How to Clean Leather Furniture So It Looks Like New – Yahoo News

Want to keep your leather goods in pristine shape? Then it is time you learned how to clean leather. You know that a few things are more luxurious than a handsome couch , but not if it is covered in grime and grease stains—blame it on Netflix binges with a bowl of butter popcorn. And if you have kids, well, then you’re probably no stranger to ink stains that decorate your beloved leather chair.

Though it’s usually okay to wear your leather jacket to your favorite Italian restaurants, eating pizza on your fancy leather couch is a huge no-no. “Don’t have pizza, don’t have pasta, don’t have any kind of sauce, French or Italian, red sauce, butter sauce—it’s all pigmented and oily, ” says Christophe Pourny , a New York–based restoration expert and the author of The Furniture Bible . “And oil is the worst thing you can do for leather, ” he adds.

The good news is that routine leather cleaning is not rocket science (it only seems like it), and when done properly the material only looks and feels more comfortable. “The best way to think of leather is that it is like your skin, ” says furniture designer Timothy Oulton . “Good-quality aniline leather is a natural, breathable materials. ” It changes over time, and much like the dermis, it requires regular care. The be

But do you have to dab leather conditioner or even apply it in a circular motion? Are you coming on strong with the baking soda, damp cloths, and even rubbing alcohol when restoring the leather sofa to its original splendor? Which leather cleaners or special cleaning solutions are really necessary?   Can household products like white vinegar help or hurt with leather care?

Don’t worry: AD answers these questions and breaks down leather cleansing into easy to follow steps and discloses expert tips to bringing those seen-better-days pieces back to life.

What’s the best thing to clean leather-based with?

Dust leather couches and all other leather furniture with a dry cloth and give them a monthly application of a leather conditioner or similar leather-cleaning product to keep the material soft and moisturized. It’ll also help keep cracks, stains and other discoloration from setting within.

If you’re not sure which products—leather conditioner, natural leather serum and leather cream—are best for your piece of furniture, keep the following in mind. In general, buckskin conditioner is a kind of regular base treatment that moisturizes leather and keeps this supple deep down, but it’s not a product that you should expect to give your leather the straight-from-the-showroom shine. Leather serum is a product for leather care that’s often used to rejuvenate leather but also contains ingredients that add a protective coat (Though there’s some debate whether it’s truly effective in the long run. ) Leather cream is used to achieve a soft shine on the surface of a leather item and often comes with pigments to restore an item’s original color. This product is often used on leather-based shoes and boots, for example.

What is a natural way to clean leather?

Darker stains, such as those seemingly impossible-to-remove ink stains from a pen, are another story. Pourny says that “a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcoholic beverages can do the trick. ” But if you’re not careful, you can make the stain worse: Be sure you apply the rubbing alcohol directly on the stain spot, preferably using a small, circular motion so the alcohol doesn’t spread the stain onto more of the leather.

You can also use a mix of equal parts white vinegar plus warm water to make sure your natural leather items are in tip-top shape. This solution is especially great when it comes to wiping away dirt from decorative leather pillows.

What household products can you use to clean buckskin?

Most leather cleaning methods require home products, along with a few specialty leather-cleaning items. Depending on the leather-based surfaces, follow these steps to banish stains.

1 . Gather materials

2 . Start with soap and water

To tackle light, mild stains, dip a clean, damp washcloth in soapy, warm water and use it to wipe away the stain on your leather. You may need a specialty cleaning soap. “Specific leather soaps exist, [they’re] usually called saddle soaps , ” Pourny says.

3. Dry the leather thoroughly

Don’t leave wet spots as you clean leather furniture.

Don’t leave wet spots as you clean leather furniture.

Photo: MirageC

Once you’ve finished leather cleaning, you have to make sure you’re not leaving too much surface moisture. “Carefully dry the leather with another clean, dry cloth to avoid any mildew, ” Pourny notes. For best results, keep the spot undisturbed overnight.

4. Apply natural leather conditioner or cream

Remoisturize the material by applying the leather conditioner or even cream with a clean fabric. Let it sink in, after that buff to a shine. If you’re wondering if leather conditioner actually works—it does! Think of it as the food (the veggies and whole grains, even) for the buckskin of your couch—nourishing and maintaining its overall health. Try Leather Honey leather conditioner as it penetrates deep into the materials to restore and also works as a water-repellent for unexpected spills.

Use leather cream as well—it typically comes in colors, which help restore the look and luster of different colors of leather. But because the color of the cream in the tin doesn’t always exactly match the color of the leather, you should test a new lotion on a small, inconspicuous area then wait to see how the affected area looks to make sure it’s the cream you want to use on the rest of your own leather upholstery (or leather-based jacket, leather shoes, or any leather items, really).

What should you not clean leather with?

Unlike the leather material used in handbags or shoes, furniture is actually more delicate and less protected against staining from water along with other liquids. If it pours, keep it away from your leather furniture. “Avoid everything that is very wet, plus I’m talking water, anything water-based, and anything too oily, ” Pourny states. “Use the driest, driest products. You spread it over leather, you don’t pour it. ” This includes mink oil on your couch or office chair. “It’s something that people commonly use for leather, but it is greasy, it’s bad, it’s almost like silicone, ” this individual continues. “Leather creams and shoe polish have drying agents so they don’t depart a greasy residue or even go too deep into the leather and create stains. Mink oil is reserved for bridle leather and really tough leather. ”

If you do accidentally use something that is too oily (or find a grease stain), try applying a bit of baking soda to the spot (cornstarch can work too). Rub in a circular movement and let sit for a few hours as it absorbs the grease. Then wipe away with a soft cloth.

More Tips on How to Care for Leather

Now that you know how to clean natural leather like a pro, here are a few more tips on how to treatment for leather furniture so that it lasts a lifetime.

How to treat distressed leather

To treat specific distressed areas, look for a treatment made for your type of leather. Pourny, for example , sells an Old World–inspired leather serum and cream, which can be applied with a cloth to soften the leather and smooth scratches, while Oulton recommends Leather Masters , which is good for most leathers (except nubuck) and protects against everyday soiling.

Regardless of what you use, a light hand is always a good idea. Find an inconspicuous area to dab a new leather cleaner. “Less is more when applying any product to leather, ” Pourny says. “Test a small area first. For colored leather, be extra careful and know that any product will most likely darken the leather. ”

Know that some leather is meant to look more lived-in

Aniline-dyed leather furniture, where the dye penetrates the entire material, is not only durable, it’s actually meant to look lived-in, Oulton says. “Rather than covering plus sealing the surface with a colored coating, we work dyes and waxes into the buckskin by hand. As a result, we feel like the furniture wears in and not out. It’s very easy to live with, and it develops a rich patina with time. ”

Lay out furniture in a way that protects the leather

“In most cases, it is ambient conditions that will lead to the cracking of leather—extreme temperatures and lack of moisture, ” Oulton states. “Placing a sofa right under your air-conditioning or next to a radiator or in front of the roaring fire is going to dry out the leather. ” Sunlight can also have this effect, Pourney adds, so avoid putting furniture right next to a window or glass door, or hang light-blocking curtains .

Keep pets off leather furnishings

Cats, and sometimes dogs, will use leather as a (very expensive) scratching post , so teach them to stay off the sofa. “I think this is the biggest cause of damage we hear of from customers calling the studio, ” Pourny says.

If the leather gets cut or torn, turn to a professional for help. Don’t run the risk of damaging it further by trying to fix it— cleaning leather is a DIY job, but repairing it is not. “For large cuts, we recommend contacting a professional who can mix color and texture by applying heat, and make repairs to the leather, ” Pourny continues.

Take leather items to a leather care expert—not the dry cleaner

If none of the above work, go to a respected shoe repair shop or leather care professional for help. “Even if it’s a bit controversial, avoid bringing your [piece] to your local cleaner, even if they advertise suede and leather care, ” Pourny says. “I do not know anybody that had excellent luck with them, and the damage will be irreversible. ”

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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