6 Step DIY Care for Genuine Leather Upholstery

leather lounge chair

Whether you have had a sofa custom built for your home or whether you have reupholstered existing furniture using genuine leather, there are recommended guidelines to caring for your new leather.

If properly cared for, genuine leather will give you many years of use. Some leather types also develop a patina over time and become more beautiful with age.

Take care to choose the correct type of leather for your needs. If you have children and pets in the house, it is recommended to choose a semi-aniline or corrected grain leather as these are finished with sealer coats. They are soft to the touch and have a natural look and feel. Natural markings come to light and the leather is sometimes of a thicker substance.

Make a note of the leather type you have purchased for your upholstery i.e. Buffed, Pull Up, Corrected grain, Full grain Semi-Aniline,  Full-Aniline etc.

Each of these types of leather have different care instructions, but some principles remain the same across all types of leathers.

Here are 6 steps to help you care for your genuine leather upholstery:

1. Avoid direct sunlight on genuine leather. It will dry out the leather, and the colour will fade.
Drying out the leather results in cracks in the colour and the hide becomes brittle and will tear or the finish will flake easily.

2. NEVER EVER use any type of household cleaning product or chemical on your leather! It will affect the leather by damaging the protective layers. This will result in the colour stripping off the leather, or it will result in the leather cracking and splitting (looking like it’s dried out).
No chemicals are safe to use on leather. No dishwashing liquid  – no matter how diluted, cream surface cleaners, spray on furniture waxes / polishes etc.

3. Take care to never use a cloth that has been previously contaminated with such chemicals as even indirect contact can have an effect on your genuine leather over time.
If something spills on your leather, blot it up with kitchen paper / a serviette / toilet paper first. Then slightly wet a clean or new soft cloth with clean running water and blot lightly over the spill to remove sticky residue. Then leave it alone to air dry. Do not wipe!

4. Dust leather with a soft new cloth (or one dedicated specifically for this use, which has never had any chemical detergent exposure). One can also use a soft bristle attachment on a vacuum cleaner to lift any dust stuck in-between deep buttons and folds etc.

5. Genuine leather tends to absorb oils, stains, and even sweat and may affect the look of the leather over time. If it is a light coloured leather, it may appear grey, yellow or brown.

6. If you wish to make use of a leather cleaner/conditioner, follow the instructions on the container and always test it on an inconspicuous spot first.

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