Leather is an investment that can last a lifetime. It is a material that ages well, looking better as the years go by – developing character and maintaining its charm as part of your home design.
To ensure that you keep it in top shape, you will need to give your new piece of furniture the right care. Often unfairly labelled as being high maintenance, the truth is that with a little bit of knowledge you can easily keep your furniture in superb condition for years to come.
WHAT IS ANILINE DYE?
Aniline dye was invented in the mid-19th century, and became famous in Victorian times. Aniline dye allowed the development of a new colour – Mauve – which subsequently became popular in England and France. More importantly, it has a transparency that enhances the characteristics of natural materials, such as linen, silk, wood and leather. Today aniline is an industry term for transparent dyes that are used to colour top quality hides.
Aniline dyed leather is often considered to be the finest leather because the top grain hides selected for dying come from the best 5% of all leather produced. The hides are soaked through in aniline dyes and drummed to increase their softness. Being transparent, aniline dyes impart a translucency and retain the personality and definition of each individual hide. This contrasts with the majority of leather furniture available, which relies mainly on ‘corrected grain’ (artificial texture printed on using rollers), and pigmented or painted finishes. In some cases, split leather (the bottom layer of a hide) is used, which is inferior in strength and finish. While such leathers are cheaper, they often take on a less characterful and more vinyl-like appearance.
HOW DOES LIGHT AND HEAT AFFECT LEATHER?
Cleaning and conditioning your leather upholstery regularly is absolutely essential, but you should also consider other things that may affect your leather – in this case, exposing your leather sofa to too much direct sunlight or letting it sit beside a source of heat for a prolonged period of time. This can cause the leather to stiffen, fade and crack, ruining the look, feel and charm of your sofa.
It is best to think about where you place your sofa in your home, making sure to avoid spots that regularly receive sunlight or are close to a radiator, air conditioning unit or fireplace. Remember that sunlight is a natural bleaching agent that will cause leathers and fabrics to fade, while excessive heat will draw out the moisture that is naturally present in the leather.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY LEATHER UPHOLSTERY?
All Duresta aniline dyed leathers include a light surface finish to help resist stains and scratches. Before cleaning, remove all cushions before removing general dust and debris with a feather duster, remembering to clean the back of the couch and any other parts that may be missed.
When cleaning your leather upholstery it is important to rub very gently to avoid colour change. If you find any light scratches and scuffs, these can be removed by gently buffing them with a slightly damp soft cloth or chamois.
Saddle soap, cleaning solvents, furniture polish, oils, waxes, abrasive cleaners, general stain removers and any silicone or ammonia-based products should never be used. Leather cleaners, conditioners and scratch removal creams can be used, however it is imperative to check that they are suitable for aniline leathers before use. It is also best to test these on a small, hidden section before use.
In the event of a spillage, it is imperative to act quickly. Carefully soak up the excess liquid, ideally using the edge of a paper towel, and then dab gently with a fresh towel, remembering to take care to avoid spreading or soaking in the remaining liquid. Please note that not all stains will clean away completely.
HOW CONSISTENT IS THE COLOURING?
Colours vary across individual hides and between different hides. Dyes are absorbed differently and change in thickness, location and moisture content – which will influence its colour density and hue. Texture and tone will vary across each individual furniture piece. In some cases, the appearance of our leathers are enhanced by the addition of surface colour to provide an antique effect or to strengthen the density of colour, particularly in the case of light cream hides.
Should you have any further questions regarding the quality and care of your Duresta upholstery, please contact your Duresta retailer.