Leather sofa set, leather glider chair, leather recliner chair, leather swivel recliner chair…Whatever kinds of chair, they all share an obvious common denominator: leather upholstery.
Often considered as classy and sophisticated, leather is a popular material. Generally, though, it is called as faux or synthetic leather since it is not made of actual animal skin. This costs much lower than the genuine stuff and its use is considered more ethical by many.
The Use of Faux Leather
Faux leather is usually used as sofa, chair and headboard upholstery. Its two primary types of construction are polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). “Leatherette” or “vegan leather” is usually used in the auto upholstery, clothing, and furniture industries. “Koskin” is reserved for consumer goods.
So faux leather is an alternative to real leather and cloth. It has actually become quite a fixture in our everyday lives that it can be found anywhere and everywhere. However, there are various downsides to choosing faux over real. To mention two glaring problems, the synthetic kind is much less durable and is non-biodegradable.
Both issues are important and need not be ignored. Thankfully, knowing the proper leather furniture care should make a big difference. Cleaning leather upholstery the right way should keep it safe and let it endure longer, therefore, it stays useful and beneficial.
Given that premise, how must an owner take care of his/her leather sofa/couch, leather swivel chair, or even leather dining chairs?
Related Content: How to Repair Scratches From Leather Furniture
The Best Way to Clean Leather Couch and Others
Cleaning leather chair is fairly easy. Generally, leather upholstery can be cleaned this way.
- Vacuum the furniture thoroughly. Do not miss any crease or crevice. This already lessens the dirt, at least. Use the soft brush attachment to avoid any scratches. Use a smaller hand-held vacuum if the one at hand is too strong at suctioning out dirt.
- Now, it’s time to mix the best leather furniture cleaner, which is a few drops of mild liquid facial or body soap (neutral-pH non-detergent liquid soap) and 1 quart of water (preferably distilled as it is chlorine-free). Wait for suds to form. NOTE: If there is a leather cleaner designed for furniture upholstery, use it instead.
- Dip a rag a little in the solution and test it on a small area that is not easily noticeable. It’s to make sure the mixture is right and safe for the leather.
- Once sure that it is alright, dip a rag again in the soapy mix. Wet it but do not let it keep dripping. Wring it out so that it is only damp, not dripping wet.
- With the rag, wipe on the furniture surface, but do it one section at a time. Again, do not miss any crease or crevice.
- Wipe away the soap residue. Use a separate rag for it, but this time, dip it only in distilled water.
- Get a new rag or clean towel to dry every cleaned surface.
- With yet another separate rag, buff the surface. This should bring back the old shine.
- Lastly, treat the surface using water-based leather protector/conditioner (found in most furniture stores). Make sure to follow specific instructions.
- Remember, for leather:
- Avoid using abrasive cleansers, baby wipes, and other alkaline cleaners so as to protect the finish.
- Avoid using any kind of oils (except linseed oil, but never raw).
- Avoid using saddle soap, varnish, ammonia-based cleaners (i.e. Windex) or bleach.
- Avoid applying anything that is not endorsed by the tanneries.
- Vacuum and dust the leather regularly.
- Keep furniture away from sunlight.
- Don’t place furniture very near heat sources (heating vents, fireplaces, air-conditioning).
- Do replenishing with 1 part distilled white vinegar and 2 parts boiled (never raw) linseed oil. Shake the solution well, apply in circular motions, leave it for 10 minutes, then buff the leather with a soft cloth.
- Apply a good leather couch conditioner every six to 12 months to keep the leather in good, soft and supple condition.
Do know that there are two leather types: unprotected leather (aniline leather but also called pure aniline, full-aniline, or unfinished leather) and protected leather (may be labeled semi-aniline, aniline plus pigment, or pigmented leather). Make sure to know the differences.
Stain Removals and Disinfecting Leather
There are additional ways to clean leather. For stain removals, find the best leather couch cleaner.
A nice room or office should look better without stained upholstery ruining the look. Each or at least one of these methods should do the trick to remove stains from any furniture (such as a leather desk chair or a leather chair and ottoman combo).
Dark stain: Make a paste containing cream of tartar and lemon juice using a 1:1 ratio. Rub the paste on the stain then leave for 10 minutes. Remove the paste with a damp rag and moisturizing soap after. Dry and buff with a soft cloth.
Grease stain: This is, by far, the easiest. Simply wipe the grease off with a dry cloth. Do not use water.
Ink stain: Wet a cotton swab with isopropyl rubbing alcohol and rub over the stain. Blow-dry using the lowest setting.
Newsprint ink stain: Aerosol hairspray should do. Spray it on the stain then wipe off with a soft cloth.
Spills: For aniline leather, blot the spill immediately with a clean, dry white cloth. Don’t do anything else unless a consultation with a furniture maker, retailer or leather cleaning professional is done.
For semi-aniline leather, wipe off water-based spills with a clean white cloth lightly dampened in distilled water. Air-dry. If stains occur and are hard to remove, moisten a soft cloth or sponge with mild, non-detergent soap and lukewarm water. Apply it on the stain, wipe off the area with a damp cloth, then blot-dry with another. No air dryer, please. As for oil-based stains, simply blot with dry, white cloth, no water.
Now how about making sure the leather is safe for people? Disinfect it! Make sure to have a leather seat cleaner especially for specific chairs like a leather nursery glider. A mother cannot afford to be sick and, definitely, a baby should be healthy at all times. Keep baby safe.
Sanitize the leather when there is sickness in the family and if contamination of any kind happens or is suspected. One can never be too sure. Rubbing alcohol can be quite handy as a leather chair cleaner, although test it first on an inconspicuous area to make sure it does not cause discoloration. If it does remove the color, try white vinegar as an alternative.
Moisten a cloth with rubbing alcohol and simply wipe down affected areas or even the whole chair, if need be. The residue is bound to be there so clean afterward with a leather cleaner and conditioner mix, which is 1 part vinegar and 2 parts boiled linseed oil.
Don’t Clean Just Yet!
Before starting some leather chairs cleaning, there are actually certain things to consider. These are very important in cleaning leather furniture the proper way:
- Determine the leather type. It need not be a guessing game as the information is indicated on the furniture’s tag or label. In case not or in the absence of a tag, a written material or manual will most probably accompany the order, anyway, and the information will most likely be there as well. An alternative is to look up the item on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website.
- For unprotected leather, consult the manufacturer’s cleaning directions or a leather cleaning professional before using any products. Remember to do a test on a small hidden area. For protected leather, avoid saddle soap, detergents, oils, furniture polishes, abrasive materials and any cleaners with ingredients that can cause burns.
- Some commercial brands approved by some furniture makers: Lexol, Mohawk, Leather Master, and Leather Magic.
- Either the tag or the manual will provide the right leather chairs care tips, including what solutions and cleaning methods to avoid, based on the leather type. Those are recommended by the manufacturer so it would be best to follow their recommendations. Also, there are leather types that should only be cleaned professionally.
- If the retailer adds in leather care products for any furniture bought, use them instead of experimenting with other solutions. They are recommended for a reason. They have been tried and tested to be safe for the leather. In case of any doubt, ask the retailer or the manufacturer.
These may be a lot to remember if one needs to take care of leather furniture. But also remember that becoming an owner automatically makes one responsible for what he or she owns. Buying leather furniture equates to adding beauty and comfort to the home or office. Being responsible is really a small price to pay.
Make sure to contact the furniture retailer or manufacturer for any questions, suggestions, and instructions regarding leather furniture care and maintenance.