Leather Care - Leather Cleaning

Tips on how to care & clean leather. How to Care for Your Leather Furnishings and Goods A complimentary guide from your leather care technicians here at Auto Interior Doctors
Dec. 21, 2011 - PRLog -- Visit http://www.autointeriordocs.com

The Story of a Natural Beauty

Leather is a natural material made from the hides of animals.  Just as no two animals are exactly alike, no two pieces of leather are identical.  In addition to its own genetic heritage, each hide bears the little nicks and scars that marked the animal during its lifetime.  These natural characteristics are not defects and are considered marks of distinction in “full grain” leather, adding to the unique appeal of each finished product.  When a more uniform appearance is required, the leather can be sanded to produce what is called a “corrected grain”.

Structure of the Hide

When hides are converted to leather, all nonessential parts of the original animal hide are removed, leaving only the surface “grain” and middle “corium” layers.  It is the remarkable structure of this corium — made up of millions of microscopic fibers, twisted and interwoven by nature — that gives leather its highly tensile strength and other desirable qualities.

The Tanning Process

In the tanning process the hides are chemically cured to prevent deterioration.  The chemicals used in this process also enhance the flexibility of leather and improve its ability to withstand extreme humidity and temperatures.  Tanning is followed by another process that restores the natural lubricants lost during the conversion of raw hide into finished leather.

Give Your Leather Goods The Care They Deserve — They’ll Serve You Well For Years To Come

Scarring is a Natural Characteristic of Leather!

Anything that happens to a cow while it is alive is natural.  Things that happen to the hide after it is removed becomes a manufacturing or delivery problem.  There are four basic types of scars in leather.

INVERTED — These types of scars often appear as small pinholes from the hair follicle, pock marks from insect bites, or lines indented from light scraping against a fence.

RAISED — These types of scars are almost always raised lines in design caused from the cow running into barbed wire, or fighting with an animal.

“TREE KNOTS” — This type of scar is found in many shapes and appears as if there is a gouge and the area surrounding the gouge appears very dry, much like refinishing the area around a tree knot in wood.

BRANDS & SURGERY SCARS — This happens while the cow is alive and therefore it is a natural scar.

To retain its beauty and other desirable qualities, leather requires frequent conditioning to replace the natural lubricants lost during normal use.  With the proper care, leather can be protected from excessive dryness that can cause it to crack, and from moisture that may cause it to swell or mildew.

Because unprotected leather is susceptible to spotting from water and other liquids, a newly purchased leather item should be treated immediately to help prevent permanent stains from occurring.  Be sure to use only the proper protection for your particular type of leather.

Pigmented Leathers:

The use of too much oil or wax, however, can clog pores, causing leather to lose its ability to allow air in and moisture out.  For the best protection, we recommend a mild dish washing soap.  Ivory liquid dish washing soap is an excellent way to keep your leather clean and looking new.  Use 1 part Ivory to 10 parts water.

Because it contains no petroleum distillates (e.g. turpentine or mineral spirits), it will not “pull” color and is safe for even bright and light fashion tones.

Dairy products that spill on darker dyed leather furniture and goods will leave a spot.  After cleaning, the oils in the dairy products will eventually rise back up to the surface.  Try and be careful with any dairy product next to your leather.

Lighter colored leather needs to be cleaned often.  Dirt, dust and clothing will leave traces on the leather.  Especially, black and dark-blue dyed jeans.

Never use preparations made for smooth leather on suede or “rough out” leather.  Use only cleaners or preparations made specifically for suede.

Function and Versatility

The qualities of leather — created by nature and preserved by the tanner — are superior to those of any man-made or synthetic material.

FLEXIBILITY — Leather stretches to conform to individual contours, yet retains sufficient shape to provide support.

DURABILITY — Leather resists tears, punctures, heat, cold, and other stresses so well that it is used in many safety applications where other materials fail.

COMFORT — Leather “breathes,” allowing air in and moisture out.  A natural insulator, leather protects against extremes in temperature and humidity.

BEAUTY — By its very nature, leather comes in a wide range of pleasing textures and surface patterns.  It also takes well to a variety of finishing processes, designs and color applications.  A rich “feel” and pleasing scent heighten the appeal of leather.

Tips for the Care of Fine Leather Furnishings & Goods

Always hang leather coats on wide, padded hangers.  Use shoe trees in shoes and boots.  Stuff empty handbags with tissues to retain their shape.
Do not store leather goods in plastic bags or other nonporous covers.  If clothing must be stored in a garment bag, keep it open for ventilation.
Allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any source of heat.  Apply a little conditioner when leather is nearly dry to restore flexibility.  Follow this with a full conditioning treatment when leather has completely dried.
In winter, promptly remove any salt deposits from shoes and boots by sponging with clear water; then follow with the treatment recommended above for wet or damp leather.
To prevent mildew, protect leather from excessive humidity.  In a dry environment, to prevent it from drying out and cracking, regularly condition leather.
Do not use waxes, silicone products or other leather preparations that impair the ability of the leather to “breathe.”
Never use caustic household chemicals to clean leather.  Avoid leather preparations that contain alcohol or petroleum distillates, such as turpentine and mineral spirits.
Use of mink oil or other animal fats will darken leather.  Animal fat can turn rancid, causing the stitching and leather to rot.

Nothing Equals Leather for Beauty

Auto Interior Doctors offers a leather cleaner and conditioner so you can protect your leather furniture or have our certified technicians schedule an appointment to perform our cleaning and conditioning program for you.

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Auto Interior Doctors, Inc. is a mobile business that offers complete interior restoration services for your car, boat, and leather furniture.

These skilled craftsmen meticulously eliminate scuffs, scratches, gouges, scrapes, rips, tears.
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Tags:Leather Repair, Leather Cleaning, Leather refinishing, Auto Upholstery
Industry:leather care
Location:St. Louis - Missouri - United States
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