Care & Maintenance of Top-Grain Leather Upholstery
care & cleaning of top-grain leathers
Leather type upholstered furniture creates special room aesthetics, since leather has character. Product value is reflected by possible irregularities and colour differences. Leather types’ colour can change over time through exposure to oils, sun or moisture. Genuine Leathers when properly cared for, will maintain their beauty and appearance for many years. They are also the easiest to care for of all upholstery materials. Each leather type has its own care and cleaning specifications, but there are also some generalizations.
Here are some care tips:
UV rays penetrate deeply into the tissue structure of leather, just like in our skin. Although leather will not get sunburn, the tissue structure can become brittle depending on the type of leather and how it was processed. This results in small cracks in the leather surface that distend with time. One can also assume that direct sunlight will darken the leather. Above all, do not expose natural leather surfaces to direct sunlight for hours on end.
Each type of leather has its own water supply, a natural moisture level, so to speak. This natural moisture level would be disrupted after long periods of direct exposure to heat. Leather dehydration is the result and the surface structure will become porous with time. It is advisable not to position a leather furniture next to a heater or stove for an extended period of time.
Micro-fibre cloths are not suitable for leather care. The fiber structure is simply too fine for leather surfaces. It is better to use a paper towel in cases of superficial soiling. You can also use the paper towel with warm water.
Make sure to use distilled water in cases where larger areas have become soiled. Simply use the same water that you use for ironing. You can also use the condensation from your tumble dryer for leather care. Try to work with as little water as possible, as this could otherwise lead to water stains.
General care tips:
1. Keep it clean. Vacuum and dust often using a crevice tool in seams.
2. Though most leather types are resistant to fading, direct, prolonged exposure to the sun will cause any material to fade. Therefore, it is important to position your leather furniture away from windows, skylights or other intense light sources when possible.
3. Keep your leather furniture at least 12” away from radiators and other intense heat generators to prevent drying
4. If spills do occur, attend to them quickly, blotting the stain rather than rubbing.
5. Do not leave newspapers on leather furniture. The ink in the newsprint will rub onto the leather. This is true for all
6. Take extra care with sharp instruments and animal claws. Leather is much stronger than upholstery but will
7. Never use harsh cleaners, chemicals or saddle soaps as they may damage the finish. Before using any cleaner, test- clean on a hidden area.
8. Depending on use, lighter colours may require more frequent maintenance than darker colours.
Before you Begin
• It is important to read your upholstery tags to determine what kind of leather you have and any cleaning solutions or methods to avoid. Some types of leather (although rarely found on today’s furniture) cannot tolerate water and should only be cleaned professionally.
What you Will need
• Vacuum clean with soft brush attachment
• Mild liquid facial or body soap (such as Dove or Neutrogena)
• Distilled water* (NB. It is best to use distilled water because tap water may contain chlorine and other contaminants which can damage the surface of the leather).
• 2 Buckets and at least four soft rags
• Water-based leather protector/conditioner (found in most major hardware stores) and possible cracking.
Puncture with force, causing need for a difficult repair.
• Vacuum the piece of furniture thoroughly, being sure to use the soft brush attachment (leather scratches easily). If the suction on your vacuum is too strong, consider using a smaller hand held vacuum with less power to prevent leaving marks on the leather.
• Mix a few drops of liquid soap with about a quart of distilled water, mixing until suds form.
• Test a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture first.
• Dip one of the rags in the soapy water and wring out thoroughly.
• Working one section at a time, wipe the surface of the furniture with the damp rag.
• Dip a separate rag in clean distilled water (no soap), wring thoroughly, and wipe away the soap residue.
• Dry thoroughly with the third rag.
• Buff the surface with the fourth clean rag to restore luster.
• Treat the surface with leather protector/conditioner as per product instructions.
Leather furniture stain removal
Remember to always test a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture first before using any of these methods.
• ink stains: Dip a cotton swab in rubbing (Isoprophl) alcohol and rub over the ink stain. Dry with a blow dryer set on its lowest setting.
• dark stains: (i.e. food, blood, etc.): Make a paste of one part cream of tartar with 1 part lemon juice. Rub this paste on the stain and leave it set for 10 minutes. Remove the paste with a damp rag and moisturizing soap, as described above for general cleaning. Buff the leather dry with a soft cloth.
• grease stains: Simply wipe stain from the leather using a dry cloth. Do not apply water to the grease stain.
• newsprint: Newspapers left on leather furniture can cause a newsprint ink stain. Spray the stain lightly with aerosol hair spray and then wipe with a soft cloth.
Additional tips and advice
• Clean spills immediately! Leather is porous in nature and if any liquid is allowed to penetrate the surface, the stain will be extremely difficult to clean.
• Avoid using any type of harsh cleaners or abrasive cleansers on your leather furniture as these will cause damage to the surface.
• NEVER use any kind of oils (such as mink oil), furniture polish, or any product containing waxes or silicone (including many car care products) on your leather furniture as it may damage the leather and leave it feeling sticky. Consequently, be very careful when using Pledge, or any other type of furniture polish, around your leather.
• Generally, it is not good to use saddle soap, varnish, ammonia-based cleaners (i.e.. Windex) or bleach on your leather furniture, all of which may be too harsh for the leather and may cause serious damage or discolouration.
• Vacuum and dust your leather furniture on a regular basis to help the leather breathe and last longer.
• To protect your leather furniture, keep it from fading, drying out and/or cracking, avoid placing it in direct sunlight and keep it at least two feet away from any heat (i.e. heating vents, fireplaces, radiators, etc.) and air conditioning sources.
• Leather does occasionally need to be replenished. Although there are products on the market for this, you might try mixing 1 part distilled white vinegar with 2 parts linseed oil. Shake well and apply to leather in broad circular motions. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then buff with a soft cloth. A second buffing may be necessary.
• NEVER use baby wipes or any other alkaline cleaner on your leather furniture as it may damage the finish.
• Remember, if you have any doubt as to the proper way to clean your leather furniture; do not hesitate to call a professional. After all, leather furniture is an investment, and sometimes you may need to spend some extra cash to protect that investment. For help finding a reputable professional to clean your leather upholstery, contact your local Chamber of Commerce. You can also find a variety of cleaning specialists in your yellow pages.
Care & maintenance of Bonded, faux and recycled leather upholstery
general care & cleaning of Bonded, faux and recycled leathers
• Position bonded leather upholstery furniture away from direct sunlight from windows or skylights. Bonded, faux and recycled leathers are vulnerable to fading when exposed to sunlight.
• Wipe with a soft, damp cloth to remove dirt and body oil. For tough dirt or stains, clean gently with leather cleaner or a mild non-alkaline, non-detergent soap and a soft cloth. Test the cleaning product on a hidden area of leather to make sure it won’t cause discolouration or damage to the leather type. It is imPortant that you repeat cleaning with a damp cloth every two to three weeks to remove dust and to prevent staining. If your upholstery furniture gets a lot of use, you may have to clean it more often.
Bonded leather furniture stain removal
• Blot spills up with a soft, dry cloth or paper towel as soon as they occur. Do not rub stains or spills. This can cause bonded leather to wear rapidly.
• Vacuum regularly to remove dust, dirt and debris. Use a soft brush attachment to avoid tearing or scratching the leather type and use a crevice tool to remove dust and debris hiding in the seams.
• Apply a tablespoon of leather conditioning treatment labeled for use with polyurethane stamped leatherette products to a soft cloth. Leather conditioners are available at most major hardware stores.
• Test the conditioner on a hidden area of the upholstered furniture to ensure it won’t cause discolouration.
• Massage the conditioner onto the leather type, but avoid rubbing. Pay attention to the areas that get the most wear, such as the seats and arms.
• Wipe away excess conditioner with a dry cloth. All Bonded, Faux and Recycled Leathers should be treated with a conditioner about twice a year.