How good is leather furniture?

The biggest myth is that leather doesn’t need maintenance. Don’t believe this even though it appears true.  Leather needs to be cleaned and moisturised every six to twelve months.
You should check with your furniture showroom if they offer the service and how much it would cost so that you can factor this into your purchase decision.

“The six to twelve month rule is just a guide, professional cleaning can be put off with no damage.” Not true. If you leave professional cleaning till it’s too late you may need to go in for a full restoration and that can run into big bucks.

“It is easier to maintain white or light coloured leather furniture than fabric.” This again is a myth. If you have indulged in white or light coloured furniture, you should ensure that you avoid letting it come into contact with dark cushions or throws since the fabric dye molecules could transfer to the leather.

Having laid out some ground rules, let us look at the positives of leather. Leather furniture looks elegant and plush.

It looks inviting and comforting. A word of caution though, stains, scratches, and signs of wear can make natural hides look almost hideous.  Let this not deter you from considering leather though.  By choosing the right leather and cleaning regularly you can preserve the beauty of your furniture. There are two types of leather used for furniture – aniline and pigmented. Aniline is closest to naked leather and has natural grains and marks showing through. 

It has been dyed but does not have a protective coating.  Since it is very absorbent, you should ensure there are no spills on it.  Obviously it is not suitable in a home where there are children or dogs.  Pigmented leather may not look exactly like real leather but it is easier to maintain.  Leather furniture if properly chosen and cared for, should last at least twice as long as fabric furniture.

Speaking of care, how should leather furniture be cared for?

Never use abrasive materials or chemicals.  A weekly or, if needed daily, dusting with a soft brush will keep your sofa clean. 

Despite your best efforts against spills, if your pigmented leather sofa has a spot on it by blotting the stain out and then rinsing with distilled water. Avoid tap water since leather is sensitive to acidity or alkalinity.

Likewise detergents and ordinary cleansers may harm the leather; use a product specifically recommended for your type of leather.

We need to treat our furniture to retain the moisture and prevent dried leather from absorbing stains.   When all is said and done, leather is both attractive and functional, so if it fits your room like a skin, go for it!

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