Most of us have at least one item in our house which is made of leather – whether it's the sofa, an arm chair, dining chairs or foot rests, they all need the same care and attention to ensure they last as long as possible. A leather item of furniture is a real investment. We expect it to last many years and are willing to spend a few pounds more for that little bit of extra luxury. This is why it is so important to be fully aware of how to care for these items.
Avoid the sun
As most fabrics and carpets will fade when in direct sunlight a similar effect can occur on your leather. You may find that the surface of the leather becomes quite cracked and it loses it suppleness. Sunlight can also cause the leather to fade, this can be quite pronounced on dark leather and really spoils it's attractiveness. The best way to avoid this is to keep it away from direct sunshine and to pull the curtains on the warmest days.
Avoid heat sources
Leather does not respond well to any heat source and should be kept well away from radiators, fireplaces and heaters. Once again this can cause the leather to crack and become quite rough.
Avoid high traffic areas
Even brushing up against your sofa regularly can cause damage. To keep it looking it's best you should place it away from areas people walk through.
Regular cleaning is a must for leather. Any minor spills should be cleaned immediately. It is possible to buy specialist leather cleaners, but often plain dishwashing liquid in water will work well. Always check in an inconspicuous place first.
In order to keep your leather supple, it is wise to regularly rub in a leather restorer. You can buy these from furniture stores, but even a saddle soap from an Equestrian store would work well. These soaps contain glycerine which will keep the leather soft and in great condition. Work on small areas at a time rubbing on with one cloth and wiping off with another clean cloth. This is back breaking stuff but the effort involved will really be worthwhile. This should be done 4 times a year to maintain the maximum life of your furniture.
This is about the worst thing that can happen to your leather furniture. You may think a scratch means it is ruined, but a light rub with a chamois cloth is often enough to work these scratches out and followed with a buff with leather conditioner can mean it is gone entirely.
These can be very difficult to repair and for best results you really should get the professionals in. There are high street repair kits available, but be very sure you know exactly what you are doing.
Leather is a natural product and it is important to look after your furniture in the same way you would look after a good pair of leather boots. You should be able to expect many many years of life from your sofa so get out that polishing rag and get to work!