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Home for Leather Care in Staffordshire

What We Do For Your Leather.

1    Why Clean Leather? Why Professional Care Is Recommended.
2    About Leather.
3    Leather Types Brief.
4    What Type Of Leather Do You Have?

5 Leather Types comprehensive.

Ian Hare - Soft Furnishing Care, Staffordshire undertakes cleaning, repairs, re-colouring, and dyeing to leather chairs, sofas, and car seats.
Scratches, cuts, abrasions, tears, scuffs etc can all have effective repair work done on them to restore your leather to former glory. The re-dyeing of Aniline Leather or full colour restoration to pigment finished leather is also available.
As leather cleaning specialists in Staffordshire, we offer a complete leather sofa care and leather restoration service in Stafford, Stone and  surrounding areas as far as Telford, Stoke, Cannock and further afield when requested.

Why Clean Leather?  Why Professional care is recommended.

Leather cleaning is an essential part of caring for your leather furniture. It not only removes dirt and oils (which can, over time, break down the leather’s protective coating) but will also help to maintain the moisture balance in the leather. This is important for keeping the leather supple and makes it less likely to absorb spillages.

A wipe over with a damp cloth on a regular basis is recommended to remove surface dust and dirt and add moisture to the leather, but only on Protected Leather (leathers that are pigment coloured and sealed with lacquers).
See below:  What type of leather do you have?

It is better to seek professional advice from a leather cleaning specialist before resorting to ‘kitchen’ or ‘workshop’ products, even ‘seemingly harmless’ things like baby wipes. All of these can cause damage that may be costly to repair or be un-repairable.
Modern leathers do not need ‘feeding’. The correct fats and oils were sealed in during the tanning process. Waxes, oils, silicone sprays (furniture polish) etc. are more likely to damage your leather than improve it.

Leather will dry and subsequently crack if not cared for on a regular basis.
Dirt and grease will become ingrained in cracks and prove difficult to remove.

Body fluids and dirt attack the surface coating of leather and result in de-lamination – the flaking away of the top layer.

Regular care on an annual basis will eliminate these problems, and prolong the life of your furniture indefinitely.

Unhealthy pollutants are removed at the same time, with the bonus of smart looking furniture after cleaning.
All leather is professionally shampooed, de-greased, dried and then protected using specialist products not available to the public.

About Leather.

Leather today represents a large percentage of furniture sold, as more consumers become aware of the benefits it offers.  It is more durable than fabric so lasts longer, and it adjusts to body temperature making it very comfortable to sit on.  Modern production is very sophisticated which enables manufacturers to create many looks to suit a wide variety of homes and styles.  Leather is now more affordable and there are styles to suit all pockets.  Leather suites can be cleaned and cared for, and when done properly, maintains a high level of appearance throughout its life.

Most consumers are forced to seek out their own information on cleaning leather suites and care products as retailers generally give little or no maintenance instructions with their furniture.  What information is given is often incorrect and misleading.

‘Low maintenance’   is often interpreted as   ‘no maintenance’.

This can cause great problems for the consumer as the products available on the market are often not well tested or backed up with clear product advice.

Leather Types.

Aniline -  The most attractive and natural leathers which are prized for their soft natural feel. These are leathers which have been aniline dyed in a vat process with no colour coating added to the surface. They are the most expensive leathers to produce because only the very best selection of hides can be used to produce full aniline leathers. Full aniline dyed leathers are more susceptible to absorbing liquids because of the natural porosity of the hide and is cooler to sit on.

Pull Up – This is a type of aniline leather (described above) that has an extra top treatment of oil and/or wax effects. These Pull Up leathers are designed to become “distressed”, looking through time and use. Its properties are similar to full aniline but in places of heavy use, the oils will be pushed away leaving lighter areas – particularly on the seating areas. It will also scratch easily.

Micro Pigment – These leathers have been both dyed through and have a thin finishing layer on the surface. They offer a combination of the softness and feel of full aniline leather with the protective benefits of a surface finish. By dyeing the leather through before the final thin top coating is applied, a very even colouration is achieved with only a thin layer of finish. Thus the leather remains softer because it is not necessary to apply a thick top coating.  About 85% of UK market is this type.

Pigmented -The leather may be buffed (corrected) to reduce heavy natural scarring and blemishes in the hides. It is then coloured with a coating containing opaque pigments and embossed with a grain pattern to ensure a uniformity of colour and resistance to fading.

Nubuck; aka,Stonewashed or Suede – These are actually aniline leathers where the surface has been brushed, and have created a texture similar to velvet on leather. Many people confuse these with suede leather. Suede is the flesh side of a piece of leather, and nubuck is an effect that is done to the grain side. This brushing actually breaks the surface and opens up the leather even more making it incredibly soft. The brushing also makes the leather even more absorbent than aniline leathers.

Bicast – This is a new development in using split leather. It is produced from the lower split by first melting a type of glue on the surface, then rolling on a film of coloured polyurethane. It normally is produced in darker colours and when stretched it lightens. It also scratches quite easily. This type of leather is now coming on to the furniture market but has been used for handbags and belts for some time. This product varies in quality.
It is also important that the temperature of room that the Bicast leather is kept remains below 30∞C. As the top surface has a high polyurethane finish normal leather creams should NOT be used.

What Type of Leather do you have?

                         Q Does it have a nap like a snooker table?

NO                                                                               YES

Probably Nu-Buck, it will mark easily

and be permanently damaged by water.

                      Q Does a light fingernail scratch leave a mark?

NO                                                                               YES

                      Q Does it absorb moisture easily?

NO                                                                               YES

Probably Protected; Single Pigment,                Probably Aniline, it will mark  easily

Two-tone, or Antique finish.                            and may be damaged by liquid spills.

Could be Partially Protected Aniline,            Could be Partially Protected Aniline,

Pull-Up, or Micro-Pigment.                                Pull-Up, or Micro-Pigment.

 

A high percentage of all furniture sold is upholstered in leather and it is becoming a standard interior choice for many cars and not just in luxury models as it once was.

Consumers have quickly realised the many benefits of leather including:

  • It is more durable than fabric so it lasts longer.
  • Leather adjusts to body temperature making it very comfortable to sit on.
  • Leather production these days is very sophisticated which enables manufacturers to create many looks to suit a wide variety of homes and styles.
  • Leather is now more affordable and there are types and styles of furniture to suit all pockets.
  • Leather can be cleaned and cared for, and when done properly, maintains a high level of appearance throughout its life.

Leather production has changed rapidly over the last 2 decades and has now become very much a ‘fashion’ product with colours and styles ever changing to meet the demands of the market.

Leather being a by-product of the meat industry has been largely driven by the increase in consumption of red meat particularly in the ‘burger’ industry. With the increase in burger franchises there was suddenly a much larger availability of raw hides leading to a boom in the production of leather furniture for domestic use

Most consumers are forced to seek out their own information on cleaning and care products as retailers generally give little or no maintenance instructions with their furniture. What information is given is often incorrect and misleading. ‘Low maintenance’ is often interpreted as ‘no maintenance’ This can cause great problems for the consumer as the products available on the market are often not well tested or backed up with clear product advice.

Leather Types (Comprehensive):

Full Grain Leather – This is made from the premium top side of the skin without any tampering to cover up imperfections, although it will be smooth. It will absorb liquid immediately.

Aniline Leather– This is Full Grain but having been submerged into a dye to change the colour, but keeping any grain patterns to show through. Have a soft natural feel and made from the best selected hides. (Also known as Crust, Pure Aniline, Naked Leather, Un-protected). It will absorb liquid immediately.

These are the most attractive and natural of all the leathers and are prized for their soft natural feel. These are leathers which have been stain dyed in a with no colour coating added to the surface. They are the most expensive leathers to produce because only the very best selection of hides can be used to produce full aniline leathers. Full aniline dyed leathers are more susceptible to absorbing liquids because of the natural porosity of the hide. Because they don’t have a top coating the leather breathes more easily and is cooler to sit on. 

Pull up Leathers – Aniline with treatment of oil or wax designed to look distressed over time although modern variations will contain a mix of polyurethane and differing elements.

This is a type of aniline leather (as described above) that has an extra top treatment of oil and/or wax effects. These Pull Up leathers are designed to become “distressed” looking through time and use. Its properties are similar to full aniline but in places of heavy use, the oils will be pushed away leaving lighter areas – particularly on the seating areas. It will also scratch easily. 

Semi Aniline Leather  ( Partially Finished Aniline Leather) – Aniline that has also treated with a very thin layer of protective coating which will prevent staining.

Semi-Aniline dyed leathers have been both stain dyed throughout but also have a thin finishing layer on the surface. They are perhaps better called – partially finished aniline, instead of semi-aniline - which suggests a half and half mix which is not the case. They offer a  combination of the softness and feel of full aniline leather with the protective benefits of a surface finish. By dyeing the leather through before the final thin top coating is applied, a very even colouration is achieved with only a thin layer of finish. Thus the leather remains softer because it is not necessary to apply a thick top coating. The degree of top coating may vary, which is why the term semi is a misnomer.

Corrected Grain Leather – Any imperfections are buffed away and then a glossy appearance is created by applying a finish colour.

The leather may be buffed (corrected) to reduce heavy natural scarring and blemishes in the hides. It is then coloured with a coating containing opaque pigments and embossed with a grain pattern to ensure a uniformity of colour and resistance to fading.

Micro Pigmented Leather – Combination of Semi Aniline and Corrected.

Single Colour Pigmented Leather – also known as protected as the surface of the leather will have a clear polyurethane coating applied.

Antique Effect Leather - Pigmented leather but with 2 or 3 different colours to create the effect.

Split – Flesh side of the leather than has been ‘split’ from the skin and then treated to make it more hard wearing.

Bicast – Produced by taking a lower split and laminating a thick layer of polyurethane membrane onto it.

This is a more recent development in using split leather. It is produced from the lower split by first melting a glue on the surface, then rolling on a film of coloured polyurethane.
It normally is produced in darker colours and when stretched it lightens. It also scratches quite easily. This type of leather is now coming on to the furniture market having been used for handbags and belts for some time.This product varies in quality.
It is also important that the temperature of room that the BiCast leather is kept remains below 30°C.
As the top surface has a high polyurethane finish leather creams should NOT be used. 

Nubuck – Aniline leather with the surface roughed up to create surface nap like velvet Suede – A split leather from the flesh side that is buffed and brushed to create soft nap. It will absorb liquid.

These are actually aniline leathers where the surface has been brushed, and have created a texture similar to a velvet on leather. Many people confuse these with suede leather. Suede is the flesh (lower) side of a piece of leather, and Nubuck is an effect that is done to the (top) grain side. This brushing actually breaks the surface and opens up the leather even more making it incredibly soft. The brushing also makes the leather even more absorbent than aniline leathers. 

Printed – Where a pattern or design is embossed onto the surface.

Regenerated – Leather fibres that have been through a process to compress the fibres, like chipboard.

Faux – Not a leather at all but made from synthetic materials, (Polyester).

What is classed as true leather? If the leather has a surface coating, the mean thickness of this surface layer has to be 0.15mm or less, and does not exceed 30% of the overall thickness BS2780.

An example of the different finishes to leather viewed under a microscope (below) gives an idea as to the complexities involved with the correct care and maintenance program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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