Leather is a popular material used in many products, ranging from clothing and footwear to furniture and accessories. It has been in use for centuries due to its durability, comfort, and luxurious look. However, to keep leather looking its best and to prolong its life, proper maintenance is necessary. While many people believe that applying wax or oil is the best way to maintain leather, this is not always the case. Additionally, with the rise of synthetic surfaces in many "genuine" leather products, it's important to know what works and what are unnecessary.
The first step in leather maintenance is to identify the type of leather you are dealing with. Not all leather is created equal, and different types require different care, porous or none porous? For example, full-grain leather is the highest quality leather. It is made from the top layer of the animal hide and has a natural, unaltered surface. Corrected-grain leather (usually known as genuine leather), on the other hand, is a lower quality leather that has been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. It is often treated with a synthetic surface to create a uniform appearance. Finally, bonded leather is made from scraps of leather that have been bonded together with adhesive and covered with a synthetic surface. Both corrected and bonded leather are none porous, meaning to say, they will never be able to absorb the conditioner that you apply on them. Try to look at it from another perspective, can a synthetic plant absorb water?
There are many leather conditioners on the market, but you should choose one that is specifically designed for the type of leather you are dealing with. It is important to note that over-conditioning leather can also be harmful. Too much conditioner can cause the leather to become saturated and weaken its grains leading to stretching and tearing. Therefore, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and only condition leather as needed.
In addition to cleaning and conditioning, there are other steps you can take to maintain leather. For example, you should avoid exposing leather to extreme temperatures, as this can cause it to crack and dry out. One of the most important is to keep it away from the sun. In locations like Singapore, where the sun is strong all year round, the heat and UV rays can quickly damage leather. Exposure to sunlight can cause leather to dry out, fade, and even crack over time. To protect leather from the sun, keep it out of direct sunlight whenever possible. If you have leather furniture or accessories, consider placing them in a shaded area or using window treatments to reduce sunlight exposure.
Another way to maintain leather is to reduce stress and stretching on the material. Leather furniture, in particular, can be prone to stretching and sagging over time, especially in areas where people sit or recline frequently. To reduce stress on leather furniture, consider replacing the foam padding in the seat cushions. This can help distribute weight more evenly across the surface of the leather and reduce tension on the material. Additionally, you should avoid sitting or reclining on leather furniture with sharp or pointed objects, as these can cause damage to the material.
In conclusion, knowing your leather and proper maintenance is important part of ensuring the longevity and durability of your leather products.