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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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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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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.