There is nothing like a beautiful leather sofa to enhance the appearance of your living room. And as every connoisseur will tell, there is nothing like the scent of fine leather furniture. There is a reason why high-end hotels or restaurants decorate their lobbies with this type of sofas. A good leather item, exudes class and luxury. Either a modern white Italian couch or a cosy, warm brown leather armchair, the furniture inspires quality and good taste.
Besides its great look, leather is a tough, long-lasting material that only gets better with age. It fits in with almost any home décor style and will give you years of use. In the right setting, even an old, scuffed sofa, will add character to a room. It’s no surprise that leather furniture is a perennial favourite.
Benefits of leather suites
Furniture shopping can be confusing! There are thousands of choices on the market and a lot of things to consider in your quest for the perfect piece of furniture. Modern or classic? High or low back? Fixed or loose cushions? While all these questions are very important, very often the choice comes down to fabric or leather.
If you are leaning toward a leather sofa, have a look at the list of benefits we put together for you:
- Appearance – leather is beautiful and lends a certain elegance to an area that is hard to duplicate in a fabric. Colours keep their richness and brightness due to a special dyeing process, so there is no need for a polyurethane coating. Because it is dyed, the colour is absorbed into the material.
Either with a contemporary or modern look, leather sofas tend to appear sleeker and more high-end than most fabric sofas.
- Durability – leather ages well, becoming softer and suppler with time. It also resists sun and heat damage and will not tear. It will even become more comfortable with time, as is adapting to your body. Experts estimate that a leather sofa can last up to four times longer than a fabric couch. Leather is tough but flexible, meaning it naturally resists punctures and tears. Because of its natural properties, it remains strong even around seams. It is also resistant to spills and dirt.
- Hypoallergenic– is it well known that fabric furniture, same as carpets, absorb dust, dirt and allergens, becoming a main contributor to poor quality indoor air. Leather sofas or armchairs, do not “harbour” dust mites and pet dander as easily as fabric does. Therefore, if you are an allergy sufferer, leather is the better choice for you.
- Easy to maintain – if you are a proud leather sofa owner, then you know that it only requires same light dusting and to be vacuumed from time to time. However, while you don’t have to give your leather couch constant attention, a professional clean once per year, will definitely help. This type of furniture is durable and can last for decades. By regularly cleaning and conditioning it, you extend its lifespan and prevent cracks and splits.
Types of leather
Full grain – this is the highest-quality, most durable leather you can buy; pretty much the only things done to it are a scraping of the fur from the hide and then tanning, typically with vegetable dye, to bring out its natural, earthy tones. Because of its thick and rugged texture, this type of leather is stiffer and tougher than top- grain. However, it softens with age, usually with beautiful grain lines.
Top grain – this is the next highest in quality type of leather. Very similar to full grain, however slightly thinner and softer. It goes through an additional buffing and polishing process, making it smoother and having a more vibrant colour. This is a very desirable type of leather, so expect to pay a small fortune for it!
Split grain – when the top-grain layer, is sliced off, the split-grain is either the middle or bottom layer below it. It is suppler than full grain or top grain, and it can be torn more easily! However, it is still fairly durable. After it’s softened, brushed out, and colour-treated, it’s commonly known as suede.
Bond – this is made from leftover scraps of leather that are shredded and mixed together with other, usually synthetic materials. It is then glued onto a backing sheet to form a large piece of fabric, that can be used to upholster furniture. It is the cheapest option and, unsurprisingly, is the least durable.
Depending on the colouring and dyeing process, leather is classified in few other categories:
Aniline – may be dyed with colour, however you can still see the natural visual qualities of the animal hide. This type of leather has little or no surface coating to protect the sofa from spills and scratches. It has a very natural look and can be very aesthetically pleasing.
Semi aniline – also called protected aniline leather, has a small amount of coating applied. This makes it slightly more durable than aniline leather and has better protection to stains and spills.
Pigmented – this type of leather refers to when colour is applied only to the surface, and not dyed through. While this colour isn’t as rich, this process hides imperfections and adds durability.
Can I use baby wipes to clean my leather sofa?
You might think that if baby wipes are gentle enough for your little one’s skin, they must be good for your leather suite. THAT IS SO WRONG! Baby wipes are coated with a chemical to keep them soft and moist which has been designed to be used on human skin only! These are often highly alkaline and are harmful to leather products! Therefore, using baby wipes on your leather furniture, will only break down the protective layer, leaving your sofa sensitive to dirt and stains. The protective layer also prevents from cracking and peeling, so once this is gone, all you will get is a damaged, old looking couch.
It is highly likely that if the protection is cracked, stains from clothing will transfer on to your sofa, leaving the appearance looking even worse.
We strongly encourage you to limit baby wipe usage to its intended purpose and refrain from wiping down your furniture. They are silent killers of leather goods. You might not see the damage straight away, but in the long run they will reduce the longevity of your suite.
How to care for your leather sofa at home
Leather is one of the most durable and low maintenance type of furniture for your home. Keeping your sofa, armchair or ottoman clean is relatively simple, and following the proper steps will only make your leather furniture look better with time.
Before you decide to clean your item yourself, you need to know what type of leather you have. You could easily do that by checking the labels on your sofa. You should also apply the cleaning product on a hidden part of your furniture to check how the material is reacting to it. Harsh cleaners may damage or discolour leather, so not just any type of cleaning agent will do. Several household substances can be used to give leather a thorough cleaning or to spot-clean specific problems such as ink or mildew.
A mild hand or dish soap serves as a general cleaner for leather furniture. Mix together some warm water and soap, and using a soft cloth wipe your sofa all around, to gently remove the dust and dirt. Then wipe it again with a damp soap-free towel. Use a vacuum cleaner to effectively clean the debris between the creases. Buff it dry immediately afterwards with another soft cloth. For a heavily soiled area, apply a drop or two of the gentle soap directly onto the damp cloth, and rub it over the stain. Wipe the leather again with a damp towel; then buff dry.
Vinegar and olive oil are another option for cleaning your leather couch or armchair. You can apply vinegar directly on the soiled areas, and dry it off. After that, use a soft piece of fabric and a dab of olive oil to buff the leather. This help the material remain smooth and supple. You can also use a mixture of this two ingredients to wipe off the entire piece of furniture. Don’t forget to wipe it down again at the end to remove any excess oil.
Rubbing alcohol it is also effective in removing several types of stains, such as mildew and ink. Spritz a little rubbing alcohol onto a damp cloth and place it over the affected area to remove mildew stains. In case of ink stains, just blot and dab, using a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol. Don’t rub the ink stain, as this might spread it out. If some of the ink remains after you clean it with rubbing alcohol, apply a thin layer of a white non-gel toothpaste over the spot, rubbing lightly in the direction of the ink.
For chewing gum, candle wax or other chewy substances place several ice cubes in a zippered sandwich bag and rest the bag over the problem area for a few minutes. You should be able to remove the hardened material with your fingers. Reapply the ice bag as many times as needed to remove the problem completely.
Another good thing you can do for your leather suite, is to keep it out of the sun or other heat sources. These are one of the main causes of dryness and cracking. Positioning your new couch in a spot away from windows that get a lot of sunlight, fireplaces, air conditioning units or radiators can preserve the look and prolong its life span.
All these DIY methods will help you keep your leather furniture in good shape, however for specific type of stains and as well for deep cleaning, we recommend having professional sofa cleaning once per year. This will not only revive the colour and good look of the leather, but will also remove any allergens and bacteria trapped in your sofa.
Benefits of professional leather cleaning
Leather is a very resistant and durable material, and if properly cared for, will last “forever”. Having your leather professionally cleaned and conditioned on a regular basis, will maintain your sofa’s good look, as well as the soft and smooth texture.
Prevents build-up of dirt, oils and grim – most of the carpet cleaning companies, will also offer professional leather cleaning. One of the main benefits of this service is the complete removal of dirt, oils and other debris accumulated in your couch. The deep cleaning will maintain the condition and moisture balance, keeping your leather supple and less prone to absorb spills.
Increases durability – leather goods are not cheap, and should be consider an investment. And like any other investment, you want to last a long time. Regular professional cleaning and conditioning, will increase your sofa’s lifespan and allow you to enjoy it for many years.
Keeps it comfortable – if neglected, leather will quickly deteriorate and will lose its soft, smooth feeling. Professional leather cleaning involves the use of various fit-for-purpose, high-quality, and well-tested cleaning products which help maintain the top coat seal and keep it feeling supple for longer.
Saves you time and energy – in the long run, DIY methods will not give you the expected results despite the hard effort. A professional company has the expertise, trained agents and quality cleaning products to do the job for you, much faster and more efficient.
Helps maintain resale value – leather suites are quite expensive and a long term investment. With regular professional cleaning and maintenance, your leather has the potential to look and feel great for decades. Therefore, if you decide to sell it second hand, it will be a well maintained and in good condition item.