Tips to protect your leather furniture for years to come

Tips to protect your leather furniture for years to come

Most retailers will not sell you products to maintain your leather. They will, however, try to sell you an insurance policy against rips, tears, burns and staining. The cost of buying proper leather care products will be far less expensive than the cost of an insurance policy.

Avoid leather insurance scams

These insurance policies are one of the largest profit centers for any furniture retailer, but they do not represent any value to the customer. When you call with a claim, it is most often handled by a third party, not the retailer who sold you the policy. Each question they ask is to set up a situation where they can deny your claim from the clauses in the fine print, which are next to impossible to read.

The issue with protected leathers is that once a leather topcoat breaks down through use and abuse, the leather dries, and then the pigment comes off, as it loses its original adhesion. This will not be covered by the insurance policy. Pigmented leathers tend to be stiffer than aniline leathers, and not as comfortable to sit on.

Aniline leathers highly recommended

Aniline leathers will have the best material and the greatest comfort. The finest or best leather you can purchase is oiled pull-up aniline leather. I sold millions of dollars of these leathers through leather specialty stores without a return. The benefit of oiled pull-up leather is that it wears like a baseball glove. The leather breaks in as opposed to breaking down.

Once a year, you can put the equivalent of mitt oil on the leather and it will remove scratches and recondition the leather. The other benefit is you can buy the aniline color to maintain the leather’s original beauty and color for years to come. Aniline oiled pull-up leathers will have the longest durability of any leather.

These are the leathers I sell to my neighbors, and I recommend these to anyone purchasing leather. They may be the most expensive leathers to buy, but they are made from the cleanest hides. Most retailers no longer offer these leathers because of the expense. That’s a shame, because they are still the best to own.

Leather fading

Here are some rules on the fading of leather: aniline will start to show fade within 300 hours of direct sunlight. A pigmented leather will show fading in about 2,000 hours. A correction to faded aniline can be done by the owner. Any pigmented leather fade correction requires professional attention.

The rule on fading for nubuck leather is this: open the wrapper, turn on your lights, and light a match, because it is going to fade. Nubuck leathers are considered adult leathers, meaning they are used by adults who don’t spill food or drinks, or eat at all on their furniture. All leathers need to be maintained and will last longer with proper care. Leather can represent an excellent value and offer long life. Pick a leather which will fit your specific needs.

About this Experts Contributor: Shay Johnson has thirty years in the furniture business, and 14 years of restoring leather. Leather Restoration Co. has provided the Milwaukee area with leather restoration and upholstery since 2009. You can learn more at the company website.

As of July 31, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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