How to Safely Move and Store Leather Furniture in Winter

Leather sofas, chairs, and ottomans are at risk of damage from the freezing temperatures and wet precipitation that occur in cold winter climates, but it is possible to safely move and store leather furniture, even in the cold. Take some time to prepare and protect your leather furnishings from move-related winter damage with these tips.

Dust and Clean Leather Surfaces

Dirt and dust buildup on leather make the material less supple and attractive. Dirty spots on leather can degrade the surface of the upholstery and make the leather more likely to crack.  Before you prepare your leather sofa or chair for moving day, clean the leather upholstery thoroughly.

First, gently wipe your leather furnishings with a dry cloth to remove all loose surface dust. Pay special attention to tufts and crevices in the leather where dust settles and hides.  You can gently vacuum surface dust from leather furnishings if you prefer.

After the leather is dusted, use a soft cloth, a bowl of warm water, and moisturizing soap to remove any stubborn dirt and stains on leather upholstery. Dip the cloth in the water, wring out the excess moisture, and rub the bar of soap on the wet cloth.

Use a circular motion when washing down the leather upholstery. Because wetness slightly changes the appearance of leather, wash the entire piece to maintain a consistent look across the upholstery. Buff the leather with the same circular motions you used to wash the material.

Condition Your Sofa

Washing a leather sofa will help protect the upholstery, but water does pull out some of the natural oils that protect the surface of the material. Moisturizing soap helps retain some of the oils when you clean, but a leather conditioner actually restores the fats in the leather.

Leather conditioners soften the fibers in leather and make the material more flexible. Conditioned leather is less likely tear or show light scratches and scuffs. Leather conditioners also protect the material from cracks due to freezing temperatures.

Use a leather conditioning product recommended by your furniture’s manufacturer for the best results. Apply the conditioner in a circular motion and condition all parts of the leather.

Wrap Leather Furniture Carefully

Protect leather furnishings during your move by wrapping sofas and chairs with clean furniture blankets and plastic film. The fabric padding shields your leather furniture from moving-related scuffs and scratches. Fabric padding insulates the furniture in freezing temperatures, too. The plastic wrap keeps leather furniture dry when moving pieces in rainy or snowy conditions.

If you washed your leather furniture or had the leather professionally cleaned, check to confirm that the leather is completely dry before wrapping your pieces. Moisture on the surface of leather upholstery promotes the growth of mildew in wrapped leather furnishings.

Use padded blankets to completely envelope your leather pieces, and secure the fabric padding with tape to ensure the covering won’t slide off and expose any parts of the leather. Next, use plastic sheeting or shrink wrap to protect the fabric padding.

Avoid letting the plastic wrap touch the leather directly, and never cover leather furniture in plastic wrap only. Condensation is likely to form between the plastic film and the leather upholstery in wintry temperatures. Moisture spots from condensation can permanently mar the appearance of your leather furniture.

If you have slipcovers for your leather furniture, place the fabric slipcovers on your leather pieces before the move for an extra layer of protection. Use fabric blankets or other padding over the slipcovers, then wrap the entire piece in plastic film.

Store Move-Ready Leather Furniture Safely

When you prepare your leather furnishings in advance of your relocation, you may need to store the pieces outside of your home while you count down the days to your moving van’s arrival. Avoid storing your leather furnishings in garages or basements where the temperatures will fall below freezing.

Frozen leather can crack across the entire surface of a furniture piece. Temperature and humidity fluctuations can also damage leather furnishings. If you plan to store your leather pieces in a storage unit before or after your moving day, choose a climate-controlled storage space.

Place wooden pallets or plastic sheeting on the floor of your storage area before placing the pieces in the storage unit. The floor covering acts as a moisture and dirt barrier for your move-ready leather pieces.

Keep Leather Furniture Unburdened

Whether leather pieces are in storage or being loaded into your moving van, avoid placing any boxes, bins, or other heavy items on top of your leather furnishings. This important moving tip applies when moving leather furniture in winter and summer conditions. Heavy boxes deform the shape of the leather and cushions. Moving boxes and other hard items can scratch or rip leather upholstery.

Don’t stack heavy furniture on top of leather furniture during your move or when pieces are in storage. Protect the wooden frame of your leather sofa or chair by letting each piece support only its own weight. Stacking heavy furniture on top of a leather sofa, chair, or ottoman may break or crack the frame of the piece.

Schedule your in-town or cross-country move by contacting Wheaton World Wide Moving today. Our friendly, capable drivers deliver household goods across 95 percent of the U.S., so we can cover almost any relocation situation.

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