Leather is one of the more durable, low-maintenance surfaces for home furnishings. Keeping your leather sofa, chair or ottoman clean is relatively simple if you follow the proper steps. But different types of leather upholstery have different cleaning requirements, so you first need to know what type of leather you have. Here’s how to identity, clean and maintain your leather upholstery to keep it looking great.
TYPES OF LEATHER UPHOLSTERY
To find out what kind of leather upholstery you have, and the recommended care, start by checking the label or the written materials that came with the piece, or look up the item on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website. If you don’t have access to care instructions and you’re not sure what kind of leather you have, here are some clues.
- UNPROTECTED LEATHER:
Aniline leather — also called pure aniline, full aniline or unfinished leather — has a soft, luxurious feel. The leather is dyed through with aniline dye but has no surface pigment color added. It has little or no protective coating other than perhaps a dirt-resistant treatment. Natural surface grains and markings may be seen on the leather, which can develop a patina.
Aniline leather is more sensitive to staining than protected leather and typically is pricier as well. Other types of aniline leather include pull-up leather, which is injected with oils and waxes, and nubuck leather, which has been distressed or buffed to create a soft, velvety feel.
- PROTECTED LEATHER:
Most leather furniture is made with protected, or finished, leather. These leathers may be labelled semi aniline, aniline plus pigment or pigmented leather. Protected leather is more durable, stain-resistant and uniform in appearance than pure aniline.
Semi aniline leather is aniline-dyed and topped with a layer of pigment color. It has a soft feel like pure aniline leather but is a little more durable due to the protective pigment coating. Other protected leathers are coated with thicker layers of pigment and polymer. They have a stiffer feel and stand up to more wear and tear.
- Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
- Distilled water
- Mild, neutral-pH no detergent liquid soap, such as Neutrogena or Dove, or a leather cleaner designed for furniture upholstery
- Soft white microfiber cloths
- Tarp or drop cloth
- Commercial leather conditioner (optional)
- CLEANING UNPROTECTED LEATHER:
Some furniture makers recommend doing nothing more than dusting unprotected aniline leather with a clean, dry cloth and vacuuming it regularly using a soft brush attachment. Others advise gently wiping the surface with a cloth slightly dampened with distilled water, or cleaning it with approved leather cleaner. The natural look is sensitive to scratching and staining, so takes care when cleaning. Consult the manufacturer’s cleaning directions or a leather cleaning professional before using any products, and test them out first on a hidden surface.
- CLEANING PROTECTED LEATHER:
Semi aniline and especially pigmented leather can stand up to heavier use and cleaning than aniline leather. But stay away from products containing ammonia or alkalise, which can damage leather beyond repair, according to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Avoid saddle soap, detergents, oils, furniture polishes, abrasive materials and any cleaners with caustic ingredients.
Culled from Houzz.com
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