Taking Care of Leather Furniture
Real leather furniture does not come cheap and is usually a large investment for a household, so you want to prolong its life as long as possible as well as keeping it looking attractive. Fortunately leather lasts much longer than other forms of upholstery anyway, and with understanding of a few basic ideas you can very easily maintain its appearance.
Like wood, leather tends to fade, crack and stiffen when it is put too close to heat sources like radiators or fireplaces, so keep it away from them. You should also avoid putting leather furniture in locations which get a lot of direct sunlight as this has much the same effect over time.
Vacuum the leather or use a clean, white cloth to dust it every fortnight so that it stays clean of everyday dust and dirt. If you get any accumulated dirty, use a slightly dampened soft cloth to wipe it away. If you’re doing this for the first time, make sure you test in an inconspicuous spot first in case the leather absorbs water – if it does, you are better off using a dry cloth to avoid absorption spots or similar stains on your furniture.
If you have a spillage on leather, immediately use a dry cloth to blot the spill away and then leave it to dry naturally in the air. Do not be tempted to use a hairdryer or similar appliance to speed things up as this will cause the leather to stiffen and possibly even crack. It is also important to make sure that you blot at the spill rather than wipe it, as this will just spread the moisture around instead of lifting it off.
You should never use soaps, detergents, ammonia or other cleaning solvents to clean stains off leather, nor be tempted to soak the stain heavily with water. Any of these techniques will actually cause more damage to the leather than the stain itself would! If you get a grease stain, blot the excess up with a clean, dry cloth and then leave it – it will disappear into the leather after a while anyway. If the stain does persist, call in a professional leather cleaning specialist for help or you risk doing serious damage to the leather.
Keep an eye out for scratches, especially if you have pets or young children. Avoid using sharp objects around leather as it can scratch very easily. If you spot any minor scratches on the surface of the leather, gently buff out with a chamois cloth or your clean fingertips. For persistent scratches it is best to call in a professional leather repair specialist so you do not end up with a ruined piece of furniture.
A little-known fact about leather is that it can absorb dyes very easily, so you should avoid placing printed materials on it, for example freshly printed papers or even organic clothing which may have unfixed dyes. If the ink transfers onto the leather – and it often will – it will leave some very unslightly stains which are difficult to get rid of without calling a professional leather cleaner.