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leather careguide

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What should I know about leather? No two pieces of leather are alike! That’s because each hide is unique, with its own characteristics such as grain pattern, barbed wire nicks and even insect bites. These natural and unique markings are proof positive of the genuine article. These elements give real leather its personality. The leather is tanned so as to preserve all its natural characteristics (insect bites, wrinkles, scars, grain or colour differences) showing the actual marks of animal life. At the end of the operational process, each hide shows its own unique signs which guarantee its origin. Because of the differences in the hides and the structure of the fibers, you may also find variations in shading and tone. This is normal since the varying density of the hides is the cause for this normal variation in colour. Only vinyl is always perfectly consistent in colour, but it can never offer the beauty and comfort of natural leather. In wear tests, leather will outlast most fabrics four times to one. It is an investment that will definitely pay off over time, if well taken care of. The advantage of leather is that it is almost care free! Advances in modern tanning technology have created a product that is ideally suited for today’s lifestyle.

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How can I keep the leather beautiful? Part of the reason why consumers like leather is because it is easy to care for. It is not, however, indestructible. In general, the more heavily finished a leather surface is, the more resistant it is to spills and stains. Untreated leather absorbs and is more easily stained by oils such as the natural oils from skin and hair. It can also be harmed by abrasive cleaners, powdered products and organic solvents. A cloth with soap and water is good for routine cleaning, but many commercially available leather cleaners also work; the latter often contain lubricating materials which are intended to keep leather supple. To clean with soap and water, simply wipe the leather down with a soft damp cloth, never wet. This removes the surface dust and dirt and should be repeated every 3 months, or as needed. To maintain leather’s suppleness, you can apply a leather care product available in our stores. This is needed every year. If your leather is really dirty, it may require the use of a mild detergent solution although professional cleaning is always recommended. If you do decide to clean it yourself, you should know that some detergent solutions may not be PH balanced or contain compounds that could harm the leather. It is recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and that you test any cleaner on an inconspicuous area first.

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Some pets love to chew or scratch leather. Even though leather is tougher than any fabric, it is still vulnerable to pets and their claws. There is unfortunately no solution for this. It is also important not to place leather in direct sunlight or near radiators which may dry it out. People who anticipate that their sofa will see heavy or consistent use in the same seat or spot and are worried about dirt, stains and wear, might be well advised to purchase a sofa that is darker in colour and has a heavier finish coat. More heavily finished leather will maintain its original look longer, but tend to be stiffer and show less natural character. Since heavily pigmented finish coats are often used to cover up less desirable leather, they will also tend to be used in less expensive upholstery. Normal use will rarely if ever wear through the grain enamel of the leather. If wear or abrasion exposes a contrasting colour, this is almost always due to the pigmented finish being a different colour than the aniline dyed leather undercoat. Sometimes this is done purposely to achieve tonal effects. The most uniform colour can be achieved by a fully struck through leather, dyed and finished in the same shade.

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You can tell if the final pigmented finish coat is a different colour than the dyed leather by examining a leather sample or patch found under the seat cushion. Just compare the pigmented surface colour with the colour of the opposite side. Beautiful, natural leather is a great investment especially if it is well cared for!

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