One area where you can prevent leather problems is how you place your leather furniture in your living space. Here are some tips for placing your new leather well in your living space so it stays beautiful for many years.
I wish it were't true, but light colored leathers do get dirtier than darker colors. But don't let that keep you from buying them if they are what you want. Just keep a few prevention and cleaning tips in mind. (I'm speaking primarily to finished leather in this article)
Over the years, there have been many common household products that my customers were surprised to find would damage their leather furniture. While most leather does have a protective color and clear coat, it is still possible for common household chemicals to damage most leather finishes. Here are the 10 most common chemicals I have seen damage customer's leather.
Hand sanitizer- Most waterless sanitizers contain alcohol. Alcohol will eat through color and topcoat on many leathers leaving a discolored area. So make sure the alcohol has dried before pressing your hands against your leather furniture.
Pet ointments- I've had a number of calls from customers who put a skin ointment like flea and tick lotion on their dog. Later the dog rubbed up next to the leather or laid on the leather and the ointment took the color off the leather. So keep fido off the leather till the ointment dries fully.
Dish soap- Mixed in a mild solution of soap and water, dish soap on leather should not hurt it. On the other hand, i had a call recently where a little guy flicked a bottle of dish soap across the leather and put spots in the finish. So keep the dish detergent in the kitchen.
Skin cremes- Many leathers will stain or discolor from the oily, greasy chemicals in skin cremes. I have seen hand prints occur on leather that don't go away without professional help.
Hair gels and chemicals- Sometimes hair chemicals will take the color off of the headrest area of a finished base/print leather. More often it happens over time. The leather is fine for 1 or 2 years and eventually a darkened or discolored area grows that is very difficult to clean or remove.
Nail polish remover- I imagine most of us realize that this one is a no-no. Still I get lots of calls for nail polish remover having taken the color off of a customers leather furniture.
Windex- In a pinch, I've had a number of customers try to remove a stubborn stain or just clean dirty leather. It will clean the leather, and take off the color over time.
Simple green- Same with this powerful degreasing cleaner. Most people don't just grab the Simple Green. They are frustrated because other milder cleaners just won't take out the stains. Problem is it will wear out the finish on your leather. Be sure to check out our sections on cleaning your leather for safer tips on taking out stubborn stains.
Candle Waxes- Sometimes candle wax will drip off a candle, dry on leather and you can just scrape it off the leather with no residue. Other wax candles have oils and dyes in them that will leave an oily stain or dye transfer.
Hot Tea/Hot Cup- I've seen a number of perfect circles of discoloration on my customers leather seats. Come to find out, they sat a cup of hot tea or bowl of hot soup on the leather and the head and moisture damaged the leather.
So, learn from the experiences of some of my customers over the years and keep these chemicals clear of your leather.
I love pull-up leather. It's distressed look ages beautifully over time. This leather, more than any other, can become an heirloom piece that your children's children will enjoy. IF, and here i add a big if, you care for it correctly. I've seen it needlessly destroyed many times simply because the consumer didn't know what they had and didn't know how to care for it. So do you have pull-up leather? If so how do you keep it beautiful for generations to come? It's easy.
1. Do I have pull-up leather? Sadly, many times your salesperson will not know to tell you that you are buying pull up leather. Ask them and if they know or can find out from the mfg, great. If they can't help or you already own the leather, try these 2 simple tests:
Scratch test-find a hidden spot of the leather and lightly run your fingernail across it. Did it scratch? Rub your dry finger across the scratch. Does it disappear? If you answered yes to both of these ?'s you probably have pull-up leather.
Stretch test- Pull-up leather has "color-burst". press on a spot on the leather with your finger or grasp a loose area of the leather and stretch it. If it lightens where you grab it, it is probably pull-up leather.
Appearance- Just looking at pull-up leather you usually will see two main characteristics. It is usually satin to semi-glossy, especially if you buff it with a soft, dry cloth. It is also usually distressed looking with shade variations, hide scarring as well as light and dark areas.
2. So if you do have pull-up leather then here a few tips for the general protection, care and maintenance of you pull-up leather goods.
Most pull-up leathers are susceptible to fading in direct sunlight. Keep them out of it as much as possible.
Though pull-up leather will repel some moisture, water, oils and other liquids can eventually stain it. Keep moisture off of these leathers or dry them by tapping out stains with a soft, dry cloth. Wipe evenly over an entire seat or arm section of the leather from seam to seam. Avoid pressing hard in one small area. Then buff to a shine with a dry cloth.
Ink, markers, and other dyes are very difficult to remove from pull-up leathers. Keep them away from these leathers and call or e-mail a professional if ink or dye stains occur to these leathers.
1-2 times a year you can apply a high quality leather conditioner/rejuvinator to your pull-up leather goods. First rub in the product and then buff to a nice finish with a soft, dry cloth. This will protect the leather and keep it looking beautiful. We recommend SG-50 for this process. Click here to buy it. SG-50 is the most expensive of the Advleather line of leather care products but well worth it for keeping pull-up leather looking great. I am not against recommending an over the counter solution when it works. In this case, I don't think that most over the counter leather conditioners have the properties your pull-up leather needs to remain beautiful over the years.
Nubuck leather is a soft, beautiful leather that displays a brushed appearance. Brush it one way and it's a lighter version of the color, brush it the other and it's a darker version of the color. The leather is made when a top-grain or full-grain hide of leather is sanded on top till the top till the fibers become a soft, nappy nubuck finish.
Though not many of my customers have this leather, those who do find beautiful but difficult to clean. Oils, dirt and normal wear tend to fill the loose fibers of nu-buck and
give it a shiny, finished leather look. It may also cause you to loose
the original brushed look and feel of the nubuck. So here are some tips on cleaning nubuck leather:
Don't use liquid leather cleaners or conditioners on nubuck leather. It is not strongly protected and liquids will darken and mash the leather fibers.
To restore the brushed nubuck look and feel you can use some simple household products. Because the leather is sanded when it is made, you can brush or sand the surface of the leather without harming it. Try a 600 grit sandpaper or a stiff nylon brush and brush back and forth over the surface of the nubuck in a brisk back and forth, seam to seam motion. The sanding will create a dirt and leather dust. Just use a soft dry, cloth to wipe off the dust. Repeat the process for each seat, arm, backrest seam to seam. Check out these examples:
If a specific spot on the nubuck is stained try a simmilar method. Use your fingernail first, then a folded piece of 600 grit sandpaper on the spot. It may be ligher and slightly scratched looking so rub firmly and briskly over the area with the same soft cloth. Like in this example:
Sometimes a dark stain will not brush out of nubuck leather. Often it is because the stain has an oil base to it. In this case you need to try to draw the oil out of the leather asap after it is stained. First try placing a pinch of cornstarch on the stain. Let it sit overnight. The next morning if the cornstarch has yellowed than it has pulled out some of the oil. Brush it off and repeat the process until the stain can be brushed out. If this method doesn't work you can buy specific degreasing pastes which are more efficient at pulling oils from leather than cornstarch.
Before you even get any stains, nubuck leather will benefit from a spray protection being applied to its surface. But be sure that you or the pro you hire use a spray made for suede/nubuck/aniline leather so the finish is not compromised.
Over the years I have had some customers shy away from buying nubuck leather. I say it is soft, beautiful and cleans up well if you know how to clean it. And now you do.