When creating the perfect home decoration, you’ll find all sorts of materials and textures for your furniture and decorations. One of the most popular materials used for high-end furniture is leather. This luxurious surface makes for some of the most comfortable and lavish chairs, sofas and even panels on the walls.
Asides from being luxurious looking, leather can also last for many years and instantly polish your home decor and make it suddenly pop. If you decided to purchase leather furniture you won’t regret it, but there are a few things you must know so you don’t end up spoiling it with improper care. In this article you’ll find the best cleaning tips to care for your leather furniture.
1. Check Which Type of Leather is Your Furniture
In order to give your furniture the proper care it needs, first you need to find out what type of leather it’s made of. While we can all agree that leather is leather, it can undergo very different treatments to provide a very particular appearance. Try checking the tag of your furniture or ask at the place where you bought it. If you can’t find it, here are some tips to identify each type of leather.
- Aniline leather is extra soft to the touch and is dyed with aniline tincture (hence the name). Aniline leather typically has no more than a little dust-protecting coat. It’s very pure but it’s also more prone to staining.
- Semi-aniline leather has a protective finish and a top layer of pigment color, which makes it more durable and stain-resistant. It usually has a more firm texture than aniline leather.
- Finished leather has several coats of pigment and polymer, which make it the most durable and resistant type of leather. You can identify finished leather because it has a shinier look than the other two.
2. Take Care of Spills and Small Spots Immediately
Leather, unlike many other fabrics, has the tendency to get severely stained even by the slightest drop of water. Since furniture is made for you to use, your family and even guests on a typical basis, inevitably, at some time, someone will spill something on your leather furniture.
When this happens, the basic leather care guide tells us to immediately take a dry cloth, or kitchen roll, and slowly blot the spillage to absorb the excess liquid. Never wipe the liquid out of the leather since this will create a permanent mark. If a big spillage happens you can also use a damp cloth to gently dab on the spot, but if the stain is caused by grease you shouldn’t apply water.
3. Avoid Abrasive Solvents and Let it Dry Naturally
Even though leather seems like a very noble surface that resists all sorts of substances on its surface, it’s actually quite delicate when it comes to cleaners. Stay away from abrasive solvents and all-purpose wipes, cleaning solvents, wooden polish, varnish or ammonia water, since they can contain chemicals that’ll end up damaging your furniture and shortening their lifespan. Instead, pick a soft cleaner specially purposed to clean all types of leather, or your specific kind of leather if you know it. Once you’re done, it’s important that you let it dry naturally, never blow dry leather furniture. Also, make sure no one sits on the furniture until it’s completely dry.
4. Use Distilled Water to Buff Scratches Out
This is one of the most helpful cleaning tips when it comes to leather care. Tap water contains big amounts of chlorine, which over time can damage the finish of your leather furniture. Leather also can’t retain big amounts of liquid like fabric does, that’s why you should always use small amounts or slightly dampened cloths. Aside from stains, scratches are also a common thing to appear on leather furniture. When this happens, take a few drops of distilled water with the tip of your fingers or a chamois cloth and start gently buffing the surface until you notice the scratch fading.
5. Dust and Vacuum Twice Per Month
Even when there’s no particular spillage or stains on leather furniture, you should still give some basic maintenance to your items. Dry-cloth dust or vacuum your furniture every couple of weeks, paying special attention to all the crevices, corners, nooks and near the bottom using the special brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. This point is particularly important because you don’t want to neglect your furniture and let it last less time than it should.
6. Keep Away From Direct Sunlight
Since good quality leather comes from a natural source, there’s one thing that can seriously shorten its lifespan, and that’s sunlight. In fact, extended exposure to sunlight, and particularly high temperatures, can cause dryness and cracking in your couch or chairs. When you think of organizing your living room and dining room, try to position your leather furniture away from windows that get a lot of sunlight, fireplaces, radiators and air conditioning units.
7. Gently Wipe the Leather With a Moist Cloth
Let’s finally set things straight – the right way to clean leather chairs or couches is to take a clean and light piece of cloth and dampen it with just the right amount of leather cleaning cream or liquid. Once the cloth has some product on it, gently wipe your piece of furniture, making sure to cover it completely, otherwise the marks from your wipes will be noticeable once it’s dry.
8. Condition Every 6 to 12 Months
This piece of advice is what could make your furniture last many, many years in a brand new-like condition. Leather contains natural oils that need to be replenished or nurtured every so often. These oils are what makes good leather soft to the touch and “cushiony” when you sit on it. Using a specialized leather conditioning is the perfect way to bring back the moisture to the leather, while it adds an extra protective layer that lasts anything from 6 to 12 months.
If, by some reason, a major spill or stain occurs on your leather furniture, remember to keep calm and tackle the problem one step at a time instead of trying to pour every product you own on your furniture. There are very specific industrial cleaners that will remove all sorts of stains and offer extra-durable protection to the surface. Leather care can be done by you most of the time and, with proper preventive care you shouldn’t have to go to a professional to fix a big mess.
Remember that having leather furniture is a great luxury but it also involves you being very cautious and having the right materials around to take care of unexpected spills and to give it continuous care. We hope these cleaning tips will leave your furniture shiny for a long time!