Leather furniture is a stylish and luxurious addition to your home and so it makes sense to take good care of your investment. Leather is a naturally durable material but can still be damaged by the rigors of daily life. Prevention is certainly better than cure if you wish to prolong the life of your leather upholstery. A few simple protective measures will ensure that you can enjoy your gorgeous furniture for longer.
Protecting Your Leather Furniture
- When moving your furniture, never drag it across the floor. Enlist the help you need to carry the furniture around the room or from room to room to avoid damaging your furniture or your flooring.
- If you are transporting your furniture to a new home, cover it with dust sheets or blankets whilst in transit and ask your removal company not to stand sofas on their arms or backs.
- Never sit on the arms or the backs of sofas and armchairs as this could damage the frames and will result in premature wear.
- Try not to perch on the ends of seat cushions as this will eventually cause them to become misshapen.
- Children should be discouraged from climbing or jumping on your furniture.
- Pets have sharp claws which will quickly damage leather and their hair can be surprisingly abrasive. Animals should be discouraged from sitting on your furniture.
- Be aware of any sharp objects about your person which could abrade or cut the leather. The studs on jeans, belt buckles, combs in your pocket, tools and cutlery could all damage your furniture.
- Don’t allow caustic substances to come into contact with leather. Bleach, ammonia, many detergents, pet flea treatments and the chlorine residue in your hair after swimming are all caustic substances.
- Many cosmetics and hair treatments will stain or degrade leather so it is best to avoid these substances contacting the furniture. Throws are useful accessories which can protect your leather from beauty products. Always wash your hands after applying make-up or attending to your hair if you intend to sit on your furniture.
- Non-colourfast clothing such as denim can stain leather.
- Direct sunlight will accelerate the fading of leather pigments. If possible, locate your leather furniture away from windows. Alternatively, keep curtains closed during the day or rearrange your furnishings occasionally to even out any fading.
- Position leather furniture at least 30cm from heat sources such as radiators as the heat will dry out the leather and eventually cause it to crack.
Routine Care and Cleaning
Leather is a natural material and so variations in colour and texture are to be expected and leather’s appearance will inevitably change over time. Minor creasing and wear is unavoidable and merely serves to enhance the character of the piece. Leather is surprisingly durable but a little routine TLC will help to prolong its beauty.
It is important to know what type of leather your furniture is fashioned from as this will affect how you should care for it. Aniline leather is beautifully soft and luxurious but does not feature the addition of a protective, pigmented layer. This type of leather boasts a more natural and less uniform appearance and will fade and crease more easily.
Most furniture is made from protected leather, also referred to as finished leather. This type of leather is given a pigmented and textured protective layer which creates a uniform appearance and shields the fabric from staining and wear. Bonded leather is blended or reconstituted fabric which is then coated and textured.
- Vacuum your leather furniture every week to remove dust and debris as this is abrasive material which will cause wear. Dust isn’t always visible but it does accumulate on your upholstery in the same way as it does on the other surfaces in the room.
- Aniline leather is highly absorbent and so stains easily and is very difficult to clean. It is best to treat aniline leather with a waterproofing spray as you will not be able to apply stain removing products or even water to this type of leather without damaging it.
- Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions before treating any type of leather. Conditioners are available for both aniline and protected leather and twice yearly applications will help to maintain the appearance and feel of the material. Bonded leather does not require conditioning.
- With protected and bonded leather, mop up any spills quickly using paper towels. Residual staining should be addressed with distilled water and a clean cloth. If the stain persists, use a clean cloth and a mild, pH neutral liquid soap or leather cleaner. Do not apply furniture polish or saddle soaps to your leather.
- Bonded leather should be maintained on a regular basis by wiping the surfaces with a soft and damp cotton cloth.