How to choose leather furniture?
Furniture and Upholstery Leather (part 2)
How to clean and condition leather furniture?
with Urad and Tenderly
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 why clean often? 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 moisturize and protect and TENDERLY will soften and condition.
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 so 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 the mixture like you would apply skin cream — it is better to use very little and spread it thin, making it penetrate leather by quick and 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 surface pigmented treatment that certain leather receive can be scratched. The color of the grain dye may be slightly different than the grain color. Full-grain aniline-dyed furniture does not have that additional protective surface layers and is not subject to these differences.
- 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.
- 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.
- More on Mixture Ratio
Porosity is the essential characteristic when it comes to determining the best ratio of products to use for conditioning. 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 to use is simply to test 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). Has the test areas remained 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 restore enough or did the leather seem still too dull? Then add more URAD.
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.
Liquid spills on leather furniture
- Immediately wipe off the liquid using paper towels.
Discoloration and Scratches on leather furniture
- COSTA BRAVA dye, using a Q-tip, on the scratches (right before applying the mix URAD-TENDERLY) and/or add some to the mix URAD-TENDERLY to rejuvenate and re-dye the discolored areas and even out colors for the full sofa. If the sofa is badly discolored, read the article concerning the leather color restoration method.
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. With these few care and maintenance tips, you should be able to enjoy leather's unique qualities for many years to come!