Q: How much should it cost, approximately, to clean a leather couch that has moderate wear and soiling?

A: With proper care, a leather sofa can last for years — even decades — but to keep it looking its best, you'll want to make sure it's free of dirt and stains.

If staining is minimal, you can clean your sofa or leather sectional with just a damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth. You can make a cleaner by adding a few drops of moisturizing soap to a damp washcloth. Gently wipe off the cleaner and rinse with another damp washcloth. Buff with a dry washcloth.

Avoid overcleaning your leather couch or using cleaners that could dry or damage the leather or finish. If you're not sure what kind of cleaner to use, it's best to call your leather dealer before experimenting.

If the sofa is heavily soiled or has stubborn stains such as ink or wine, it's best to call in a leather furniture refinishing and repair expert. Many companies will come directly to you and do cleaning and repairs on site.

A professional cleaning for a full-size leather sofa will typically cost between $195 and $475, depending on the size of the sofa and the type of leather.

With a cost of $1,500 to $4,000, a leather sofa is an investment, so you'll want yours to last for years to come.

Be sure to choose the right type of leather for the room and your lifestyle.

Once you get your sofa home, be careful where you put it. Frequent exposure to direct sunlight and heat can cause your couch to fade quickly or become dry and brittle.

Angie Hicks is founder of www.AngiesList.com, provider of consumer reviews and services.