Caring for Leather Furniture
The Natural Characteristics of Quality Leather
Leather is a natural product. It breathes, is warm and has individual characteristics, which makes each hide unique. Leather will always display traces of its origin such as brands, scars, creases and growth. These hallmarks add character to the suite and do not affect the wearing qualities of the product. Leather is highly resilient, durable over time and develops a patina that increasingly enhances its appeal.
Leather needs very little special care but to get the most out of your investment, you should follow the general guidelines below:
- Always protect your suite from direct sunlight, as this will otherwise accelerate the natural ongoing discolouration process.
- On pigmented leather, dust should be removed by vacuuming and wiping with a slightly damp cloth, using a solution of warm water and mild soap on a regular basis. Suede, nubuck and aniline leathers require particular care, as they lack a protective coating. Use products specifically designed for these types of finish and follow instructions carefully. Always test any cleaning process on an unseen area.
- Never place leather furniture against any heat source such as a radiator.
- To remove spillages, do not rub into the leather as this will cause staining.
- Liquids should be quickly raised from the leather by using the edge of absorbent paper towels and then dabbing the area lightly with clean towels.
- Seat, arm and back cushions should, where possible, be regularly plumped up to maintain the shape of your suite.
- Try to avoid sitting on the edges of cushions or arms, as this may cause uneven wear and distortion of the padding and leather.
- Where zips are used, these should not be required to be unfastened, as they are there for ease of manufacture.
- Certain non-colourfast clothing such as denim can stain light coloured leather if it comes into regular contact.
- Sharp objects may scratch the surface.
- If you need any additional help or advice, feel free to call in or telephone us to speak to one of our advisers. Further information about leather?care can also be found on www.all-about-leather.co.uk
Variations and Markings
- Every hide is different and because the dyes and finishes penetrate to varying degrees in different parts of the hide, an attractive variable finish is achieved with a level of uniformity as consistent as these processes allow. When you consider that it can take as many as eight hides to produce a suite, you can appreciate the skill required to perfect the end result.
- The natural marks, grain variations and wrinkles which appear on each hide, feature in certain areas of the furniture depending on the degree of marking. Heavier marking will appear on the outside backs and sides, or on areas not usually visible such as under seat cushions. The more subtle markings will feature on the more prominent parts of the suite.
- Irregularities in the grain, small scars and insect bites and other natural skin marks should not be considered as defects. Only real leather has these characteristics, and they exist as your proof of authenticity.
- It is perfectly normal for certain areas of leather to show signs of creasing and stretching. This is not detrimental to the wearing of the leather. Today, due to modern tanning processes and customer demand, leather has a much softer feel and will maintain its suppleness throughout its lifetime. Recommended 'hidefoods' will aid the suppleness of leather.
- A combination of these factors means that in the first few weeks of use, creases and wrinkles will develop naturally to create a softer more inviting look, an inherent quality of fine leather upholstery.
Types of Leather
Aniline and Sauvage Leather
This is the most expensive type of leather made from the most carefully selected hides. Dyes are impregnated into the skin and the surface remains natural, with little or no pigment finish.
This process is deigned to bring the natural feel and appearance of Aniline into a lower price group. Skins are selected with only slight markings and the dye is impregnated. A light protective coating is then applied to give some degree of resistance to staining, but this makes the leather a little harder to the touch than Aniline.
A heavy pigment is applied to cover most of the natural imperfections which exist in every skin. The grain is then embossed onto the skin, and a heavy protective coating is applied, which gives good wear characteristics and high light resistance, with a good solid colour covering and virtually no variation show through. It is less soft to the touch than Aniline, but is particularly easy to care for.
This has a two part surface pigment process, and after the furniture has been made up, part of the top coat is rubbed off by hand to expose the contrast colour underneath, creating an accelerated ageing effect. The top colour is designed to wear away through use to give the attractive Antique appearance.
This type of leather is dyed and its surface is buffed to give a soft velvety feel. Nubuck requires careful use, as it is particularly prone to staining and soiling.