Proper Care and Maintenance for Leather Furniture
- The Bonez

Leather furniture used to symbolize status, owned only by wealthier families. Nowadays, it has found its way into the homes of people from all income levels. Leather is defined as a natural material derived from either cow hide or lambskin. It is much more durable than cloth or any other type of upholstery fabric. On the average, a piece of leather furniture, if cared for properly, can last upwards of two decades.

As for its aesthetic properties, leather furniture is manufactured in a wide array of colors. So finding a piece to match existing home decor is quite easy. Leather, whether from cows or lamb, is a porous material, and is therefore breathable. This property makes leather cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Just like other things in the home, leather furniture requires some maintenance to remain in good shape over the years. Most importantly, it should be cleaned at least once a week. Hardly used leather pieces can be simply wiped off with a damp cloth. Heavier used pieces should be vacuumed with a brush attachment. This will keep the furniture free of dust and flakes of human skin that accumulate through daily use.

If something is spilled on leather furniture, it should be immediately cleaned. The stain should be blotted, not wiped, which can spread the stain. Typically, a clean cloth with warm, soapy water can be used. Manufacturers will generally provide cleaning instructions on the furniture's tags, especially if a special cleaning technique is recommended. Difficult stains, like ink, blood, or gum, should be attended to on the spot. Again, blot the stain, do not wipe. Leather cleaning solutions can be quite useful with difficult stains. After cleaning, apply a preservative to the area.

Leather furniture should undergo a thorough cleaning three to four times a year. Afterwards, always apply a preservative, which will help to maintain the softness and pliability of the material. Preservatives are designed to replace natural oils and prevent cracking in leather. Besides cleaning, pieces of leather furniture should be kept a minimum of two feet away from direct sources of heat, such as fireplaces, portable heaters, etc. Direct sunlight can also have a negative effect on leather. Heat from any source can cause leather to crack, dry out, or cause the color to fade over time.

Also, people sitting or laying on leather furniture should remove sharp objects such as keys or pens from their pockets before sitting or laying. These objects can tear or damage the material. Cushions, on a leather couch or sofa, should be fluffed regularly, and rotated and turned periodically, to avoid wear spots. And, finally, in the case of punctures or tears in the leather, a leather repair kit may be purchased. These kits are, however, not easy to use, so many prefer to consult a professional leather repairman.

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