Leather or fabric: Which is the fairest fabric in the land? They both have outstanding qualities and can liven up your home. But which one is right for you?

We have years of experience working with upholstery at Dr. Chem-Dry Carpet & Tile Cleaning. We’ve seen firsthand the positive and negative characteristics of fabric and leather. If you’re wondering which one is right for, check out these pros and cons. Leather vs. Fabric upholstery: Who will win?

Related: What Can I Use to Clean My Upholstery?

Leather Upholstery



A major advantage that leather has over fabric upholstery is that it is hypoallergenic. It doesn’t harbor pet dander, dust mites or other allergens as easily as fabric does. It also doesn’t trap odors the way that fabric does.

Easy to Clean

Leather is much easier to clean than fabric. Fabric absorbs stains; Leather handles them much better. Stains that would require a deep scrubbing for fabric may only need a quick wipe-down for leather upholstery. It usually only needs a light dusting or rubdown a few times a year, which is nothing compared to the regular cleanings and vacuumings that fabric needs to stay clean.


Leather can last longer than fabric if it’s taken care of properly. The material is much stronger and denser than fabric, which makes it the upholstery of choice for households with pets, children and very active lifestyles. So long as your pets don’t scratch the leather, and you keep it out of the light so the sun doesn’t crack and age the upholstery, it should last for a long time.


Hot and Sticky

Leather drinks in and absorbs the temperature around it. If it’s cold, the leather could feel chilly to the touch. When it’s hot, it traps the heat and can become so hot that it practically singes you to sit on. And anyone who’s driven a car with leather seats in the summer can tell you the other thing you have to watch out for: Hot leather can get sticky. Leather is beautiful, but it will also make you literally peel yourself off the couch when you have to get up.


Leather upholstery can look fancier and more elegant than fabric. It’s the upholstery you’ll want to use if you want to give your home or office a more modern look. But that contemporary style and class comes with a hefty price tag. In most cases you’ll be paying much more for leather than you would for fabric.

Fabric Upholstery



While the comfort level of fabric furniture can depend greatly on the type of fabric and the support system of the furniture, on average fabric upholstery tends to be more comfortable than leather. This is because fabric has a softer, warmer finish than leather. Leather furniture, just like leather car seats, can also get hot and sticky during the summer and traps the cold in it during the winter.


Leather has a limited range of colors while fabrics are almost unlimited in the color and pattern choices they provide. It’s often easier to find a fabric that can match your current decor, whereas with leather upholstery you’ll have to get really creative if they don’t have the proper colors available. While leather can be just as beautiful as leather upholstery it can’t compare in terms of diversity of styles and textures that fabric can provide.

Budget Friendly

Fabric upholstery is cheaper than leather. While getting quality fabric and framing can be expensive, it’s equivalent in leather will almost always cost more. It also means that it’s usually cheaper to repair or replace fabric upholstery when it’s damaged than it would if it were leather.


High Maintenance

Fabric can be hard to clean. It readily absorbs stains and odors. If you own a pet or have a child they could wreck absolute havoc on your fabric upholstery. Fabric is also susceptible to dust mites and can be infested with pests like lice and ticks,

Traditional Look

If you want to give your home a more modern aesthetic leather upholstery is the best choice. While fabrics do offer a wider range of styles, fabric itself tends to look older and more conservative than leather furniture. Most interior decorating trends revolve around leather. Leather is seen as luxurious, as the upholstery choice for people who are well-off or wanting to project an aura of power. Fabric upholstery simply doesn’t have this cache.

Related: What to do if pets scratch your furniture?

Want to know more about the cleaning services we provide? Give Dr.Chem-Dry Carpet & Tile Cleaning a call at 602-243-6379.