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Choosing a leather protector

Your gorgeous new white sofa has arrived and you are in loooooove with it. You purchase a glamorous new suede handbag and urgently move out of your old bag and into the mint-condition new one. You buy some nubuck boots and want to take steps to prevent stains as soon as possible. Your 2 new aniline armchairs are the most lux furniture you’ve ever owned. You promise you’ll do the leather care to keep them looking that way. The intent is there, but often, we forget to follow through or don’t know what to do. In this guide, we will explore the difference between leather protector and leather water repellent, explain their uses and identify the ideal application schedule to ensure ongoing benefits for your leather.

A white leather car interior only looks good when clean. Leather Hero’s Protect (No.3) helps to keep it that way

Leather Protector ‘v’ leather Water Repellent

Leather Hero leather protector is a wipe-on cream protector that provides an invisible shield on the surface of the leather. Leather Hero leather water repellent bonds to leather fibres, slowing the penetration of liquids.

Let’s look at the features and uses for the 2 products:

Inhibits dirt and grime from sticking to leather
Slows the penetration of dirt, oils, ink, spills and transferred dye into
leather or leather coatings
Makes cleaning easier
Nourishes leather
Slows liquid penetration
BEST FORFurniture, sofas, chairs
Leather & vinyl car interiors
Vinyl & Faux leather
Boots & other footwear
All weather apparel
Leather that is exposed to liquids
LEATHER TYPESMost pigmented (painted), nubuck, suede, aniline & semi-aniline leathers*Most pigmented (painted), nubuck, suede, aniline & semi-aniline leathers. Most fabrics and carpets*
SCHEDULE3 monthly or as needed 3 monthly or as needed
APPLICATIONPour cream onto clean just-damp microfibre cloth & wipe evenly over surfaceSpray and wipe evenly over the surface using a sponge and allow drying before use
*Always test in an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with your unique leather. Reapply more often when traffic and usage is high.

Why leather protection is important

The use of a leather protector can be a lifesaver in cars, on boats, apparel, bags, and on all types of leather furnishings such as lounges, armchairs, dining chairs, ottomans, and bar stools. Making cleaning much easier and helping to avoid marks and stains, leather protection is smart insurance for both the good looks and health of your leather.

White leather gets no dirtier than other colours but the soiling shows much more easily. For this reason, many people think its the best colour to own. With a regular care regime in place including the use of Protect (No.3) it’s possible to enjoy hygienically and aesthetically clean leather. The leather and coatings, in turn, are also likely to remain robust and intact for longer.

In contrast, whilst soiling is less visible on dark coloured leathers, we are lulled into a false sense of satisfaction. We cannot see the dirt and servicing tends to occur less regularly. Typically, such furniture is coated in grime but we don’t realise it. Instead, after a few years we suddenly notice that the surface is cracking, peeling and flaking. The soiling (a film of body oil, skin cream, food grime, perspiration, pet grime and dirt) has damaged the finish (topcoats and colour coatings) which has broken down and lost adhesion.

The finish on this sofa has been undermined by years of neglect. Leather protection in combination with cleaning and conditioning helps to reduce the unwelcome effects of body & hair oil, perspiration and grime on leather and leather coatings

No matter the colour, soiling happens. However, with the use of leather protection, that soiling can be reduced making cleaning easier, helping to prevent stains and extend the life of leather.

Extract care for nubuck, suede, and aniline leathers

There is great love out there fore the natural, earthy, timeless appeal of unfinished leathers. From sofas, to handbags, jackets to armchairs, dining chairs to footwear, and did we mentions sofas? They look and feel beautiful, blending perfectly in both classic and cotemporary settings.

For all that style, however, there is a practicality trade-off. These leathers are ‘unfinished’ meaning, they have no or little protective colour or top-coatings on the surface (semi-anilines have light coatings). Therefore their beauty and vulnerability go hand in hand.

The porous nature of this unprotected leather has allowed hair and body oil to penetrate into the structure of the leather.

This is where leather protection can be the hero that saves the day. By regularly servicing these leathers with a leather cleaner, conditioner and leather protection treatment, permanent stains can be minimised. Providing an invisible shield Protect (No.3), slows the penetration of the agents that cause marks and stains. It’s important the invisible shield is consistently maintained for full protection to be in place.

Leathers that are dyed may fade in high UV environments. A leather protector that contains a UV barrier can help to slow or prevent fading. This can make a significant difference for nubuck, suede, aniline and semi-aniline leathers in bright homes.

There are many makers of leather creating a wide array of finishes and styles. Always test products in an inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility with your leather.

Leather Water Repellent

It can be difficult to avoid water coming in contact with leather, especially when outdoors. Whether it be rain, snow, spills or splashes, Water Repellent (No.23) helps to slow the penetration of liquids, thereby helping to avoid water marks and the consequences of overly wet leather.

Love jumping in puddles?

Water is not really wet but rather, it makes solid materials wet. This happens when the water is able to adhere and then penetrate or sink into the material. When leather becomes wet, oils in the leather bind to the water molecules. As the water evapourate, it takes the lubricating oils with it, rendering the leather dry, stiff and brittle. Rips and tears tend to follow. The occasional spill that is quickly wiped or exposure to a few raindrops generally does no harm. However, a good soaking or many spills that are not wiped immediately can be the beginning of the end for leather.