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How to Clean Leather

The renowned luxury of leather is undeniable. When it’s not clean, that luxury fades and the experience of using it is greatly diminished. Soiled leather becomes clogged with contaminants that damage the structure and compromise the coatings, eventually leading to dry, greasy, peeling and ripped leather. Leather care is something you want to get right. It’s a relatively expensive material when compared to man-made options and using the wrong approach can have swift or delayed and disastrous results.

First, What Not To Use

Skip the ’clever hacks’ and the ‘all-natural’ home-made recipes you find on the internet. They are ill-informed and the risks are real. We’ve seen beautiful Italian leather destroyed when toothpaste was used to remove mould – as suggested by an online blog. Also, give a wide birth to household cleaners. We’ve seen many sofas ruined – rips, flaking coatings and stripped colour – from the use of the wrong type of cleaner such as cream cleansers, cleaning wipes, oils and other unsuitable chemicals. Your leather deserves better than supermarket grade leather care and although the kit you purchased with the sofa from the furniture store may do no harm, it might not have much cleaning grunt.

Bring in the Professionals

If you clean and maintain your leather furniture once every 3 months or so using the right products and methods, you’ve got this. Put your feet up, it’s time to relax. If you don’t, you may need the help of a trained leather technician.

Companies that specialise in leather care and restoration are experts with unique skills and knowledge. They are best placed to provide the thorough, correct and results-driven services you need. All too often, we encounter customers who complain that they were disappointed with the results of their last service. When we ask if they used a dedicated leather care company, the answer is most typically ‘no’.

Our tip; stick with the people who can address colour and finish problems, identify the leather type and select the right cleaner and technique rather than the one-size-fits-all approach you might find elsewhere. The cost of a quick, cheap or incorrect service can prove expensive in the long run.

Customers also tell us that they weren’t sure what to do to maintain their leather lounge so they did nothing. There’s no doubt that DIY done wrong can be a source of regret. So, how do the pros clean leather?

Success lies in the use of the right products, accessories and method.

The Right Products

Good leather care involves 3 steps; cleaning, conditioning and a protective anti-soiling barrier often referred to as leather protection treatment

Cleaning

The ideal cleaner is strong enough to lift dirt yet mild enough to avoid damaging the coatings or the leather.

Leather cleaning needs to balance short term results against long term effects

A professional-grade pH neutral general maintenance leather cleaner is ideal for everyday cleaning. It should be formulated specifically for leather, water-based, non-sudsing, non-greasy, non-abrasive, non-toxic and easy to use. With regular use, a good cleaner controls soiling and makes light work of maintaining your leather.

There are a few products you’ll never see a professional use. Abrasive cleaners are close to the top of that list. Many people have turned to them in an emergency to make quick work of an ink or red wine stain – but with disastrous results. They not only cut through the stain but the manufacturer’s coatings as well. Harsh and drying, they inevitably lead to rips and tears. Oily cleaners can leave a greasy, dust-collecting finish and detergents require too much water to rinse. Essential oils and strong solvent cleaners can react with the coatings causing tackiness or can dissolve the finish completely.

For the structural health of your leather, a pH neutral solution is best. Other cleaners can leave leather dry or greasy leading to cracking, peeling, rips or rotting.

Pros Know Leather

As there are a few main types of leather in use today, there are leather care products tailored to their requirements. What works on a pigmented lounge may be unsuitable for a suede handbag so it’s important to consider the type of leather before selecting a cleaner and conditioner.

The wrong conditioner

Imagine the owner’s dismay to see these white marks appear as he applied a respected household name conditioner on a favourite leather jacket. The conditioner is perfect for boots but not appropriate for unfinished apparel leather. We extracted the wax and applied a conditioner designed for anilines.

The Right Accessories

To get a great result you may be surprised to learn that most professionals use a scrubbing brush and some microfibre cloths.

When it comes to leather cleaning, you want to strike a balance between using gear that makes light work of the job and not damaging your leather. Gentle is best.

Look for a bristle brush similar to a nail scrubbing brush or a standard domestic cleaning brush. The bristles should not be too hard or inflexible. A light circular motion is usually ideal for agitating the dirt from the grain.

An absorbent microfibre cloth is perfect for wiping away the dirt. After cleaning, especially if the leather was very soiled, your technician may rinse the cloth or use a fresh damp cloth to wipe over the surface to ‘rinse’ before applying the conditioner.

Some accessories are in the toolbox but it’s important to use them with discretion. For the most part, we avoid magic erazers as they are deceivingly abrasive. They can quickly cut through the clear topcoat which can rapidly advance the normal aging process. If recolouring, however, and there’s an ink stain to remove first, a magic erazer can help. For most pros, these effective white sponges would not be the go-to solution for marks unless they intend to replace the abraided coatings with new ones.

Similarly, when it comes to cleaning leather, kitchen scourers can be overkill – unless refinishing (recolouring) is in the plan. They are usually less abrasive than magic sponges and when new, tend to be more abrasive than a scrubbing brush. Using steam to clean a leather sofa can be risky. To much heat and water can cause irreversible damage. Whilst steam kills germs and can dislodge some soiling, nothing does as good or safe a job as hand detailing.

Nothing does as good or safe a job as hand detailing

Leather Care Accessory Pack 4 Piece - Leather Hero
Simple accessories get the job done

Technique: Scrubbing ‘v’ Rubbing

The leather care industry is unanimous in its advice: Do Not Rub! A standard bristle brush helps to gently agitate soiling from the grain of the leather. We start gently, watching for any unwanted change in the finish. Extra care is needed when working on vintage sofas such as Chesterfields. The coatings may be unstable and simple cleaning can remove colour and finish. On most leathers, moderate scrubbing is safe and effective. In contrast, rubbing with firm force using a cloth clad finger or fist can be far more abrasive.

A few seconds of determined rubbing to remove a mark can result in the finish being stripped and an unwanted ‘bald patch’

The mark is gone and so is the finish. This was done using a cream cleanser and rubbing

Conditioning

After cleaning, to prevent drying and stiffening the professionals apply a non-greasy, non-shiny, non-darkening breathable leather conditioner. A good conditioner is penetrating so that it can be absorbed into the fibrous structure where it lubricates and moisturises. With regular use, this helps to promote suppleness and softness.

For most apparel, furniture and car applications, conditioners that are heavy in beeswax or oil are less appropriate as they may clog the pores, attract vermin or rot the fibres. Rich, waxy products can be ideal for achieving a high shine on a pair of boots or for a waxed leather lounge but care is needed before applying them to anilines or pigmented leather. Nubuck, suede and aniline leathers are highly porous. A conditioner that is rich in waxes or oils may cause darkening or leave white waxy marks. Your leather professional carries a range of conditioners and can identify the right one for your leather.

Protecting

The last step towards beautiful leather is an invisible, anti-soiling, breathable shield to help keep your leather clean for longer. Helping to protect the leather from the uptake of spills, grease, transferred dye and stains, it’s a smart inclusion if you want to make light work of maintaining your upholstery.

Do It Yourself

A professional service every couple of years ensures your furniture has the best chance of looking great over many years. In between those services, you can clean and maintain the look and feel using Leather Hero’s professional-grade Leather Care Kit. It has the gear you need to clean, condition and protect your car, boat, office and home furnishings. Best suited to pigmented or ‘painted’ leather, you can trust that it will get the job safely and beautifully.

The essential combo that makes leather look amazing and last longer

There are many leather finishes and qualities so regardless of the instructions on the pack, it’s important to test and observe how your leather responds before proceeding with a full service. With wear and tear, topcoats can wear very thin. If you think the original topcoat has eroded because the colour is wearing away, it’s time to replace it. Leather Hero Topcoat (No.7) is quick and easy to apply and is best used in conjunction with the rest of the refinishing system.

If you have unfinished leather, the Leather Hero Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Kit will take care of it. Designed to gently clean and nourish without changing the natural appearance of this special type of leather. Unfinished leathers stain easily. Keep this kit on hand to quickly address new spills before stains are formed.

Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Care Kit with accessories- Leather Hero
The right solution for Nubuck, Suede and Aniline leathers

Waxed pull-up style leathers are very popular. They offer relaxed sophistication and age gracefully, especially when maintained with a gentle leather cleaner and rich waxy conditioner such as Leather Hero’s Waxy Care Kit.

You can restore a luxurious vintage glow to waxed leather with this buffable conditioner

When It’s Time To Recolour

If you have decided to recolour your leather, a stronger cleaner is needed. Spot & Prep (No.4) by Leather Hero has the power to remove waxes, silicones, heavy soiling, marks and surface grease. A thoroughly clean and prepared surface is key to a lasting leather finish.

Leather Spot Remover & Surface Prep 1L - Leather Hero
Before colouring it’s important to prepare the surface correctly using Leather Hero’s Spot & Prep (No.4)

Out Damned Spot

Before selecting leather care products, it’s a good idea to know your leather type and the issue you want to resolve.

Dirty

Pigmented leather
Surface soiling can be cleaned as shown in this half and half pic.

If the soiling and marks are on the surface of the leather or leather coatings, it’s dirty. This type of soiling cleans up well with a good leather cleaner such as Cleanse (No.1) or Spot & Prep (No.4) if you are recolouring.

Mouldy

Mould can be cleaned and it’s best to catch it early

If mould has grown on your leather, it is both on the surface and in the structure. Leather Hero’s Mould Remover (No.21) kills mould and mould spores and helps to prevent them from reforming. Free of bleach, chlorine, triclosan and peroxide, it is non-caustic and kills 99.9% of germs, including staphylococcus, e-coli and pseudomonas. If mould inhabits leather long enough, it can ‘eat’ into the coatings causing cloudy marks. This can also be corrected via recolouring.

Stained

Aniline leather
These stains are permanent. The lounge was recoloured to hide them.

If the mark has penetrated the structure of the leather or leather coatings, it’s stained. Most stains are permanent and can usually only be minimised with cleaning rather than completely removed. Stained areas can be restored via recolouring using a Leather Repair Kit.

Greasy

Body and hair oil sinks into leather. It’s difficult to remove so prevention is key

If the leather has darkened with an oily appearance, it may be greasy with hair and body oil that has penetrated through the structure. This compromises both the strength and aesthetics of leather. Cleaning with Spot & Prep (No.4) by Leather Hero may remove grease from the surface but cannot fully reach the oils that are within the fibres. Recolouring is possible but the oils tend to resurface in time.

The Method

Test

  1. Test each product in an inconspicuous place to test for compatibility. If the finish changes or transfers onto a cloth it is not stable and may be removed by cleaning. Unless recolouring is intended, it may be best not to proceed

Clean

  1. Vacuum any dust and particles
  2. Spray the cleaner directly onto the leather one small section at a time
  3. Working quickly and gently, agitate the cleaner into the grain using a scrubbing brush
  4. Wipe clean with a microfibre cloth. During cleaning, if the cloth becomes very wet or heavily soiled change to a fresh one
  5. Repeat until clean
  6. Wipe over the area with a dampened clean or rinsed microfibre cloth

Condition

  1. Apply a tablespoon-sized amount of conditioner to a just dampened microfibre cloth and squeeze to incorporate
  2. Wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated

Protect

  1. Apply by spray to one section at a time
  2. Wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated
  3. Buff if desired
Leather upholstery is an investment worthy care

How Often To Clean

Consider how often we wipe down our kitchen benches and wash our clothes… Imagine going a month without doing either. Lounges and car seats in regular use gather soiling, spills and ‘human grime’ at the same pace as everything else we use daily.

A 1-3 monthly maintenance clean is recommended or more often in high traffic environments.  The more regularly you wipe over your leather, the quicker the job. Light and regular is infinitely better for leather than harsh spring cleaning or worse still, the one in 5 or 10 years clean. It ensures your furniture is always a joy to use and looks good too.

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How to get a sample of your colour

We’ve put together a list of options to help you get a colour sample.

The ideal sample size

The ideal sample is 15cm x 15cm but we know that’s not always possible. It should, however, be no smaller than 5cm x 5cm. It doesn’t have to be a square but we do need an area to test the colour as we mix. If your sample is very small, call us to discuss before proceeding with an order.

Old leather, new leather

Aged leather upholstery can display more than one colour due to UV fading, stains and wear. Unused areas usually reflect the original colour. They may no longer match high traffic areas such as seat cushions which have been extensively used.  Where possible, try to obtain a representative sample that matches the main areas of your project.

8 Ways to find a sample

Ask the Manufacturer or Retailer

Call the maker or drop into the store and ask if they can supply a colour swatch. Some may have samples they can post to you or allow you to borrow.

Snip a piece from the underside

If you want to work on a piece of furniture and need a colour sample, turn it onto its side and remove a few staples from the dust cover at the base. Look under the dust cover to see if there is a margin of leather to the inside of the staples. If there is, snip the largest possible section then restaple the dust cover back into position.

A matching Dulux colour

From the enormous range of Dulux colours, look for the one that matches your leather colour. Email the name of the colour and the code if you have it. If you find the colour you need in another brand, send us 3 swatches in the post as we may not be able to get them.

A detachable component

You can’t send us a sofa in the post but you can send a cushion cover or a detachable headrest or footrest. In cars, look for plastic parts that are the same colour as the leather seats or consider sending the headrest. Also, check under the seats for excess material from which to cut a sample. Although it is rare for parcels to be lost, we strongly recommend you fully insure your shipment for replacement value.

Buy a scatter cushion

If your colour is still current, you may be able to purchase a scatter cushion from the retailer. This will give you a new sample of the colour that you can post to us for matching. It also gets you a new scatter cushion!

The sample provided with your receipt

Often, retailers provide a leather swatch when you make your purchase. Find your original receipt and you may just find the sample. Alternatively, samples are sometimes stitched into the lounge under the seat cushions. If the cushions are loose, lift them to see if there’s a sample hiding there.

Ask a leather merchant

In most major cities there are leather merchants and wholesalers that supply leather to trades and consumers for upholstery, craft, shoe-making, accessories and a myriad of other purposes. It may be worth running your colour specifications by them to see if they can provide you with a useful off-cut.

Emailed photos are not as reliable

It would be wonderful if photos provided reliably accurate colour representation but they don’t. Colours can change depending on light, exposure, saturation and other factors. Computer screens can also greatly distort colour. We do mix colours from photos in situations where there’s no alternative. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed with this method.

Make life easy for yourself

There are circumstances when a close colour will suffice. Sometimes, the smart money is on recolouring the whole sofa or car seat, rather than attempting a small touch-up. When you recolour in full, you can change the colour all together. If the colour was matched from a photo and isn’t completely accurate, it’s unlikely to matter if you recolour the entire surface.

Conversely, when doing isolated touch-ups, results are much better if the colour match is true and accurate. If the colour is not perfect, the repaired area may be detectable. If the armchair you are restoring is a solo feature chair, a new or slightly different colour won’t matter. If it’s part of a 3 piece suite, a good match is likely to be preferable.

As professionals, we often restore the entire piece. It always gives the most cohesive and complete result. A well-executed isolated repair can work perfectly well but the freshly repaired area may still stand out – even with accurately matched colour and finish. That’s because it looks ‘like-new’ whilst the surrounding areas are still soiled, stained, abraded and worn. Even a subtly aged surface can be noticeable against a completely refinished area.

Each job is different. Our best tip is to consider the priorities of your job.

  • If you need colour accuracy, find a sample
  • If you want the most cohesive result, give the entire surface a makeover
  • If you can be flexible in terms of colour, send us a photo and we’ll send you a colour that’s similar

What doesn’t work

Unfortunately, we can’t mix colours from codes. Read on.

Colour codes cannot be used

Unfortunately, OEM codes, manufacturer colour names and serial numbers are of no use as there’s no comprehensive database of cross-referenced colour ‘recipes’ available. There are many makers of leather finishing products, many tanneries and many techniques used to create leather. Each maker uses its own materials and formulations. There are literally millions of different colours in use, currently and historically, across the various industries using leather.

Leather Hero after-market colourants are universal and each colour is mixed from a base range of 15 colours. With a sample in hand, we can match most colours.

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The Difference Between Leather Dye, Paint and Stain

There’s not one leather nor one leather finish. Like all industries, the world of leather has its own vocabulary and terminology. Sometimes those terms become incorrectly homogenised in the marketplace. When it comes shopping for DIY products, there’s one common misnomer to understand and avoid.

The word ‘dye’ is often incorrectly used as a catch-all for leather colourants and methods of all types. In fact, dyes are one type of colourant with specific application methods and they are suitable for some but not all leather types. For example, you would rarely use dye on car seats; you would use paints, otherwise known as ‘pigments’.  Paints/pigments are often falsely marketed as dyes and that’s not really a big deal so long as you end up with the right product for your job.

When it comes to repairing, restoration and recolouring, great results start with the correct products and techniques for the particular leather type. Dyes, stains and paints, pigments, colour restoration creams and vinyl finishes are just some of the options.

Beautiful waxed leather

Dyes and Stains

Dye, also referred to as aniline dye, is the concentrated form whilst stain is the ready-to-use version of dye. When it comes to upholstery leather restoration, stains are most commonly used as dyes are, in most cases, too intensely coloured for restoration purposes. Both penetrate the fibrous structure of leather making a chemical bond. Once dyed, leather cannot be un-dyed. Dying makes the leather darker in colour and cannot be used to make it lighter. In some instances, dye transference is a possibility unless sealed with a topcoat.

Aesthetically, dyes and stains add translucent colour that allows the natural characteristics of the leather to show. As dye goes into leather, it adds no surface coating. This allows the luxurious warm feel or ‘hand’ to remain unchanged.

Leather Stain is translucent and cannot fully cover stains
Leather Paint is opaque and can be mixed to create endless colour options

Dyes are not highly UV stable and are, therefore, prone to fading. Where possible, protecting dyed leather from direct light helps to slow this process. Leather Hero’s Protect (No.3) contains a UV barrier that helps to minimise fading.

Dyed leather can be ‘unfinished’ meaning that it has no surface coating. Semi-aniline leathers are lightly coated with pigments and/or polyurethane topcoats. Nubuck and suede are also unfinished leathers with a slight nap that gives a velvety soft plush feel. Unfinished leathers are drum-dyed during the tanning process. They are soaked and tumbled in large vats of aniline dye. As a result, the dye penetrates right through the fibres. If the rear side of your leather is the same colour as the top side, it is likely, dyed.

Paints or Pigments

‘Pigment’ is the industry term for leather paint. Pigment does not penetrate, but rather remains on the surface and forms a physical bond. It has an opaque finish which makes it useful for covering imperfections, stains and discolouration.

Pigments tend to be UV stable which makes them preferable for use in cars and in sun-drenched homes. The addition of layers of acrylic coatings lends protection to leather. Most soiling and marks can easily be cleaned and permanent stains can be visually eliminated via recolouring.

Pigments can be applied in a variety of ways to produce different finishes. The most common finish is one solid colour; think of a white or stone coloured sofa or light pink handbag. By layering an accent colour over a base colour, antique and faux-aniline effects can be achieved.

The purple paint on this car seat was mostly removed by cleaning
The area was refinished with leather paint to cover the remaining stains

Leather Paint Colours

Leather paints are acrylic-based coatings created specifically for application on leather and man-made imitation leather. They are formulated to be flexible, hard-wearing and to resist peeling and cracking. Mixable, water-based and non-toxic, professional leather paints are chroma rich and designed to produce a refined factory finish.

Colour options are endless. That’s why Leather Hero offers an extensive range of pre-mixed and popular furniture and car colours as well as a core range of master colours.

Vinyl

Dyes and stains cannot be used on vinyl (unless blended with pigments). The upper layer of this man-made material is essentially plastic. It can be refinished with vinyl or leather paint. As it is less porous than leather, the physical bond may not be as enduring as it is with leather. Vinyl paint is applied by spray whilst leather paint may be sprayed or hand-rubbed.

This motor yacht captains seat is difficult to remove so on-board restoration with leather pigments offered the ideal solution

FAQs

How are dyes and stains applied?

Dyes and stains can be applied by sponge, dauber, cloth, brush or spray gun

How are leather paints applied?

Leather paints can be applied by sponge, brush or spray gun

Can leather paints and leather dyes be mixed?

Yes. A small percentage of leather dye mixed into leather paint produces a paint that gives a semi-aniline effect

Are most cars seats dyed or pigmented?

Most cars seats are finished with leather pigments/paints – not dyes or stains

Are all brown sofas aniline or semi-aniline?

No. Lots of tan and brown coloured sofas are aniline or semi-aniline but many are painted. Shades of stone, caramel, putty and chocolate tend to be pigmented

Do dyes and stains only come in shades of brown?

No, they are also available in a variety of of other colours such as blue, green, red, yellow and ochre. They can be mixed to create unique colours such as oxblood and olive

Can leather paint and dye be used creatively to make art and design?

Yes! You can let your imagination go wild and use leather dyes and paints to embellish leather apparel, footwear and many other leather and vinyl items

Get creative!

If you can paint it on paper or canvas, you can paint it on leather using pro-grade leather paints. Imagine a truly bespoke hand-painted leather jacket or customised trainers, a decorated purse or even a set of vintage industrial bar stools creatively embellished. The only limit is your imagination.

Know your leather

Before starting a repair or restoration project, it’s important to know what type of leather you have. Common types include aniline, semi-aniline, nubuck, suede, pigmented or vinyl. Using the right type of colourant and finish is critical to achieving a satisfying result.

Leather Hero dyes, stains and paints are safe, easy to use and with correct application and aftercare, they offer lasting results.

Need help?

If you are looking for a leather product and need help, Contact Us.

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The Gladstone Bag; a vintage leather luggage classic overnight bag

The Gladstone Bag a vintage leather luggage classic overnight bag1 – Leather Hero

Looking for some leather luggage oozing vintage swag? The Gladstone Bag is experiencing a revival as fashionistas and vintage leather lovers everywhere celebrate the iconic design. Gladstone bags make the perfect overnight bag.

The namesake

The Gladstone Bag was created in the mid-19th century by J. G. Beard, a London leather dealer, who named it after William Ewart Gladstone, the British Prime Minister of the time. Usually made of very strong leather, the Gladstone bag was a type of suitcase. Built on a rigid frame, with a large heavy base, the original design opened wide into two sections and was tied with leather lanyards to keep it closed.

 William Ewart Gladstone

William Ewart Gladstone was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Newark-on-Trent in 1832. He came to serve four terms as Prime Minister of Great Britain and was known for his love of travel. Very much a keen admirer and supporter, Beard name his invention after William Gladstone. Believed to have been based on a French design, these bags gained popularity around the world with makers developing design variations to suit an array of traveller demands and the requirements of the many diverse professions that adopted them.

The first Gladstones

Like all design icons, the ever popular Gladstone Bag delivers in both form and function. Opening widely from the top with hinges that locked open, professionals and travellers alike appreciated the continuous and unhindered access to the content within. The heavy base gave the bag stability which prevented it tumbling over and the contents spilling or being damaged.  This meant that the Gladstone design was readily adopted by doctors (and later nurses), who would conduct home visits with a portable stash of medicinals neatly packed in the bags.  Later a ‘surgeons bag’ was developed. It included draws that acted like pull out trays and enabled drugs, dressings and instruments to be carefully compartmentalised.

Before the camera was invented Gladstone Bags were advertised in catalogues

Originally taken up by wealthy professional men such as businessmen, doctors, lawyers and politicians, the Gladstone Bag was later used broadly by men of varying trades; at first to carry their tools and later to carry their lunch as well. By the 1950’s the mission brown Gladstone Bag was familiar to almost every household in Australia as it carried Dad’s ‘crib’ (lunch), fishing tackle, tools, papers and just about everything else.

In Victorian times, gentile folk would travel with carpet bags and Gladstones. Then, as they are now, Gladstone Bags were considered high fashion and a statement of refined style. Referring to the Gladstone in the iconic 1891 book and film The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wild says ‘What a way for a fashionable painter to travel.  A Gladstone bag and an Ulster’.

Gladstone Bag advertisement

A safe place

In 1912, as the Titanic began to sink, it is believed that staff on board the ill-fated ship, stuffed Gladstone bags with precious jewels, valuables and cash from the safe deposit boxes of their wealthy passengers.  It’s thought that their intention was to prevent the valuables from spreading across the ocean floor by keeping them contained in the bags. Most likely, the ship’s pursers probably planned to return the precious cargo to their owner once safely back in New York. Although, sadly that did not eventuate, to a certain extent, their plan worked. The tanning methods of the time rendered leather resistant to the ravages of the oceans microorganisms. Those artefacts later recovered from within the Gladstone Bags that had rested on the ocean floor for decades, were found to be in relatively good condition.

The perfect holdall, the Gladstone Bag serves a group of knitters.

Good design never fades

In 1973, the Metta Catharina von Flensburg, a Danish brigantine that sank in Plymouth Sound in 1786 was salvaged. A cache of Russian reindeer hides was recovered. These hides are now exclusively for the use of GJ Cleverley who makes the finest shoes and bags, including a signature piece; a Gladstone Bag with a racing green goatskin lining which retails for £4,500 – no less!

  

Made to stand the test of time.

Gladstone Bags continue to be a favourite amongst today’s medical and legal professionals. Made new by leather luggage and fashion houses around the world, the design perpetuates for its style, function, tradition and nostalgia. Nowadays, the Gladstone Bag is no longer exclusively for men. It is highly sought after by women who appreciate the iconic style of this supremely collectable fashion accessory and find great purpose for this wide-mouthed bag. No longer unusual to see a woman with a Gladstone Bag on her arm, these bags have been reclaimed and repurposed as the ultimate feminine town and country accessory.

Setting the scene

These sturdy hand built bags have had a long career in movies that continues to this day. They conjure such warm feelings of style, industry and nostalgia that they have featured in countless movies. Somehow, they communicate the capable and purposeful intent of the carrier. It’s no doubt the long, professional career of the Gladstone Bag, and the many exquisitely important documents, decrees, papers, instruments, love letters and precious treasures they have reliably transported, that makes them such an aspirational possession for our time.

Alligator print leather Gladstone Bag

These famous bags, although predominantly cowhide, were embossed with the textured markings of a variety of exotic creatures from alligator to walrus

Gladstone Bags from Leather Hero

Today, Gladstone Bags lend their vintage chic to home interiors, retail spaces, film and television sets as well as being used as functional handbags, toolkits and travel luggage. The interior lining is often worn and sometimes stained or ripped. For most enthusiasts, given the prohibitive cost of relining, the condition of the interior is secondary to the design credentials and beauty of the outer leather shell. At Leather Hero, our focus is on getting the best out of the leather. We clean, sometimes recolour, tint, condition and topcoat our Gladstone Bags. In most cases, we leave the interior untouched, partly because we find interesting historical titbits like the names and addresses of previous owners written there. We prefer to preserve those little tokens of history so that the bag goes on to tell it’s enduring tale well into the future.

If you have knowledge or a story about Gladstone Bags, please share it with us. You are welcome to make a purchase enquiry at any time. Contact us for images, dimensions and a description of the operating functionality of the bags we have in stock.

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Caring for Leather; If You Want Beautiful Leather, Do This

Caring For Your Leather - Leather Hero

This is it in a nutshell… well 11 nutshells. When it comes to caring for leather upholstery, these are the golden rules. Whether you have invested in leather furniture, a leather boat lounge, leather car seats or apparel, these essential guidelines show you how to get the best out of your investment.

Loyal, long-wearing leather is a robust and luxurious material; a premium choice owned for a premium price. It’s best to remember that whilst it is low-maintenance, it’s definitely not no-maintenance. Here are our tips for enjoying beautiful leather upholstery that lasts:

First-Aid for Leather 

  • Usually, a spill isn’t a stain until it has time to set in. Have the right products on hand for when accidents happen and you can forget it ever happened.
  • If the kids get creative with pens and textas, remove their masterpieces right away. The longer their artwork is displayed the more permanent it becomes. If that’s the case, remove the available pigments from the stain and recolour the area with a leather repair kit 

Keeping it Real When it Comes to Caring for Leather

  • Household products are a No-No. It simply isn’t worth the complications down the track so stick to leather care products and don’t be duped into using potentially damaging substitutes.
  • A light wipe over every 3 months is easy work. Leave it for a few years and the grime will have settled deep in the grain and will be much more difficult to remove.  A light clean every 3 to 6 months will keep your leather looking beautiful and in fine condition.
  • A light condition every three months helps to keep the luxury in your leather. Don’t overdo it, just do it regularly.
  • Science and nature have something to help you care for your leather. A good leather protector offers a wipe-on, breathable protective shield that improves cleanability, resists stains and blocks UV. Use it from Day 1 when your leather is in showroom condition and enjoy that lush new leather feeling for much longer.

Managing environmental factors

  • UV is no friend of leather. It quickly dries out the inner fibres and leaves your upholstery brittle and very ready to tear.

Caring for leather
When it comes to caring for leather, misinformation and mysteries abound. Stick to these 11 truths to ensure that leather upholstery stays beautiful for longer. 

  • Air vents and heaters can silently evaporate the moisture balance from your leather leaving it parched and brittle. Take care to place them apart.
  • High humidity, rising damp or storing leather whilst still damp can create the perfect environment for mould spores to flourish. Good natural airflow and complete drying will help to prevent mould and mildew.

Call in the Leather Professionals

  • The oldie truism says it all; “A stitch in time saves nine”. Small rips only grow bigger. Our tip? repair or have them repaired before they deteriorate.
  • For some, a yearly service is too much, for others, it’s very much needed. Some sofas work day and night, others are seldom used showpieces. Some homes have pets or children, some recliners are occupied every day, some sofas are in busy hotel foyers and others are in a spare room that’s only inhabited by guests at Christmas. The same goes for car and boat seats and lounges. Whatever the usage, if you don’t get around to a 3 monthly once-over, have your leather professional do it for you.

In conclusion, neglected leather is unpleasant to live with and tends to perish early. Well maintained leather, on the other hand, lasts around 3 times longer. And while it does that, it looks and feels beautiful.

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What type of leather do I have? Take the quiz now

What type of leather? semi-aniline - Leather Hero

Let’s look at the main types of leather used in furniture upholstery and their key features. When it comes to caring for upholstery leathers, it’s important to know what type of leather you have before selecting your leather care products. That’s because each finish tolerates and benefits from different cleaners, conditioners and colourants. Using the wrong product may expose your leather to the risk of damage, unwanted changes or provide less than optimal results. So, how can you find out what leather you have when your memories and receipt have faded? There are a couple of quick checks you can make to unearth the missing information.

  • Look for a product tag. Check the underside of the sofa, the lower backrest seam or the bottom of a cushion for a descriptive tag. If you are in luck, it may list the type of leather and your search is over.
  • Search online for the same model. If you know the manufacturer, brand and model and it’s still in production, you may be able to verify the leather type via an online search. If you only know the store, they may also be able to help.

Types of Leather

In the absence of an informative label, identifying one leather from another requires a process of elimination. Although there are countless leather and leather finishing variants in use around the world, when it comes to upholstery leather, most fit into 1 of 5 main types:

  1. Aniline and Semi-aniline
  2. Pigmented
  3. Nubuck and Suede
  4. Waxed or Pull-up
  5. Man-made

Each type of leather has broadly typical characteristics. Use this quiz to help identify your leather.

If fingernail scratches leave a mark
and
water absorbs quickly...
Your leather may be
ANILINE or SEMI-ANILINE
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Aniline & semi-aniline

Aniline leather is “unfinished”. With little or no protection from topcoat layers, it tends to show scratches and absorb water quickly. Aniline leather is usually drum dyed. The colour passes right through the hide from the front to back. Popular shades include tan, brown and mahogany. Luxuriously soft and warm to touch, anilines may display naturally irregular grain, blemishes, wrinkles and creases. Semi-aniline leathers are a more practical version of this premium leather type. They are semi-protected by light layers of colour and topcoats which lend serviceability. Use Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Care Kit to keep you aniline upholstery looking its best.

If it is water resistant
and
the finish is a solid opaque colour
or painted effect...
Your leather may be
PIGMENTED
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Pigmented

Pigmented leather is the most common leather type found in family homes and cars today. If your sofa is opaque monochromatic red, black, blue, white, stone, chocolate or any other solid colour, it is more than likely, upholstered in pigmented leather. This practical material is finished with layers of protective colour and topcoats that lend a degree of water and stain resistance. In addition, manufacturers use transparent pigments and dyes to create special painted finishes such as antiquing.  The Leather Hero Leather Care Kit is ideal for maintaining pigmented leather.

If it's water resistant
and
the finish is a solid opaque colour
or painted effect...
Your leather may be
PIGMENTED
If it has a nap or pile
and
it's warm and velvety to touch...
Your leather may be
NUBUCK or SUEDE
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Nubuck & suede

These leathers are relatively easy to distinguish as a result of their luxurious plush hand (feel under touch). Nubuck and suede are ‘unfinished’ or ‘unprotected’ types of leather. This means that they have no barrier to soiling, spills and stains. Often made in soft warm whites through to rich tans and browns, these leathers require specific care to maintain their beauty.  Choose from Leather Hero’s range of Nubuck, Suede & Aniline leather care products to make your leather look great and last longer.

If it's water resistant
and
the finish has a burnished patina of
creases and cracks that give a distressed look...
Your leather may be
WAXED or PULL-UP
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Waxed or pull-up

During the finishing and upholstery processes, a tapestry of light coloured fault lines forms on Pull-up leather. These beautiful random striations add character and appeal. Waxed leather tends to be water resistant and often comes in the ‘natural’ earth tones of tan and brown.  If you have a waxed leather sofa the Leather Hero Waxed Leather Care Kit contains your must-have leather care products.

If the underside is woven
and /or
it smells like plastic
and/or
the pores are in a regular pattern...
Your leather may be
MAN-MADE
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Man-made

Bonded, split, PU, faux and vinyl are man-made materials. Although they are not technically types of leather, they are commonly used in upholstery and often referred to as ‘leather’. Bonded and split leather both contain some leather components but are heavily processed to render a viable product. In fact, leather may be a minor ingredient in the final product. The other ‘leathers’ are synthetic versions that mimic the real thing. Manufactured from plastics and fabrics, sometimes the underside looks woven, other times not. Smell is usually a good differentiator as are unnaturally regular pores. The Leather Hero Leather Care Kit is perfect for keeping these materials clean, soft and protected from soiling and stains.

Choosing Leather Care Products

What’s good for one type of leather may not be good for the next. There is a myriad of leather finishes and each has unique needs. It’s tempting to always go for the strongest leather care product to make light work of the task. Consider this; a waxy polish might be ideal for waxed leather whilst creating unwelcome changes on suede leather. A far better choice is to use leather care products that are developed for each type of leather. This minimises the risk of damage and ensure that you achieve the best possible results. No matter what type of leather you have, remember that you want excellent short-term and long-term results.Avoid home-made and cheap leather care products. Stick with professional grade solutions and give your leather upholstery the care it needs.

Your leather upholstery doesn’t need much from you but it will respond generously to the right care.  You can easily choose the right product for your job now that you are armed with the right information about the types of leather most commonly used in furniture upholstery today.

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The Leather Hero Blog Mission

Leather Lounge

Information prevents regret

Over and over again we hear the same lament from our service customers; they didn’t know what to look for when buying leather furniture, when caring for it or that repair and restoration were possible. The result is all too often, disappointment and regret.

That’s why we’ve created the Leather Hero Blog. Our mission is to help demystify leather, guide leather lovers towards informed buying decisions and provide care and maintenance products and advice they can trust. Another inspiration for this sharing of information is our desire to play a part in reducing waste. We just don’t like landfill. It’s our hope that by helping leather lovers to buy well and maximise the viable life of their purchase, we can reduce the fast consumption to waste cycle that results in mountains of landfill.

Making Leather Care Easy

Leather isn’t like anything else. It’s inherent warmth, texture, touch and aesthetic is pure luxury. Buying leather, whether it’s a sofa, a jacket or car seats, is a premium choice with the potential to deliver years, even decades of superior service. Most buyers start out with a strong intention to maintain it carefully. Yet, often this falls by the wayside. Why? One reason has to be that life gets in the way. Another reason and one we hear often is that they were unsure of what to do and what to use. That spurs us to create useful leather information, to fill in the information gaps and give other leather lovers the knowledge and confidence they need to be their own leather hero.

Real Life Experience & Science on Our Side

The Leather Hero Blog is built on combined wisdom. It’s through real-life hands-on experience, shared information from our network of leather industry professionals, and access to scientific research and development that enables us to put forth reliable leather care information. When we speak of risks, we’ve seen the nasty outcomes with our own eyes. When we suggest a care regime, it’s because we’ve seen what happens in its absence and because we know it works. And lastly, when we offer analysis of leather types, it’s to help you make the right choice.

Leather is Leather; Or is it?

It’s good to remember that there is not one leather, one tannery or one type of leather finish. Quality varies dramatically. Over recent decades, factories have experimented with new manufacturing techniques and finishes in search of cheaper production. Not all experiments have been successful and research and development continue today. These are just some of the factors that make leather repair and refinishing a dynamic and interesting space.

Share With Us

So passionate and curious Leather Heros, let’s explore leather and its care together. It might be a little bit ‘old school’ but for the sake of your wallet and the planet, let us inspire you to care for your things and repair before replacing.  Your contribution is always welcome. Send us pics of your regretful leather care mishaps and triumphant Before and Afters, questions, stories and ideas.

Rescues your leather

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Leather Jacket Lovers

Leather Jacket

A great leather jacket is a beautiful thing. Whether a snug little crop bomber, a studded, zippered biker, a billowing trench or demi-cape, a leather coat is an investment that exudes an edgy ‘born to be wild’ attitude. From a practical standpoint, leather jackets are insulating and flexible with the ability to mould to the shape of their owner. Improving with age, a well-worn leather jacket hugs you like a faithful old friend.

What is it about leather jackets?

Leather has been worn since prehistoric times and each civilisation since as crafted new forms, functions and styles from it. In the early 1900’s leather jackets were adopted by European armies for their rugged strength and warmth. Half a century later, the leather jacket had moved to Hollywood where leading men such as Garry Cooper and Jimmy Stewart somehow imbued the garment with aspirational iconic cool. Over the course of the next 50 years, it was adopted as the garb of pop and subcultures like greasers, punks, rock stars and bikers. Its once bad boy reputation has softened but not entirely disappeared. Retaining some of its dangerous edge, the leather jacket remains universally appealing as a style statement and treasured wardrobe must-have. Worn by royals, mums, divas and superstars, the never boring leather jacket is a luxury garment, designed in a multitude of colours, finishes, cuts and man-made versions.

BFF: Leather and Rock’n’Roll

You may know how to rock a leather jacket but do you know how to care for it? This wardrobe hero has the potential to journey through the decade with you. Let’s look at what it needs to go the distance.

Wearing your leather jacket

Unlike other materials, leather has pores through which it soaks in its environment as it ‘breathes’. Taking in fresh air it is able to top up expelled moisture and release the unwelcome effects of smells, smoke, rain and pollution. When wearing your leather jacket, try to avoid contact with abrasive surfaces that could scratch through protective coatings, erode pigments or wear the surface of your leather jacket. If you and your beloved jacket get caught in the rain, it’s not the end of the world. Remove as much water as you can by dabbing it with a clean dry cloth then hang it up to dry naturally in an airy location. Don’t force dry it or you could end up with a stiff corpse that may never return to its former glory.

Smoke gets in your eyes…and your leather

Cleaning your leather jacket

Cleaning your leather jacket isn’t a maybe, it’s a must. Remove the surface grime you can and can’t see with a good leather cleaner. Dust, mould, body acids, oils and dirt can settle in the tiny pores in the surface of the leather. If left to build up, these contaminants clog the pores and break down the structure of your leather. Thinning, rips, holes and delamination follow and your much-loved jacket is on its way out.

Remember that spills can become permanent stains so remove them quickly. Specialist products like the Leather Hero Ink Stick (No.17) are invaluable when your pen does the unthinkable and leaves an eye-catching blue squiggle right across the chest area of your white leather jacket! A light 3 monthly clean is preferable to waiting until your beloved jacket is choking on built-up grime that only harsh scrubbing will remove.

Conditioning your leather jacket

A good leather conditioner contains lubricants that penetrate and nourish your leather with moisture. Over time and in dry environments your leathers natural lubricants break down and dissipate. Under the surface, it’s made up of a myriad of fibres knitted together by protein bonds. If these fibres are allowed to become parched, brittle and dry, they start to rub together, abrade one another and eventually, they disintegrate. That’s why conditioning your leather jacket with a good leather conditioner is so important to keep your leather jacket supple.

Everyday style and edge; a great leather jacket takes you anywhere

Protecting your leather jacket

‘’Protection? Is my jacket under attack?’’ I hear you ask. The answer is ‘’yes, it’s under attack’’. Remember all of those icky human oils, dirt, mould and grime? A protector with anti-soiling properties helps to prevent dirt from sticking, water from absorbing, UV from drying and stains from penetrating. A good protector is like an ‘insurance policy’ that improves the cleanability and stain resistance of your leather. A specialist protector like Leather Hero Protect (No.2) forms a flexible, invisible, breathable barrier that safely repels the factors that degrade leather health.

Feeling alive; feeling creative

Storing your leather jacket

How you store your jacket over summer is a key consideration. Follow these simple rules to ensure its preservation during the offseason.
• Clean and condition your jacket before you put away for summer
• Find a cool, dry environment for your jackets slumber. Heat is not good news for leather. Leather expands when exposed to high heat so avoid direct sunlight, exposed light bulbs in your closet or warm air vents. Once a leather coat loses its shape, there’s no way of restoring it back to its former shapely self.
• Store away from damp. Mould spores and mildew just need the right conditions to grow. Store your leather jacket away from humid conditions and chronic damp.
• Cover it with a cotton garment bag. This will ensure your jacket emerges from its hibernation dust free and ready for an outing.
• Hang it using a sturdy wooden or padded coat hanger. Empty the pockets as continuous weight could cause stretching.

Follow these tips when storing your leather jacket and it will be ready to step out in style next time you are.

A bit of fresh air is good. Too much UV is bad

Repairing and restoring your leather jacket

Accidents happened and time can take its toll on the dyes, pigments and coatings. Small rips can be corrected using a DIY leather repair kit. A good kit contains everything you need to do a pro job; leather surface prep, pigments and conditioner. You’ll amaze yourself when you masterfully conceal small scuffs, holes, rips and stains, effectively turning back time for your favourite leather jacket.

Got a black leather jacket?

Give it a new lease on life with Leather Hero’s Black Jacket Reviver No.16. It’s a unique semi-transparent, easy to use, colour boosting, protective cream for black leather designed with your black leather jacket in mind. It lets you bring back a rich, deep black without adding opacity or shine. You can wipe away years of cosmetic damage and revive the original depth of colour all in one project hour.

Classics never die

Perhaps it’s the robust yet soft shell nature of a leather coat that makes it feel like a really cool ‘’me against the world’’ shield or perhaps it’s just that it’s not fabric that makes a leather jacket so special. But whatever it is, for those of us who love our leather jackets, there’s nothing we’d rather wear.

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6 More Deadly Enemies Of Leather You Never See Coming

Dry, cracked leather

How to Care For Leather

When it comes to leather, there are silent killers; agents that cause it to deteriorate, weaken and eventually rip, peel or crumble. You don’t see them coming because they usually creep up slowly, damaging your leather slowly, diminishing its original strength and beauty.

When you know the enemy and have the right armoury of defence, keeping leather looking and feeling beautiful is easy. Watch out for these leather assassins. Read on to learn what damages leather and how to care for leather.

No.1, Body Oils

When it comes to knowing how to care for leather, this is a big one. We need body oils or sebum to keep our skins looking and feeling young and supple. Without them, we’d be wrapped in itchy, dry, wrinkly old skin. So, if they’re that good for us, how can they be so bad for leather?  Every touch and every rest of an arm on an armrest is coated with body oil that’s loaded with salts, enzymes, hormones and acids.  Add medications and your leather is being force-fed a bitter pH cocktail that eats away at its insides.

Whilst you and your pets are chilling on the sofa, you are slowly painting it with body oil. You don’t see its impact immediately but after a while, you’ll notice dark, greasy looking patches, cracks and flakes or delamination of the finish. This is a sign that oil has penetrated through the outer coating, accumulated and has literally rotted the fibres of your leather, turning it them to mush  Oil soaked leather loses its strength, thins and tears.  Sadly, it’s past a point of return and RIP once lovely leather.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Wipe your upholstery with a professional grade leather cleaner every 3 months. This will intercept the accumulation of oils. Next, take out an ‘insurance policy’ for your leather by using a leather protector. This will help to repel oils, reducing their destructive impact.

No.2, Dust

Harmless dust – no one ever said. Although it seems insignificant, dust contains particles of matter such as soil, pollens, human and animal skin and hair cells, paper and textile fibres, ash, minerals and a myriad of other polluting substances. Mixed with body oils, perspiration and anything else that settles on the surface of your couch, it forms a sludgy paste. This is the dirt you see on your couch. Here, it acts like a sort of micro-abrasive sandpaper that erodes the manufacturer’s coatings.  In the absence of a physical barrier, the sludge penetrates the leather via the pores where that harmless dust grinds the fibres and ultimately destroys your leather.

Dust and leather don’t mix

No.3, Salt & Chlorine

Wet, chlorine or salt soaked cossies. Containing harsh chemicals, they have no place on leather so remember to change or dry off before sitting on your luxurious leather with a wet derriere.

You’ll probably never see leather pool-side furniture

No.4, Water

Another invisible assailant of leather is humidity. The effects of water on leather vary depending on the amount of water exposure. The amount of moisture in the air is considered “normal” when it’s around 30-40% relative humidity. This means the air is not too dry or too saturated. Entering via the thousands of pores in its surface, humidity is readily absorbed by leather. Some moisture is very beneficial to leather but too much is detrimental. With inadequate moisture, leather becomes dry, brittle and cracks. With optimal moisture, it stays soft and supple. Yet, with too much, mould and mildew can set in.

Getting caught in the rain doesn’t spell the end for your leather jacket

In a warm, damp environment with poor circulation, airborne fungi and bacteria spores can embed in your leather. If it’s also carrying residual organics spills, you have the perfect climate for a lush mould and mildew garden. Other than managing the levels of humidity around your leather, regular cleaning is the best preventative and corrective measure. What if you and your leather jacket get caught in the rain? Don’t worry, your jacket will be fine providing you hang it in a protected space where the air circulates. Let it dry slowly. Don’t force dry it or hang it straight in your wardrobe whilst it’s still damp.

No.5, Household cleaners

It can’t be said more simply; using the wrong products on your valuable leather can kill it.  Just because it’s natural or already in your cupboard doesn’t make it harmless, cheaper or suitable. Boot polish, alcohol, perfumes, beeswax, hair spray, markers, window cleaner, nail polish remover, detergents and baby/wet wipes are unsuitable leather care products. They can dry out, fade, stain, crack, clog, mark or rot your leather. The damage they inflict can be swift or slow but always unforgiving and costly. Beware of seemingly harmless natural and home-made recipes such as olive oil leather conditioner. These remedies may look good on the surface but can wreak havoc on the inside of your valuable upholstery leather. Knowing how to care for leather is largely about using the right leather care products correctly. Stick to professional grade leather care products that are developed specifically for the health and longevity of your leather.

No.6, Smoke

Due to the porous nature of leather, airborne particles can penetrate and cause odours and discolouration. Leather that is frequently in an environment of cigar, cigarette and open fire smoke, as well as cooking fumes, needs a bit of extra care. To minimise the effects of smoke on leather, give it fresh air, regular cleaning and protection.

Smoke gets in

When you know what damages leather,  caring for it becomes easier. Adhere to a 3 monthly care regime using quality leather care products such as the Leather Hero’s Leather Care Kit. As time rolls on and it’s hard to regret taking good care of your things, including your leather furniture.

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6 Deadly Enemies Of Leather You Never See Coming

erda-estremera-sim-wMf365c-unsplash

How to Care for Leather

Leather is robust, resilient, durable, flexible and generally, highly serviceable. It is widely regarded as a luxury material and can be expensive by comparison to alternatives. Yet, and probably due to these qualities, leather often provides years of service with no maintenance. Predictably, however, there is a tipping point when a once beautiful leather piece begins to show the effects of neglect, harsh environmental factors and the use of damaging products. The enemies of leather are often silent, invisible and subtle. Once aware of what damages leather and how to care for leather, you’ll be inspired to set a simple regime of regular care to protect and nourish your leather.

No.1, Neglect

Leather is low maintenance but not no maintenance. Not surprisingly, the old adage ‘’a stich in time saves nine’’ applies to many aspects of leather care. Love your leather by following these simple rules;

  • Clean up spills immediately. If you catch a spill quickly, it may not become a stain. Set-in stains are almost impossible to remove and usually require refinishing to fully conceal.
  • If not stitched in, fluff and rotate cushions regularly. Leather eventually moulds to the shape of its most regular position. Switch the cushions around, change seats and plump the cushions to prevent deep wrinkles, stretching and other signs of ‘’Dad’s chair’’  (Sorry Dads, it’s almost universally true that your favourite chair wears out first!).
  • Alternatively, spread your use of your furniture evenly so that wear and tear are also even. Often lounge suites are discarded because one or two seats have deteriorated ahead of the rest of the suite.
  • Clean and condition your leather upholstery every 3 months using professional grade leather care products. Use a leather protector to redcue soiling, UV damage and make cleaning easier. The work is light when it’s regular and the cost is minimal compared to purchasing new furniture. Don’t wait until your leather looks dirty. Many of the contaminants that damage it are invisible to the naked eye, such as hair and body oils.
  • Fix accidents fast. Don’t live with life’s mishaps. Fix the cat scratches, remove the transferred dye and repair the tear. If DIY is not your thing, call a professional.

Armrests bear the brunt of  soiling and wear making them particularly vulnerable to damage

No.2, Perspiration

Sweat is water with a dash of minerals, lactic acid and urea. Like body oil, perspiration is no friend of leather. Eating through the protective coatings, it actively damages the fibrous structure. Your leather’s salvation lies in a 2- pronged approach; prevention and remediation. On the hottest days, place a washable barrier such as a throw rug between sweaty bodies and your leather. Next, clean that invisible layer of sweat off your leather once every 3 months. It’s hard to remember to fight invisible foes, so put it on your calendar. Follow up with a coating of leather protector then apply a conditioner to show your leather that you care. 

No.3, Non-colour fast dyes

Food, clothing, magazine and newspaper dyes can penetrate and stain leather. Remove the stain as soon as possible. Keep some transferred dye remover in your care kit. It will draw out all or most of the dye and any remaining shadow is best recoloured. Try Leather Hero Dye Remover to say goodbye to those unwanted colourful marks on your leather.

No.4, Heat & UV

How luxurious those moments spent in a comfy armchair by a window with a good book soaking up some warm rays of sunshine? Now imagine, you’re the leather armchair; you can never move away from the sun, even on the hottest of days. Imagine the effects on your skin. Leather left in the sun ages as prematurely like skin. It dries, cracks, bleaches and becomes brittle. Faded leather can bleach to a shade of grey, detracting from the original good looks. Similarly, heating vents and radiant heaters can rapidly damage your leather furniture, drying the out the fibres causing splits and rips. Use a good leather protector with UV filters to help prevent dye bleaching. Faded leather can be restored using professional grade leather dyes and pigments. When it comes to how to care for leather, placement and the use of UV filtering blinds is not one to overlook.

An aniline armchair has faded reflecting cosmetic and structural damage from UV exposure

No.5, Thermal shock

Leather does not take kindly to rapid or extreme changes in temperature. Breathing’ through the pores, moisture is taken in and expelled out.  When UV exposure is constant or temperature extremes occur,  moisture is taxed out of leather leading to dryness and cracking. When it comes to how to care for leather on boats, you just need a good plan. Boats can’t avoid the sun and there’s not a boat owner who would want to. As much protection from covers as possible, very regular cleaning, a good leather protector and nourishment with a quality leather conditioner give sea dwelling leather the best chance of a long and healthy life. Leather Hero Protect No.2 uses advanced technology to impart superior UV protection for leather that can’t avoid a life in the sun.

No.6, Pets & sharp things

It’s fair to say that your adorable furry friend may not be a good friend of your leather lounge. Pet claws and other sharp things such as jean studs, zippers and scissors can damage your leather in a wild moment. Whether it’s a dog jumping on and off or a cat that uses your lounge as a scratching post, their claws can rip deep gauges and leave your furniture in tatters. We know it’s not easy to prevent pet ‘vandalism’. Try using throw rugs, do additional training, facilitate their natural behaviours outdoors or place a scratching post indoors. If the damage is done, all is not lost. It is possible to restore pet damage using professional grade leather repair products such as the Leather Hero Small Repair Kit.

Cat scratches

Life should never be about becoming a slave to your possessions. Yet, following some simple guidelines can, with little effort, protect your investment in beautiful leather furnishings. So if you’ve been wondering what damages leather and how to care for leather, these are our tips. Be mindful of the effects of radical temperature changes, place leather away from windows and heaters, provide pet beds and train your furry friends to love them, remove stains asap and give your furniture a quick once over every 3 months (no scrubbing required).  You’ll be glad you did.