Leather sofas are an essential piece for any modern home: long-lasting, eye-catching and luxuriously comfortable. But as with any high-quality material, leather needs regular TLC to keep its beautiful appearance and contrary to popular opinion, this doesn’t have to be expensive, timely or tedious.
Here are a few simple products you can buy (or make) to maintain and protect your leather from nicks, scratches and kitty claws.
What’s your type?
First thing’s first: you need to find out what kind of leather you have. Leather can be divided into three general categories: Type A (Aniline), Type SA (Semi-Aniline) or Type P (Pigmented). Type A has been dyed without any topcoat to keep the hide’s natural grainy surface visible, and will feel soft to touch. Type SA, with a light surface coating, is more durable than A and has a slightly slippery feel to it. Type P feels stiffer than the other two, as it features many layers of protective coating.
Learn how to identify what leather type you have here – it’s important to find out what material you have so you can use the right products for it.
Once you’ve discovered what kind of leather you have, it’s time to get a leather conditioner. Leather conditioners will protect the surface of your couch from stains and over time it can darken the patina into a deep, beautiful hue. Although there are many different kinds of conditioner available, they all are designed to nourish the leather fibres with much-needed lubrication so they don’t crack from dryness or strain. One example of a good conditioner that works on all Type A and SA leathers is Leather Honey, available on Amazon. It’s non-toxic, water repellent and controls mildew.
Interested in making your own? Read this list of homemade conditioner recipes here to get some ideas.
In addition to regular upkeep, there will be the inevitable accident that you just can’t prevent. Depending the scratch, there are different approaches for dealing with it that don’t involve a new sofa.
For minor scratches like fingernail marks or light scuffing, you can use olive oil (apply to the scratch, let it soak for a few hours and wipe clean), or you can try this Leather Scratch Away Kit. The kit works to even out the colour of the sofa so there are no patchy spots.
For deeper cuts where the leather has been severed, you’ll need to get a leather repair kit, like this one from Furniture Clinic. First, you’ll need to clean the leather and rid the tear of any loose threads or jagged ends – the straighter the tear, the easier it will be to fix. Then you’ll need to glue the patch underneath the tear (it makes for a stronger fix), apply colourant to the patch and finish everything off with leather protectant. For more detailed instructions, read this article here.
And if one of your furry friends has managed to ‘leave their mark’ on your leather sofa, watch this YouTube tutorial that demonstrates how you can repair a cat-scratched sofa with a shaver!
Leather damage can be a hassle, but it doesn’t mean you need to give up and start shopping again. Leather gets better with age, and leather goods are designed to last a lifetime. With the wealth of products, demos and hacks available to help you protect the material, you’ll be able to keep your sofa for years to come.