There’s something very luxurious about leather-upholstered furniture; it’s a stylish and elegant material that will go with most any interior decorating theme, may that be retro or modern. Pieces of it can be found all over the homes of the wealthy and well-known. Cared for properly, it can last up to two decades, holding up much better than normal cloth or fabric. Your leather furniture is an investment, and like with most investments, it’s essential to know exactly how to keep it looking perfect, and help it age well. Here’s how.
(Image from Thomaslloyd.com)
Most leather upholstery is finished, which means that it comes with a protective coating. Common cleaners can, believe it or not, erode this coating and cause more harm than good to your furniture. Before you begin cleaning, check the manufacturer’s notes or label for their recommendations, and test clean an area that isn’t extremely visible.
A dry cloth and regular vacuuming can go a long way in keeping the shine on your leather furniture. A weekly rub-down will suffice, but quickly cleaning up spills is also essential. Most people commit the common mistake of using too much soap and water to clean down their leather chairs or couches: do not do this! Some soap variants can be harmful to the material, causing it to crack and disintegrate faster than normal. Using ammonia or other strong solvents on a stain can cause the leather to bleach and weaken, too. Use only the minimum amount of water to remove the stain and do not allow it to sit stagnant on the surface.
Leather scratches easily, and that can cause unsightly marks to appear on the surface. Keep sharp metals and other objects away from your furniture, and take care not to use your nails when you clean it, either. Pens, keys, and other small things with potentially rough edges are a no-no, so before you sit down, make sure you haven’t got any of these on your person. As much as you can, remind any guests you have over of the same rule.
There are a lot of leather conditioners available on the market and these supplies will help keep your furniture looking pristine, but be careful not to go over the top with it. Judicious use of these conditioners is recommended; a thorough application once every six months or a year is best. Some leather conditioners are made with strong chemicals that will, again, cause it to break down, so pick something mild and use a light hand. Contrary to popular belief, there is no real need to condition your furniture once a week.
Direct sunlight and exposure to heat are only two common causes of leather breakdown and fading, so keep your furniture away from those things. Don’t sit them too close to a fireplace, or a window. Remember, leather is essentially animal hide, and if excessive heat isn’t good for your skin, it’s not great for the material, either.
Take extra care of your favourite spot, because this is the place that experiences the most wear and tear. If you’re unwilling to part with your number-one place to read or work in, then make sure it’s receiving the best care.
Finally, in cases of tears, puncture holes, and the like, consult a professional repairman. You can also buy repair kits, but these are unwieldy and shouldn’t be used without prior instruction. You wouldn’t want to make it worse, so leave it to someone who knows what they’re doing and try not to aggravate the tear.
Therese Shaw is a freelance home decorator and writer. When planning ways on how to design beautiful and office spaces beautifully, she writes about interesting furniture finds and collaborates with InstyleModern.com, modern furniture replica experts.