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Easy Tips to Clean and Protect Leather Furniture

Jul 15, 2008
Leather furniture gives your room a rich and elegant appearance. It represents a large percentage of furniture sold today and consumers have realized there are many benefits to owning leather furniture.

Because leather adjusts to body temperature it is very comfortable to sit on. It warms to your body in the winter and it feels pleasantly cool in the summer. It is more durable than fabric and as a result it lasts longer. Leather furniture is even great for families with children because the material will stand the test of spills, children's climbing, and all of their rough house kind of activities.

Leather furniture is so durable that many people forget to properly care for it, which can cause serious problems with the leather itself. Leather needs to be kept out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents. Direct sunlight and the heat will break down the natural oils in the leather, making it more likely to crack. Leather also needs to be cleaned and conditioned on a regular basis in order to maintain a high level of appearance as well as remaining soft to the touch.

There are different types of leather and they each have different care and cleaning instructions. The suede or nubick leathers have no pigment and need a special cleaner that does not use any water. This type of furniture generally gets marked or soiled easily and you need to clean marks immediately to prevent damage setting in.

Aniline leather is a leather that has been dyed to colour, but has not received any coating or surface finish. Due to the dyeing process that is used, aniline leather is less stain resistant, but stays softer and more pliable than leather with other finishes. Water will darken the leather and in some cases damage the leather permanently. Special care and cleaning products are required to maintain this type of leather.

For any of the protected leathers the easiest way to clean them is to use a water based foam cleaning product with a neutral ph. Saddle soap is too harsh to use on leather furniture and many of the wipes contain chemicals which will also destroy the finish or leave residues on the leather which will damage it. Do not use anything containing oils, waxes or silicones as they will eventually destroy the finish of the leather. Dirt particles get in the pores of leather which can cause the leather to dry and crack. Any spills on leather need to be cleaned immediately to avoid being absorbed into the leather and possibly causing a stain.

Areas on your furniture that might need extra care and attention are where the head rubs on a chair or the hands rest. Oils from our skin can penetrate the leather causing it to discolor or dry out. This can cause permanent damage to your furniture.

After you have cleaned your leather couch or chair it is necessary to apply a conditioner. This puts the natural oils back into the leather and works like a Scotchgard which will inhibit dirt and stains from being absorbed and make cleaning easier the next time. Applying a conditioner every three to four months provides additional protection from everyday living and can also protect the furniture from possible damage caused by any direct sunlight.

Whether you are following a regular cleaning regime yourself or having it done by professionals you will see the benefits in the appearance of your leather furniture. Most people take pride in the appearance of their home and you will be able to keep your furniture longer as well as maintain the beauty of your home. Not replacing your furniture sooner than necessary can save you thousands of dollars in needless expense.
About the Author
With over 30 years experience in cleaning carpets and furniture I have found I get the best the best results using a foam extraction method of cleaning leather furniture. Adding a conditioner afterwards protects the leather. For more information go to www.bubblesandsuds.ca.
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