How to choose leather furniture?
Furniture and Upholstery Leather (part 2)
How to clean and condition leather furniture?
When made aware of the many considerations and details involved in making leather furnishing, one may think that its proper care and maintenance will be complicated and difficult. Fortunately, it is not so!
With the exception of Nubuck, all types of leather (named in part 1) are more or less cared for and maintained the same way with only minor variations in products to use and/or in their respective ratio.
How to clean and condition leather furniture?
Many leather cleaners contain glycerin, silicone, or other substances that may damage or accumulate onto your leather. With AQUILA, there are no such substances or accumulations which makes it perfect for cleaning your leather furniture often. But just how often should you clean a leather sofa? Grease and sebum accumulation must be avoided at all costs because once leather is stained and/or « burned » with these, it is very difficult if not impossible to clean or restore. Cleaning, regularly and often, is your best long-term protection against these stains. We recommend cleaning at least once a month (or more for light colors or heavily used furniture) even if only to quickly clean the armrests and the headrests.
Here is how you do it: Simply spray AQUILA (Urad's gentle leather cleaner) on a soft cloth and gently wipe the surface of your leather sofa. Pay special attention to the armrests and headrest areas. Repeat if needed. On certain types of leather (especially Top grain or Corrected and Pigmented Grain), and in certain situations (for example to remove grease stains on headrests), AQUILA can be sprayed onto leather directly. Always test in a hidden area first.
After cleaning, leave to dry before moving on to the next step.
- Moisturizing or Conditioning and Protecting leather furniture
Under normal circumstances, it is recommended you moisturize, condition, and protect your leather furniture once or twice a year. This can all be done in one single application! To do this, we will use both URAD and TENDERLY, mixed together. URAD will do most of the heavy lifting work by cleaning, conditioning, moisturizing, and protecting your leather. And TENDERLY will soften and help condition the leather all while making it a faster, easier, and safer application.
While for some types of leather, you might get away with using only one of these two products, a mixture of URAD leather cream and TENDERLY leather softener is the easiest way to apply smoothly and uniformly to large surfaces and is also, luckily, what generally produces the best results!
The rule of thumb is the more porous the leather, the more TENDERLY should be used in the mixture. For example, for a very porous calfskin, a recipe containing about ¾ TENDERLY for ¼ URAD might be used whereas on a not as porous Full grain aniline, the proportions might be half-and-half or completely reversed to ¼ TENDERLY for ¾ URAD (see notes for more on mixture ratio).
Apply this mixture like you would apply skin cream — it is better to use very little and spread it as thin as possible, helping it penetrate leather by quick but delicate wipes.
- When mixing URAD with TENDERLY, before opening the URAD jar, shake it vigorously until it liquefies, making it easy to blend in with TENDERLY.
- The thick surface colored finish (that some leather receive) can be scratched. The color of the grain dye may be slightly or even completely different than the surface finish color (See illustration). Full-grain aniline-dyed furniture does not have this additional colored protective surface layer and is not subject to this color differences problem.
- URAD cream contains carnauba wax which has a natural yellowish-brownish color, more or less dark with each harvest. While URAD neutral can be used on all colors, it may slightly darken very light-colored leather (white leather couch for example) if applied too thick. For this reason, the lighter the color, the more TENDERLY is used in the mixture.
- More on Mixture Ratio
Porosity is the essential characteristic when it comes to determining the best ratio of products to use for conditioning. The more porous the leather, the more Tenderly ratio is increased in the mixture.
You can determine the degree of porosity of your leather by performing tests on hidden or less visible areas. Try spreading a drop of water and see what happens. On some very porous leather, water would penetrate leather within seconds whereas, on a very non-porous leather, the drop of water would evaporate before ever penetrating leather's surface!
Another way to determine the best product or best TENDERLY / URAD ratio is to simply try one product or some ratio directly and adjust the ratio only if needed (tip: I always try URAD-TENDERLY in a half-and-half ratio first). Did the test areas remain somewhat tacky (even after 5 minutes)? Then more TENDERLY should be used in the mixture (watch this video that shows how to use Urad & Tenderly together). Was the color not restored enough or did the leather still seem too dull? Then add more URAD.
- With its extreme degree of porosity, the above care instructions do not apply to NUBUCK. The methods used to maintain and care for Nubuck furnishing is addressed in a separate article: Nubuck leather.
Gum on leather furniture
- Put a few ice cubes in a small plastic bag and put the bag on the gum until it hardens. It will then be easy to remove without scratching or damaging the leather.
Discoloration and Scratches on Leather Furniture
- On full-grain aniline, the normal care and conditioning steps above should be enough to restore color uniformity. For all other leathers (with the exception of Nubuck), you will need to apply COSTA BRAVA dye. Either apply it directly on the scratches, using a Q-tip (right before applying the mix URAD-TENDERLY) and/or by adding the dye to the mix URAD-TENDERLY to rejuvenate and re-dye the discolored areas and even out the sofa's color. If the sofa is badly discolored, read the article concerning the leather color restoration method.
When extra protection is needed...
- Sometimes, you may find that the Urad-Tenderly combo is just not enough protection for your particular situation (e.g.A sofa in a commercial setting) or you just don't want to take any chances (e.g.for a white kitchen leather chair). For all those situations that require the use of the best leather protection possible and when protection is the ultimate goal, SAHARA offers the best and most long-lasting protection available and should be used, on top of the cleaning and conditioning steps above.
Old or new, antique or modern, in your living room or in a public waiting room, in your dining room or at the corner diners... Leather is always a good choice for its incomparable sensuality, unsurpassed longevity, and its natural and noble rich texture and aesthetic looks. When well cared for, it is sound economics and an ecological choice. And with just these few care and maintenance tips, you can enjoy all leather's unique qualities for many years to come!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
All our products have been subjected to exhaustive testing. However, since every leather is unique, both in terms of the raw materials, products employed and tanning methods used in its preparation, we recommend that a test be made on a less visible part of the article prior to the application of any leather care product.
What is the best leather cleaner for leather furniture?
When it comes to cleaning your leather furniture, you want to invest in a product that doesn’t damage or accumulate in the material – such as glycerin or silicone. That’s why a cleaner like Aquila Leather Cleaner is the optimal choice, as it doesn’t leave any residues that can damage your furniture in the long term. It’s also gentle enough that you can use it to clean your couch often without damaging the leather.
Top Grain Leather cleaning?
The great thing about gentle leather cleaners is that they can be used on all materials. So, if you’re wondering how to clean top grain leather, there’s only one thing you have to do differently.
When cleaning top grain leather furniture, it’s best to spray the AQUILA cleaner directly on to the leather instead of on to a cloth. This allows for a more thorough clean.
How to clean liquid spills on leather furniture?
One of the crucial keys to keeping your leather sofas and chairs looking gorgeous is staying on top of stains. As soon as a stain appears on your furniture or as soon as someone spills something on the material, clean it up right away.
Simply dab at the spill with a wet cloth, and that should be enough to get rid of it. However, if it’s something that stains quickly, you’ll mix one part white vinegar with two parts water, and dab at the problem area.
No matter how tempting it is to listen to old wives' tales about nail polish remover, WD-40, shoe polish, or any other abrasive products, don’t use them on your furniture. You might read articles about them being miracle remedies for stains, but they’ll only lead to long-term damage.
Also, ensure that you don’t scrub too hard or use too much pressure when wiping off stains. This will also damage the material.
About conditioning and protection
How often should I condition my leather furniture?
For the best results, it’s recommended that you moisturize your furniture once or twice a year. This will provide it with enough protection to stop your leather furniture from cracking.
How to tell if your leather is porous?
The quick and easy way to tell if your leather is more porous or less porous is by just rubbing a little bit of water on it. If it sinks into the leather, you have porous leather furniture. If it sits on top of the leather, then it’s less porous.
Has explained in this article, when it comes to conditioning leather furniture, you should mix URAD leather cream and TENDERLY leather softener based on the degree of porosity of your leather. The quick rule is that we recommend using more softener than cream when your leather is more porous. A good reference ratio would be:
- ¾ of Tenderly leather softener to ¼ Urad leather cream when you have very porous leather
- ¼ of Tenderly leather softener to ¾ of Urad leather cream when you have less porous leather
Or, as was suggested in the article, a good rule of thumb is to start 1/2- 1/2 and adjust the ratio only if needed. However, remember that every leather is somewhat unique and that there are always exceptions. So to be safe, always perform a test first on a small unseen section of the furniture.
How to clean and condition Nubuck leather sofas?
Nubuck is a very popular leather for furniture, but it is also a very different leather and it requires different care and separate instructions. For this reason, this article does not apply to Nubuck and in fact, we have devoted a full article on How to properly care for Nubuck leather.
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Read the latest version of this article as well as the added "Frequently Asked Questions about Leather furniture"