Many people are tempted to use general household products to clean their leather furniture. General cleaning products found in the home contain harmful chemicals which will very well cause the pigment in your leather to crack or peel. Using baby wipes for leather cleaning is probably the worst thing you can do as they actually break down the finish and will eventually ruin it. Leather furniture can be cleaned and cared for but this must be done correctly to help maintain a high level of appearance.
The most common type of leather is 'pigmented' also known as 'protected' leather which has a durable lacquer finish. A common problem with leather furniture is dye transfer. This happens when the lacquer finish wears down through general wear and tear. Dye can then transfer from people's clothes, particularly denim jeans, to the leather seating. To properly clean leather use a specially formulated leather cleaning product followed by a leather protector. The protector coats the leather and helps to repel dirt and stains making future leather cleaning much more successful.
Another popular type of leather is Aniline or Nubuck. Furniture made from this type of leather is sold due to its appearance, feel and comfort. These leathers are usually more expensive and correct maintenance is critical to protect your investment. Aniline leather does not have the durable finish that pigmented or protected leather has. It could be described as porous as it does not have the lacquer finish and therefore has a high absorbency rate. Aniline and Nubuck leather are both difficult to clean but there are ways to improve its appearance if it starts to look rather dull and lifeless. Consider seeking professional assistance as improper cleaning may lead to permanent damage.
Follow these tips to care for your leather furniture:
1. Dust leather on a weekly basis or just wipe with a damp cloth which will re-hydrate the leather and prevent it drying out.
2. Do not overwet and never over-rub your leather furniture.
3. Test any specialized leather cleaning products on a hidden area before use
4. Position leather furniture away from radiators as heat can damage
5. Do not clean leather using soap.
6. Place leather furniture out of direct sunlight as it is sooner to fading.
7. Do not clean leather with furniture polish.
8. Do not use baby wipes or general cleaning products to clean leather furniture.
9. Do not use conditioning products as these contain oils and wax which clog up the pores of the leather.