The damage caused by incorrectly cleaning your leather upholstery can result in a lifetime of regret, as well as having to fork out your hard earned cash for a replacement or professional repairs. Follow the tips below to give yourself the best chance of successfully cleaning your upholstery leather.
#1 – Know your leather
Get acquainted with your furniture and establish exactly what type of upholstery leather you’re dealing with. Furniture manufacturers should label the furniture with a code that is specific to the type of materials used in its production. These codes are usually tagged on the furniture in an inconspicuous spot, so look carefully. Here are a few of the more common leather codes:
“A” stands for Analine which is raw, unfinished leather. Analine is very delicate, prone to abrasions and should be kept away from direct sunlight.
“P” stands for Protected leather and refers to leather that has been colored and treated with a clear protective coating. These leathers will be more resistant to abrasions and is the most widely used leather type for upholstery because it is hard wearing and durable.
“N” stands for NuBuck Leather but is also know as Suede. It is similar to Analine leather however the surface of NuBuck leather has been brushed to mimic the feel of velvet. Just like Analine, NuBuck leather is extremely delicate and can be quite pricey.
#2 – Not all cleaning products are created equal
Some products are marketed as ‘multi-purpose’ cleaners and conditioners, and understandably consumers can become overwhelmed. It is imperative that you get specific, the more specific the better. If you need to clean leather car interiors, purchase automotive leather cleaner. If you want to clean your furniture, purchase upholstery leather cleaner. Furthermore, patch test the cleaning product in a hidden place such as the underside of your sofa prior to attacking a stain or surface dirt with gusto. Patch testing will only take a few minutes, and could possible save you immense heart ache.
#3 – Avoid excessive liquids
Liquid cleaners can be turned into foam by using a regular household foamer. Using a clean dry cloth, apply your cleaning foam to the required area. Do not use a harsh rubbing motion, small circles work best. Using a new clean dry cloth, remove the cleaner using a blotting motion. Allow the area to dry completely before working a cream conditioner into the upholstery leather.
**Special considerations for NuBuck Leather
If the leather hide is not particularly dirty and you only intend to remove surface dirt and dust, using a specialized NuBuck cleaning cloth should suffice. For more serious marks or surface dirt be sure to massage the cleaning foam into the nap of the leather. Once you have blotted the area clean, use a hair dyer on low setting to dry the area while using a soft bristled brush to restore the natural nap.
#4 – Professional Care
Cleaning leather can be tricky so if you have any doubts or concerns enlist the help of a professional. The techniques used in the production of wholesale leather hides at a traditional leather tannery are wide and varied. A reputable professional will be knowledgeable in all grades of upholstery leather and can take the stress out of maintaining your leather furniture.