Leather Information

Leather Identification and Cleaning Information

All leather needs to be maintained on a regular basis. Many people do not realize the importance of cleaning and properly maintaining leather, or they have the idea that they will damage the leather by cleaning it. This is simply not true. Leather is skin and like our skin it needs to be taken care of. To keep your leather furniture looking its best it is very important to use quality products designed for your specific type of leather. 
 
 
If leather is not cleaned regularly, body oils and dirt can accumulate on the surface and eventually break down the top coat and penetrate the leather. This can cause body oil stains, color loss and/or discoloration. Leather should be cleaned to remove body oils every three months, especially in areas that are heavily used.
 
 
The experts at Leather Solutions Int’l are here to help! We can help you determine what type of leather you have and what products and techniques you will need to use to properly maintain it.
 
 
There are three families within the leather world: unprotected/aniline, protected/painted, and nubuck. Nubuck is not sold as much today as in the past. There are also imitation/man-made materials that look like leather. Here are some tips on how to identify the different types of leather so that you will be able to make an informed decision when purchasing leather products.
 
 
It takes around seven cows to make a sofa and each panel could be from a different part of a different cow, different country, different age.  All this will determine the longevity of a panel and the amount of wear and tear it can handle. 
 
 
Unprotected or Aniline Leather
This leather is actually the skin of the cow with very little alterations to the skin after it has been tanned and dyed. ALL leather starts out as an unprotected leather. With this type of leather you will be able to see scars such as, barbwire, tick bites, stretch marks, etc. The grain pattern on each panel may be different. These are all natural markings and not considered flaws or defects. These leathers are usually more expensive due to the high quality of the hide. Generally the entire piece of furniture will be covered with this type of leather. Unprotected leathers will also have a more luxurious feel to them than protected leathers. However, these leathers do require special treatment when cleaning and can be more easily stained. Some may require an oil or wax cream applied after cleaning.  We can custom mix color to match and restore the color to this type of leather.  Should you need assistance with any problems you may incur with this leather, we can be of service to you.
 
Nubuck Leather
This leather is in a family by itself.  It needs special products to care for it and you can't use just any products or you will ruin the leather feel and color.  The cleaning process is somewhat different than the aniline and protected leathers.  This leather is extremely absorbent and will wet immediately.  This leather needs to be dried quickly upon wetting.  This leather also needs to be brushed after the cleaning process.  We offer a Nubuck kit which includes a cleaner, softener, protector and cloth to brush afterwards.
 

 Aniline Leathers
There are three leathers in the aniline family Pure, Oil Pull-up and Wax Pull-up.

Pure Aniline: Very soft to the touch. If you lightly scratch the leather a lighter color will appear in the scratched area. Most scratches can be rubbed out with your fingers or by using a maintenance product. This leather will become very wet when you apply products to it during maintenance.  We include proper drying instructions to help speed dry the leather.  The cleaning kit needed for this leather is our Deluxe Maintenance Kit for Aniline Leathers.  This kit includes a cleaner, softener, and protector.
 
 • Oil Pull-Up: This leather is the same as pure aniline except it has had an oil applied to the surface. This leather will scratch very easily and the scratch will be very visible. This leather can become very wet when you apply products during maintenance. The cleaning kit needed for this leather is our Oil Pull-Up Maintenance Kit and will help minimize the scratching.  This kit includes cleaner, softener, and oil pull up cream.
 
 • Wax Pull-Up: This leather is the same as pure aniline except it has had a wax applied to the surface. The appearance of the leather usually has a crackled look. Similar to taking wax paper and crumbling it and then spreading it out. You will see light creases in the surface giving it a crinkled look. The leather will scratch very easily and the scratch will be lightly visible. This leather can become very wet when you apply products during maintenance. The cleaning kit needed for this leather is Wax Pull-Up Maintenance Kit helps restore the shine and minimize the scratches. This kit includes cleaner, softener, and wax pull up cream.
 
Protected Leathers
Protected or Painted Leather:
Once the aniline leather has been sealed so it does not absorb water or scratch you get protected or painted leather. You will not be able to see scars or other natural markings clearly. The cost of these leathers ranges greatly as does the feel of the leather. Should you need assistance with any problems you may incur with this leather, we can be of service to you. We can custom mix color to match any leather to restore the color to this type of leather. There are three leathers within this family: semi-aniline, pigmented, and corrected.
 
 • Semi-aniline: This leather is considered the best of both worlds. This leather will have a soft touch, similar to the aniline, but with a protective finish like the protected leathers. Scars may be visible but not as clearly as on the anilines. Each panel may have a different grain pattern. This leather is easy to maintain. When purchasing this leather you may find that the back and side panels will be the imitation/man-made materials or a lower grade of leather and only the seat, back cushion and arms made with the semi-aniline leather. The cleaning kit needed for this leather is our Deluxe Maintenance Kit for Protected Leather.  This kit includes cleaner, softener, and protector.
 
 • Pigmented: This leather has had more products applied to it, so the touch is not as soft as the semi-aniline leathers. Scars may be visible but not as clearly as on the aniline leathers. Each panel may have a different grain pattern. This leather is easy to maintain. When purchasing this leather you may find that the back and side panels will be the imitation/man-made materials and only the seat, back cushion and arms made with the pigmented leather. The cleaning kit needed for this leather is our Deluxe Maintenance Kit for Protected Leather.  This kit includes cleaner, softener, and protector.

Corrected Leather: This is pigmented leather that has been stamped with a grain pattern so that it looks identical on every panel. Because it has had even more products applied to it, the touch is not as luxurious as the aniline leathers. This leather is easy to maintain. When purchasing this leather you may find that the back and side panels will be the imitation/man-made materials and only the seat, back cushion and arms made with the corrected leather. The cleaning kit needed for this leather is our Deluxe Maintenance Kit for Protected Leather.  This kit includes cleaner, softener, and protector.
 
 
Imitation or Man-Made Leather
 
Bonded leather, faux leather, microfiber leather, durablend, vinyl
These materials are not leather. They may have the appearance or the feel of leather but they are a man-made material. These materials are not as expensive as real leather. However, they are also not as durable. Most of these materials are usually found on the side and back panels of furniture. However, there are many pieces made entirely of these materials. It can be very difficult for the consumer to tell the difference between these materials and real leather. If you are told any name other than the names listed above as leather it is more than likely an imitation/man-made leather material. These materials also need to be cleaned on a regular basis.  Our basic kit is designed for this furniture.  This kit includes a cleaner and protector.  The cleaning kit needed for these imitation leathers is our Basic Maintenance Kit. 
 
 
Don’t wait until you have a problem!
 
 
Call us today, or use our website to order your maintenance kit and start protecting your investment. All maintenance kits include instructions for your specific type of leather, if you are unsure about which leather you have, please give us a call and we can help you.