How to Care For Your Leather Upholstery
Many consumers don't understand leather. The purchase is made by how the leather looks and feels on the showroom floor. But how will it look in 10 years?
Many consumers are disillusioned by the performance of their leather by the time itís only a few years old. Take Nubuck for instance; the stain resistance is far inferior to most upholstery. However, it is a very expensive high end product. Consumers feel as if spending more money should bring them a better lasting product. Thatís not always the case with furniture.
What types of leather hold up better? The three types of leather are ANILINE, NUBUCK, and PROTECTED. Below is a short description of each.
Protected - Also known as Finished, Italian, or Pigmented. This leather type has been painted, embossed, or altered in some way. Usually the altering is due to imperfections in the leather's appearance. However, the altering actually helps protect the leather. This is often the most durable leather type.
Aniline - Also known as Natural, Pure, or Unprotected. These are Leathers that are altered very little with dye. The dye doesn't disguise the actual leather pattern, so you are seeing the actual virtually unadulterated leather. This is a nice, luxurious leather, but it comes with consequences.
Nubuck - Also known as Chaps or Bomber. These are Aniline Leathers that the surface has been brushed to create a velvet-like texture. Nubuck is difficult to tell apart from Aniline. The only difference is the very faint velvet appearance.
Leather is not bulletproof. In fact, it scratches easily and can be stained just as easy as other fibers. Leather should be professionally maintained. A skilled technician is needed to properly clean leather every 12 months according to tanneries.
Light colored leather especially needs to be cleaned regularly. Clean BEFORE your furnishings begin to look dirty. Once a light colored piece of leather appears overall dirty, youíve already got some damage done to the hide. Take this warning to heart if you have Aniline or Nubuck leather.
Another problem with leather is they are susceptible to scratching from dogs or cats. If your animals canít stay off your furniture, I highly recommend against leather.
DO NOT USE any product other than a specialty leather product. Many cleaners on the market can permanently discolor or harden your leather.
Your expensive unprotected leather sofa can become a nightmare. These leathers are very prone to staining. Often times, cleaning wonít make much difference unless the stain just happened. Furthermore, unprotected leather can be ruined by do-it-yourself leather cleaning kits. Only a professional leather cleaner should touch unprotected leather.
Know what youíre getting into. Do some research and make a wise decision.
How Can You Tell What Type of Leather You Have?
The easiest way for you to tell is to lightly scratch the leather in an unnoticeable area. If it doesn't readily leave a scratch mark, it is most likely protected leather. If it leaves a mark, it is most likely Aniline or Nubuck.
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To purchase do-it-yourself leather cleaning products, visit our shop at 1116 Olive Rd.