Leather Upholstery: 5 Things to Remember

Leather upholstery not only looks luxurious but also feels great and is the perfect way to add a touch of style to your home’s décor. However, investing in leather upholstery also means taking the time and trouble to care for it, and ensure that it maintains its looks year after year. Here are five things to remember when using leather-upholstered furniture.

Cleaning Leather Upholstery

Leather furniture has a tag that contains the cleaning code. “A” stands for Aniline, Natural or Unprotected leather; “P” stands for Protected or Pigmented leather; and “N” stands for Nubuck. Check the instructions for cleaning each type of leather. While dusting leather upholstered furniture is the easiest way to keep dust and dirt from settling in, there are times when you may need to clean the leather thoroughly. In such instances, use a mild, moisture-rich soap. Lather the soap first and, gently, wash with the lather and a damp cloth. Avoid using too much water and do not rinse. Just buff dry with a soft cloth.

Remove ink stains by gently swabbing with rubbing alcohol and drying the area. Dark stains on light-colored leather can be removed by making a lemon juice-cream of tartar paste in 1:1 ratio and applying it on the stain. Let it stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Reapply the paste and then, gently remove with a damp cloth and mild soap.

Protecting Leather Covered Furniture

Position leather furniture properly to protect it from the direct rays of sunlight. This will prevent the leather from drying, cracking as well as fading. Also, protect the furniture from stains and spills as much as possible. Using a commercially available stain repellant product for leather upholstery every month or so should help.

Nourishing the Leather

Retain the richness of leather upholstery by nourishing it periodically with a mixture of linseed oil and vinegar in a 2:1 ratio. Apply this mixture using a soft cloth. Gently work the mixture in using a circular motion. Let it stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Then, buff once or twice with a soft cloth to make the leather shine. Another alternative is to use leather cream every 6 months or so to keep the leather moisturized. However, these options are only for coated leather upholstery. Uncoated or natural leather will absorb the oil and become blotchy, so do check the manufacturer’s specifications or cleaning tag.

Fading of Leather Upholstery

With the passage of time, the natural color of the leather may fade away. Instead of attempting to darken the color through artificial means, continue to nourish the leather and let it fade naturally. Fading is a natural process and aged leather that is nourished well looks just as beautiful.

Products to Avoid with Leather Furnishings

Avoid using any furniture varnishes, polishes or oil on leather upholstery. These products can be harsh and may contain solvents that can damage the touch and feel of the leather. Also, do not use commercial automotive leather cleaners to clean leather upholstered furniture. These, again, will be too harsh.

Taking care of leather does require a bit of time and effort, but it is totally worth it. Proper care ensures that expensive leather furniture continues to look rich, beautiful and elegant through the years.