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Is leather upholstery waterproof?

The first thing that it’s important to establish is the difference between waterproof and water resistant.

Unless it receives a special coating leather can never actually be made 100% waterproof but most upholstery leather will be finished in a way that makes its surface water resistant.


When an item is labelled as water resistant its surface will be able to repel liquid such as light spills and if dried quickly enough should have no long term damage.

How water resistant the leather is, depends on how the leather is finished after the tanning process has taken place.

The less finished and more natural the leather is the less water resistant it is likely to be.

As part of the finishing process upholstery leather is often finished with some level of protective coating. This water-resistant finish provides a level of protection against liquid absorption and spills.

Read our blog on the different types of leather finish available!

So assuming your leather upholstery does get wet, don’t panic. Here’s our short guide to protecting your leather goods from water damage:

Remove moisture

With a soft, dry cloth, wipe it down thoroughly and remove as much liquid from the surface as you can. Do not use a hairdryer or anything that generates heat, as this could do lasting damage.

Let it air-dry

Simply leave your goods untouched until no moisture remains. Leather is porous, which allows moisture to enter, but is also breathable as a result, and will allow that moisture to escape easily.


For best results condition your sofa at least twice a year to make sure no cracking or drying out takes place. Regular liquid spills actually speed up the rate at which the leather loses its natural moisture. If a spill does take place, once the leather has fully dried out, it’s a perfect time to condition.

Follow these steps and you should find your upholstery leather can stand up to the occasional soaking, and if you proactively take care of your leather you can help make sure it continues to look its best for years to come.