Leather has been used for a wide variety of purposes for hundreds of years. It’s tough, durable, versatile and looks great. It can be found on so many different items, from saddles, to belts, shoes, bags and hats, to jackets, skirts, and furniture to mention only a few.
Leather as a choice for your furniture is classic and can be timeless. When we think of craftsmanship, leather always comes to mind and the furniture it covers can last decades, sometimes a lifetime. Anything that is worth keeping, whether it be your favourite car, a flower garden or even a relationship, requires a little TLC and your leather sofa is no exception.
When it comes to caring for your leather furniture, cleaning and protecting is necessary but doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. In this article we break down the steps and products that will keep your leather furniture looking and feeling great for many years.
Leather used for furniture, particularly sofas is often referred to as finished leather. It is reasonably thin, about 3 to 5mm to allow softness and the ability to wrap around corners and cushions. The description of being ‘finished’ means the leather has had a colour coat sprayed over its surface after being treated and milled for softness. Once the colour is applied, a clear polyurethantopcoat is spray on the surface as the ‘finishing’ layer to protect the colour and help prevent the leather from absorbing liquid and grime.
It is this topcoat that needs to be cared for. So here are our top 5 tips on ensuring your leather sofa lasts years.
- Keep the surface clean. A regular clean will do wonders for your leather and stop the buildup of dirt and perspiration on the surface. Make sure you use a cleaning product that specifically says it is for leather. This ensures you don’t damage the surface finish or strip out colour. You should clean the surface at least every three months. If you don’t have the time to clean your whole sofa, professional leather technicians can provide this service and the results often make you say, ‘wow’.
- After cleaning, rub in a leather conditioner. Leather loves attention, just like your own skin. When you think about where leather comes from, it is literally a skin and responds to the same type of care that your own skin does. Everyday use can dry out the leather. By rubbing in a Leather Conditioner every three months, you help the surface stay soft and avoid cracking.
- Try to avoid pets living on the seat. Pet fur contains a lot of oils which can absorbed into the surface of the leather. If you’re special friend must have its place on the lounge, then a blanket or cover will help prevent the leather from drying out and cracking. It will also reduce the risk of claw scratches.
- Regularly dust and vacuum. Everyday, dust and lint can build up on all your household surfaces. When pulling out the vacuum to do the floors, attach the soft brush and give the sofa a once over. By avoiding dust build up in the seams and cracks, you ensure that the stitching will not deteriorate, and the leather doesn’t die.
- Consider a complete makeover every few years or so. Leather comes in all colours, and this colouring process can be redone by professional leather technicians. You may be redecorating or are just tired of that old dated colour. By having your leather sofa recoloured, the surface gets a new lease on life because the dyes and sealers are reapplied and it’s almost like starting from the showroom again.
Using the Right Leather Care Products
The products used should be appropriate to the material the item is made from. It is better to pay a little more for the correct care product than to purchase the cheapest cleaning agent off the shelf or to use whatever is handy in the laundry cupboard. For example, the products used for leather cleaning and conditioning should have the correct PH to match that of the leather. When the PH is mis-matched, chemical reactions take place which can break down the integrity of the leather fibres thus weakening them and creating the potential for the leather to be more easily damaged.
Care Cover has been manufacturing high quality leather care products for over a decade. All their products are specifically formulated for leather furniture, are Australian made and water based, which means safe for your leather and safe for your family.
Be diligent and consistent with the use of your furniture. Leaving dirt, grime, spills and perspiration on the surface for long periods of time allow those contaminants to break down the surface coatings and material fibres. The longer the time, the more the contaminants set and the harder they are to remove thus increasing the risk of damage during the deep cleaning that is then required to remove them.
There are many other important side benefits from regular professional cleaning as well. It’s good for your health. A thorough clean reduces the buildup or dirt, perspiration and dead skin cells which attract mites, mold, mildew and other micro-organisms.
Your lounge will feel better to sit on. The right leather conditioning product will soften and nourish your leather while improving the texture and surface appearance. It’s just like a Day Spa treatment for your lounge.
Why Restoring Your Leather Furniture is a Good Idea
With money tightening and rates rising, the choice of whether to repair or replace your leather furniture has just been made easier, courtesy of the Reserve Bank.If your budget no longer extends to buying new leather furniture, the next best thing is to completely restore your old leather furniture, including changing its colour. Yes you read right. You can change the colour of your leather lounge.
Leather care professionals like The Leather Doctor can take care of just about any repair and restoration service, from a tiny cat scratch to a complete colour change. What a lot of people don’t realise is that just because the colour of their leather lounge is looking dated, doesn’t mean it can’t be changed, and it’s an idea that’s catching on. With the building boom of recent years, instead of throwing out old leather furniture and replacing it, many renovators have found that changing the colour has been a cheaper and a more effective way of coordinating the ‘reno’ with the furniture.
The other advantage to recolouring and rejuvenating your existing leather furniture is you’re no longer faced with having to throw your favourite old chair out just because it’s looking a little tired. Like all good things in our lives, sometimes all they need is a little TLC to keep the love going.