Maintaining Leather Furniture
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated October 4, 2021)
Leather furniture can make just about any room look absolutely fantastic, that is if it is taken care of properly and maintained the way that it should be. While there are all kinds hat you can purchase which are supposed to make cleaning leather easier, you don't need to waste your money on them. The key lies in actually knowing what to do, and following a few guidelines rather closely. Good thing that there are only a few guidelines that you really need to follow, isn't it? Before you begin cleaning any stain you want to make sure that the leather is colorfast, otherwise you may be washing away the coloring for the leather.
- Test for leather type. Before you can begin cleaning your leather furniture, you need to know what type it is. Is it a dyed leather, or a pigmented leather. It is really important to know which of these two types your leather furniture is. The reason is that pigmented leathers can actually take a bit of water, and a little more "rough" handling than dyed leathers can. The easiest way to test which of these types of leathers you are faced with is to use something called a drop test. Simply let a small drop of water fall on an inconspicuous area of your leather furniture, and watch what happens. If the water is immediately soaked up, then so was the stains, and you will have a much harder time of removing them. If not, then you can probably do most of the cleaning yourself.
- Pigmented leathers. Keep in mind that even though leather furniture in general shouldn't get too wet, you can use a bit of water to get this type of leather clean. Ideally, you will do this with the help of a clean white cloth that is damp, on which there is a foamy lather from some mild soap (preferably dry soap). This method will work great for removing most water based types of stains (such as sodas, wines, mustard, etc.). For an ink based stain, you can simply use a little bit of baking soda which you have rubbed into the stain. Wipe away the baking soda with a damp cloth, and you should also be able to remove the ink stain.
- Dyed and suede leathers. Generally speaking for dyed or suede leathers you should leave any cleaning to the professionals. However, if you are willing to run the risk of potentially damaging your furniture (which can happen no matter how careful you are) you can try using a clothes steamer on suede leather. Once you have passed over the stained area a couple of times with the clothes steamer, run an emery board over the area lightly. Keep in mind though, that with these kinds of leather your best bet is to have a professional do the cleaning.
- Avoid heat and sun. One of the best ways to keep your leather looking its best is to avoid direct sunlight and heat. Directly applying a heat source to your leather furniture can cause the leather to dry out completely and crack. Whereas, with sunlight, the process is a little more gradual, and you also have the increased chance of the leather becoming lighter over time as well.
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