Ahh . . . that smell of new leather. Stroll into our Aledo, Texas, home store and you’re likely to find it. Fine leather furniture, like the sofas and chairs from McCreery’s Home Furnishings, is a beautiful investment for your home or office. In addition to leather’s incomparable quality and comfort, the material’s rustic finish can lend a look of sophistication and masculinity to your space. And for those folks who like a clean home, you can’t go wrong with leather: it doesn’t trap the dust and allergens that normal fabrics do.
Maybe you’re one of those people who think leather furniture is too much work or the material is just too delicate for your home. Not true! We’re here to tell you that everyone can enjoy the beauty of leather. But, we won’t lie, leather can be susceptible to cracking and fading if not maintained properly. However, a few simple steps will keep your leather in tip-top shape and ensure its surface remains smooth and soft for years to come.
Why does leather crack and fade?
Leather is a material that evolves. With use, leather develops unique furrows and texture that offer the tasteful, lived-in look so many customers desire. Leather changes not just from friction or pressure of daily use, but from altered pH levels across its surface.
The dyes used to create your leather piece are much more sensitive to changes in pH than some other fabrics or materials. Stimulants in the home from sunlight and artificial light, to body oils and temperature fluctuations, can all shift the pH of your leather furniture. This stimulates the visible changes you see in your leather furniture’s appearance, including color loss and a “faded” look. This is typically most evident in areas where lots of light or contact occurs. Too much friction, sunlight, or other stressors can cause the fading and cracking that leaves your piece looking damaged or worn.
So how do you prevent cracks and fades while encouraging a beautiful aging process? Continue reading for our tips!
Before we get started, it’s important to note that you should test out any new maintenance or cleaning method on furniture (especially leather) in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t damage or alter the appearance of your piece.
Play around with your furniture layout.
Too much of a good thing, well, isn’t so good. That means sunlight, though wonderful for brightening up a room, can slowly lighten and fade leather furniture (and fabric pieces, too). When adding in a fine leather furniture piece, play around with your room’s layout and position the chair or sofa away from the direct light of windows or skylights.
Sunrooms and four-season porches probably aren’t the best spot for your new piece. Opt for darker, interior rooms, or corners that are away from windows. (If it must go by a window, look at this as an opportunity to finally find the perfect curtains for your space!)
Keep it clean.
Leather is a naturally porous material. That means it absorbs liquid substances very easily. However, most leather pieces you buy today come with a protective coating to protect the porous material and improve its ability to hold up to daily wear and tear (of sippy cups, dirty paws, holiday parties, etc.)
Clean leather is less susceptible to changes in its color and texture. It’s important to regularly remove dirt from the leather’s surface. We recommend cleaning your leather at least three or four times a year, using a gentle leather cleaning solution or polish. These cleaning solutions attract debris from the leather’s surface and make it easy to wipe away.
Don’t be afraid to add moisture.
You may think leather should stay dry to prevent stains, but moisture is the key to maintaining a smooth, crack-free surface. Leather craves a dose of moisture to maintain a strong and smooth outer surface. Just remember to always give it plenty of time to dry after conditioning!
After about one year after purchasing leather furniture, it will be ready for its first conditioning treatment. After thoroughly cleaning with a gentle leather cleaner, apply a leather conditioner formulated for the type of leather used in your furniture piece (since leather is a natural material, it needs moisture just like your skin or hair!) Regular conditioning is key to preventing dryness – the real culprit behind unsightly cracks.
Want to try a simple homemade leather conditioner?
Try using lemon essential oil. Just dampen a clean cloth with several drops of lemon essential oil and then massage it over the leather surface. Not only is it an easy, natural solution, but it will leave your piece smelling springtime fresh, too!
Don’t be afraid to enjoy and live in your leather furniture. With just a few simple steps, you can ensure your piece looks beautiful and ages gracefully in your home. Continue to clean and condition leather about three to four times a year in order to extend the life and beauty of your Brumbaugh piece.