Happy Beds
My Basket

(Faux and Real) Leather Bed and Furniture Care Guide

All of the leather beds and furniture here at Happy Beds are made with cruelty-free faux leather. It is a stylish, durable and low-priced alternative to real leather that is used to upholster many of our beds and sofas, as well as other furniture pieces. To keep it looking and feeling its best, our faux leather should be cared for according to the below care guide.

Your Happy Beds faux & real leather care guide overview:

  • Remember that ‘less is more’ when cleaning leather; using too much water or too harsh chemicals can weaken or damage the material.
  • Real and faux leather have distinct difference when it comes to cleaning; the same approach to one material can’t be used for both real and faux leather.
  • There are several ways of dyeing faux and real leather, though the former is much easier and safer to do so.

What are the differences between real and faux leather?

Faux means fake, which means that faux leather looks like leather but is cruelty-free. Real leather will cost significantly more (in essentially every case) yet it’s more durable and some argue looks better. While there are many similarities between the two beyond just appearance, there are a few key differences when it comes to cleaning.

Likewise for cleaning mold and mildew, as faux leather can be cleaned with a trace amount of rubbing alcohol while real leather can only handle water with vinegar mixed in. Each type of leather requires a specific conditioner too, as real leather requires a leather conditioner yet faux leather can be conditioned with a silicon-based spray.

These are the main differences when it comes to cleaning. A quick means for lightly cleaning both real and faux leather though is giving them a quick once over with a vacuum cleaner.


With real leather, the mantra you should adhere to every time is ‘less is more’. Spot cleaning with real leather should be handled with a very minimalistic approach, as too much water or cleaning solution, as well as harsh cleaning solutions, can crack or damage the leather.
Avoid approaching all kinds of leather beds / furniture with the same cleaning and maintaining tactics, as what may work for faux leather can easily damage real leather.

How can you distinguish between real and faux leather?

The most common means of determining whether a product is made with real or faux leather is comparing prices. This is usually an indicator when you’re shopping online, though even then there may be ways that the seller disguises the fact that it’s faux, not real, leather.

If you can’t shop in store or in person then you’ll need to research your product well. Some places may advertise the product as ‘genuine leather’ or ‘made with genuine leather’, which may mean that there are traces or parts of real leather in the product, though the entire product isn’t made with real leather.

An interesting and perhaps vital note to make here is that ‘genuine leather’ doesn’t strictly refer to whether the leather is ‘real’, as ‘genuine’ is a specific grade of leather. Clear indications that the product is entirely faux leather are when they are labelled as being made with ‘bonded’, ‘PU’, ‘synthetic’ or ‘manmade’ material.

There are plenty of ways to test whether a product is made with real or faux leather when you’re in person. One clear indication is with touch, as real leather will wrinkle to the touch while faux leather will simply depress. Smell is another, as leather has a relatively recognisable smell of animal skin, whereas faux leather simply smells of plastic. If all else fails though a few drops of water will confirm the difference, as real leather will absorb moisture while it’ll simply puddle on top of or slide off faux leather.


As aforementioned real leather products are often quite expensive, so if you’re paying a large sum for a product that’s listed as being made of ‘real leather’ you don’t want to be disappointed or ripped off. Though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with faux leather, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for if you’re willing to spend extra for ‘real leather’.

Avoid relying on photos to make a distinction, and remember to avoid judging leather by its colour as even products with real leather can be dyed a different colour. Also, avoid the notion that a ‘leather’ product has to be made of ‘real leather’ as faux leather still looks stylish and is rather durable. An additional bonus to faux leather, other than being fairly less expensive, is that it’s cruelty-free.

Tantalising Trivia:

  • The first recordings of rudimentary tanning processes are mentioned in Assyrian texts that date back to 2500BC.

How do I clean my faux leather bed / furniture?

The best method to keep your faux leather looking its best is with frequent (once a week) cleaning via vacuuming. Anything that requires more attention, such as spills or stains, can be handled by using lukewarm water with a little bit of washing up liquid and a non-abrasive cloth.

As long as the cloth has been wrung out so that it’s not too wet, you can use it to remove virtually any spills or stain. Remember not to rub the cloth though, as anything other than repeated circular motions will likely crack the faux leather. Remember, if you’re unsure as to how your cleaning method will affect the faux leather, first test it out on an area that isn’t often seen, such as the bottom of a sofa or the back of a headboard.

Maintaining a good level of cleanliness is relatively simple too, as unlike real leather, faux leather doesn’t absorb moisture, so protective treatment is possible and makes cleaning easier. Compared to beds / furniture upholstered with fabric, cleaning faux leather is quite simple and can be achieved quickly.


Regularly cleaning your faux leather keeps it looking its best, and this frequent maintenance can enhance its durability.

Avoid using harsh chemicals (if any at all) whilst cleaning as they can stain or damage the material. A good rule of thumb to adhere to when cleaning faux leather is to ask the question of whether you’d use the cleaning agent on your own skin; if the answer is ‘no’ then it probably wouldn’t be a good choice for the material.

Also avoid getting the faux leather too wet, as this can cause it to crack. If possible, try to avoid placing your bed / furniture in the path of direct sunlight as it can dry out the faux leather, which can cause it to crack and fade the colouring.

Was this article helpful?
Helpful Not helpful

Sign Up To Our Newsletter