For centuries leather has been used for its functionality as well as its prestige. Back in the dark ages, hides were being used for warmth and protection in the form of crude coats and makeshift shoes. In those times, leather decay would begin after only a short time making for a very inefficient process.
Today we have perfected the tanning process making leather the strongest and longest lasting upholstery material. Most reputable leather furniture companies use leather that has been preserved in the tanning process. Properly tanned leather can last up to four times longer than most any other upholstery fabric. Given its durability and the pure elegance of leather furniture, you can most assuredly be prepared to spend a bit more for it. The good news is leather requires very little care.
Here are some important steps you can take to help protect your leather furniture:
Probably the most important thing to remember is to clean stains immediately! If you do not, the stain can reappear weeks or months later. Just use mild soap and warm water.
Keep your furniture away from heat sources. At least two feet is recommended. Leather can become dried out if exposed for long periods.
Avoid direct sunlight. This will prevent fading.
To dust use a clean cloth with a small amount of leather cleaner.
Never use saddle soap, furniture polish, oil, varnish, abrasive or ammonia based cleansers.
All leather furniture needs reconditioning on a regular basis. This process replaces the natural hide oils that dry out and cause the leather to crack.
Please note the above is for preventative maintenance and you may have a specific problem which may call for more action. Cleaning leather furniture can be tricky and you should always do a spot test to check for color fastness. If it is something major like scrapes, cuts, holes or grease and oil stains it is recommended that you seek professional assistance.
Take the time to get to know your furniture. Look for differences in grade of leather, type of dye and finishing. Your furniture retailer should be able to supply you with this information. If you take care of your leather furniture, it will last at least 20 years.