brush is necessary for safe and effective dust removal.

As someone who learned the importance of regular maintenance the hard way, trust me when I say, “Make it a habit.”

Consistent cleaning doesn’t just maintain the aesthetic appeal of your faux leather items, but it also substantially prolongs their life.

So, grab that spray, put on the vinyl cover, dust with your soft brush, and watch your faux leather furniture outlast its expected lifespan. Remember, a little care goes a long way!

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