Purchasing leather furniture is an investment in comfort and quality. Many clients have asked us how to properly take care of their leather. Be aware that although there are many products available for cleaning and maintaining leather, not everything that is marketed for leather should be used on your leather furniture.
For routine cleaning, use a clean white rag and distilled water. You may be asking why distilled water,,, why not tap water? The answer is that municipal water, and even some bottled water, may contain chemicals (like chlorine or fluoride) or minerals (that are good for absorption of water in humans, but not for routine care of your leather). Once a month it is a good idea to clean the surface of your leather, but use a clean white rag (no dyes) and distilled water so that you are not introducing chemicals from the water or the rag. A monthly cleaning is mainly just to remove dust, soap is not required for routine cleaning.
Never use harsh chemicals that can dry out your leather (bleach wipes or antibacterial wipes that have chemicals are definitely not a good idea). If you need to use soap, use fragrance free Nutrogena liquid soap, which is the mildest soap available. Dish soap, and even saddle soap, have a harsher soap that can dry the leather or strip it's protective coating.
If you have a stain that you need to clean, there are products available at Vintage Oak Furniture from Leather Master and StainSafe, like Ink Lifter or Soft Cleanser, that are specifically designed for certain leather types and stain types.
It is important to know what type of leather you have because the wrong product could ruin the finish. Navigating the world of leather can be confusing and that is why the staff here at Vintage Oak can always help you determine what type of leather you have. You may hear terms to describe leather such as "Top grain leather" or "full grain leather" or "Corrected leather"- or Full Aniline dyed, Semi-Aniline Dyed or Pigmented. Leathers can be classified as a Natural leather, like an Oiled, Waxed or Nu-Buck leather, or a protected leather that might be Top-Grain, Full-Grain, or corrected as well. Each finish will requires its own unique care. We may ask several questions about the finish on the leather, but a photo or sample of the leather will help us make the best recommendations on products to use.
If your leather is looking dry, there are also products available for conditioning your leather. We have Replenishers for waxed and oiled leathers, as well as conditioners for protected leathers.
Just remember, leather is a natural product and it acts similar to skin. If you use harsh cleansers on it, it will dry it out. You should avoid placing leather near to a heat source or in direct sunlight for the same reason. It is possible to over-clean your leather, that is why the recommendation is simply to go over your leather with a damp rag to remove dust monthly. Most high quality leather manufacturers have processed the leathers with the products necessary to protect the leather and maintain longevity. As always, if you ever have any questions, we are here to help.