Leather is a magnificent material for furniture. It looks great, feels great, smells great and typically lasts 4 to 5 times longer than any other upholstered fabric. It's also fire resistant and wears gracefully by holding its color fastness and becoming more supple with age.

Placement

The placement of your leather furniture is critical to its appearance and longevity.

Don't place your leather furniture in direct sunlight. Leather irreparably dries and fades in sunlight.

Don't place leather furniture too close to a radiator, fireplace or other direct heat source ... even a heater vent. Maintain at least 2 feet between the piece and any heat source.

Cleaning and Conditioning

Do maintain a regular cleaning regime. Dust your leather items weekly to keep leather pores free from dust particles. Simply wipe it down with a damp soft white cloth (a dyed cloth can discolor the leather). This seemingly small task it goes a long way in the long term care of your leather goods.

Do clean and condition the leather twice a year using a high quality water-based product. Be mindful that conditioning sometimes darkens the leather. Of course, if the leather is already faded this darkening may help restore the original appearance.

Do clean up spills as soon as possible using a damp white cloth with a light detergent soap, such as liquid hand soap. You may need to follow that up with some Lexol leather cleanser, just to be sure you got it all.

Don't use liquid dish soap. These days liquid dish soaps contain more salt to get dishes clean and this may break down the leather finish.

Don't use anything containing oils, waxes or silicone. Most 'conditioners' contain waxes or oils and furniture polish (e.g., Pledge) contains silicone which can destroy the finish on the leather. Most car cleaners also contain oils or waxes so should not be used as they leave residues on the surface of the leather which attract more dirt which eventually leads to cracking. The only 'moisturizer' leather needs is from water.

Don't condition your fine leather goods with Neats Foot Oil. This product works great on baseball gloves and other rawhide items, but it's much to heavy for fine leather.

Don't use baby wipes. Baby wipes will will destroy the finish on your leather. They contain very strong alkaline cleaners to neutralize urine (acid) on baby's skin so they are not the right thing to use on leather.

Don't use saddle soap. Saddle soap is too harsh to for today's leathers.

Don'tuse prepared leather wipes. Some leather wipes contain chemicals that can destroy the finish or leave residues on the leather that can damage it. Besides, they are expensive in the long run.

Don't use products labeled as leather spot removers ... they have a nasty tendency to permanently remove the color of the leather as well. Heavier stains that don't respond to these treatments may require the use of dry cleaning chemicals. We recommend you consult a leather repair professional before doing this.

Do rehydrate your dry leather with water periodically. Wiping over with a damp cloth regularly will help to do this.

Do follow cleaning with a fresh application of a water-based stain-repellent leather protector from a reputable company like Kiwi or Totes. This will inhibit the absorption of dirt and body oils and make cleaning easier the next time.

As durable as leather is, after decades of wear and exposure to enough of these "dont's", even the finest product will need expert attention.


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