We all love leather or faux leather upholstery. It looks great but only if it is cleaned and maintained properly.
Undoubtedly, leather upholstery adds a touch of elegance and luxury to any sofa or chair. Also it is more durable than fabric. It is mostly waterproof and stain resistant. This is especially true of the dark leather. But like everything else, leather upholstery too needs to be maintained properly for it to keep looking great. This is especially true in Dubai as it is hot, dusty and humid, all three conditions that can cause the leather to start cracking and peeling off making is essential for you to replace the upholstery at a substantial cost. Proper care of leather is extremely essential. This blog post from help4u.today will teach you all that you wish to know about cleaning leather furniture.
Different Types of leather
Before we start talking about cleaning a leather sofa, we need to know that there are many different types of leathers used for upholstery. Each different type of leather requires different treatment. The most common types of leather upholstery can be broadly divided into two distinct categories - Real leather and Faux leather.
The faux leather is mostly polymer based material that is made to look like leather. It is best defined as imitation leather. One type of Faux leather known as Vinyl upholstery and is one of the most affordable and easy to maintain upholstery options. Vinyl is good for cost effective furniture. Nowadays, it is fast being uprooted as a cheap option to real leather by another faux leather option of Bonded Leather. Bonded leather is a special kind of material that is created by using bits and pieces of real leather and blending it with fabric to form a tough and great looking real leather alternate. Though it does contain some real leather, it is a much more affordable option than real leather upholstery. It looks better than the vinyl material. Though the content of leather can vary from material to material, to be considered Bonded Leather, the material has to have a minimum of 60% real leather in it. Bonded leather can be embossed and stamped and made to look exactly like real leather with grains to match.
Genuine or Real Leather
Real leather is quite expensive but looks amazing and lasts much longer than faux leather. Conversely it requires more tender loving care than the faux leather. Real leather can be broadly divided into two different categories - Aniline and Protected leather.
This leather retains all of its natural qualities. It is highly coveted for its natural grains, pores and scars that are left untouched. It is a dyed leather but does not have any protective coating, pigments or polymers added to it. This is the reason it retains its natural appearance. Aniline leather is extremely soft and smooth to touch. But, this leather is prone to staining easily as it has no protective covering on it. This leather is used only in the top of the line extremely expensive furniture. It should not be used in high traffic areas or where there are small children or pets.
This is perhaps the most popular type of leather that is used for upholstery. The reason is obvious – it is the most durable real leather available. It is dust, water and stain resistant. This leather is coated with polymers and pigments that provide a protective covering over the surface of the leather. Though it is tougher than the Aniline, it lacks the character of aniline leather.
Semi Aniline Leather If you want a compromise between aniline and protected leather, there is another kind of real leather available that contains the best of both aniline and protected leather. This is called the Semi Aniline leather. This leather is coated with a very light coating of polymer pigment. This makes it more resistant to stains and dust while retaining its softness and natural grains. This leather lies in between the aniline and protected leather. It is cheaper than aniline and pricier than protected leather.
Leather can also be categorized as Full Grain and Split Grain. Full grain leather has no treatment. It is not processed or sanded to remove any imperfections. It is a very tough leather and comes from the upper parts of the hide. This is perhaps the most expensive of all leathers. Split grain leather, on the other hand, comes from lower half of the hides and is not as tough as the full grain. It is softer and less durable and is untreated and processed just like full grain leather. Then there are also nubuck and suede leather available. These are buffed and treated to create unique textures. They are often treated to make them water and dust resistant.
When buying an upholstered piece of furniture do look for care instructions. Most pieces will have a tag that will give you proper care instructions. If the tag is not attached or has become illegible over a period of time and you are unsure of the type of leather, find an expert to come and evaluate it and give you suggestions for its care. This may range from dry cleaning to steam cleaning depending upon the leather. This is a better option rather than trial and error that can actually ruin your leather upholstery.
Say No To Home Remedies
When it comes to leather upholstery cleaning, it is best not to use homemade cleaners. Though there are many such cleaning hacks you may discover on the net, it is best to stick to the cleaning materials recommended by the manufacturer or expert. Using vinegar, mayonnaise and other such home remedies may actually stain and destroy your upholstery for good. Also, the warranty on your furniture may be void if you have damaged your furniture by using such cleaners.
If you are absolutely determined to use a home remedy, then try your homemade cleaner in an inconspicuous part of the furniture to test it first before you start using it all over.
Keep Sunlight Out
Direct sunlight can dry out the leather and cause it to fade and crack. To avoid such damage, make sure that your leather upholstered furniture is kept out of sunlight in a darker part of the room.
Away From Heat sources
Make it a point to keep your leather upholstered furniture away from any source of heat in the room. Though this may not be necessary in Dubai, it is still important to remember this. Heat can damage the leather by pulling out all the natural moisture trapped in it causing it to crack.
Quick action often saves a lot of hard work later. This is also true for leather upholstery. Immediately attending to a spill or a stain before it has had time to settle in and stain the leather permanently. This is especially true of untreated leather like the nubuck, suede or any of the aniline leathers.
Steps to Clean a Leather Upholstered Piece of Furniture.
Before you begin to clean your leather furniture, do look for care instructions. Remember to use only recommended cleaners. While you may attempt regular cleaning yourself, when it comes to deep cleaning and reconditioning of the leather, it is best to hire an professional cleaner who knows exactly what is to be done.
Step 1 – Vacuuming
Before you start cleaning the furniture, it should be thoroughly vacuumed and dusted to remove all dust and debris from it. Use a crevice nozzle to get between folds and in crevices to pull out all the dust settled there. Use a soft brush attachment on the vacuum to then pick off all the dust from the visible surface of the furniture. This is extremely important pre-cleaning routine as dust particles and debris can damage the leather during the cleaning process.
Step 2 – Regular Cleaning
For regular cleaning, you may use a solution made with equal parts of water and white vinegar. Do a patch test before applying it all over. Conversely, you can use a commercial cleaner that is recommended by the manufacturer for this second step.
Step 3 – Wipe and Scrub it Clean
Next take a soft cloth and dip it into the solution prepared above. Wring it out completely so that it is just damp and not wet or dripping. Too much solution can damage the leather. Gently wipe the furniture with it. Start from the top and work your way down. Gently scrub with the cloth to remove built up grime. Dip the cloth in the solution every so often and wring it well before resuming the scrubbing and cleaning.
Step 3 – Dry it
Use a clean dry cloth to dry the leather well.
Step 4 – Remove stains
You should leave this step for the professional cleaners for when you have your sofa deep cleaned. If you use the wrong product, you may damage the leather. Unless you are 100% sure do not attempt to remove deep set stains yourself.
Step – 5 Conditioning
Either use a commercial conditioner or add either some linseed oil or tea-tree oil to a cup of vinegar. Mix it well and then using a soft cloth apply a thin layer of the solution all over the sofa. Ensure that the cloth does not have too much solution as it can leave the furniture wet and cause damage. The oil and vinegar solution can be replaced by a commercial conditioner suitable for your sofa.
Step 6 – Buffing
Leave the solution to dry on the leather and then after a few hours buff the leather in gentle circular strokes to restore its shine. At least once a year you should hire a professional sofa cleaner to come and deep clean your sofa or upholstered furniture. You can look for a professional upholstery cleaning service on help4u.today, which is a domestic and cleaning services aggregator in Dubai. With help4u.today, you can hope to find the right upholstery cleaner for your furniture at the right price. Once you login to help4u.today website, you will be able to browse through all the cleaning services listed for your area, compare their prices and also look at their references before hiring. Whether it is wet cleaning or dry cleaning you can find all kinds of services here. Keep reading the help4u.today blogs for more interesting articles on running your household.