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Proper leather upholstery cleaning and maintenance can protect the durability and long-lasting beauty of leather upholstered furniture. Any failure of the leather fabric can usually be attributed to a lack of maintenance or to the use of improper cleaning and conditioning products. It is most crucial to know the type of finish in order to develop a maintenance schedule for your leather upholstery.

Most leather can be categorized into one of three types:

Suede or Nubuck
Leather Upholstery

Nubuck Leather SofaNubuck Leather Sofa

What is Suede or Nubuck Leather?

Suede or Nubuck is regular leather that has been brushed or sanded to create a nap. Nubuck, which comes from a fiber structure that is stronger and of higher density than Suede, is usually the favored selection of most furniture manufacturers. 

This form of leather will have noticeable range marks, such as barbed wire, scratches and wrinkles. It is more likely to stain and fade than other forms of leather upholstery.

General Maintenance of Suede or Nubuck Leather

General maintenance of either Suede or Nubuck leather would involve brushing with a soft bristle brush, a fine abrasive pad or a nubuck block specially designed to clean suede. Loose fibers and soil can then be vacuumed away.

What is Synthetic Nubuck or MicroSuede?

Synthetic Nubuck, known as Microsuede is made of synthetic fibers to mimic the look and feel of real suede. It is more affordable than leather or suede. Regular vacuuming is the best way to maintain this type of upholstered furniture.

Microsuede SofaMicrosuede Sofa

Naked or Full Aniline
Leather Upholstery

Full Aniline Leather SofaFull Aniline Leather Sofa

What is Naked or Full Aniline Leather?

The word 'aniline' refers to the coal tar base of the colored dye bath, which is the final production step. No additional finish is applied.

These leathers will darken dramatically when wet and this is the easiest way for the untrained eye to identify them. Over time, these leathers will develop a 'patina'. This happens naturally where body oils are absorbed into the leather. This effect should never be corrected by cleaning or restoration, since it will damage or alter the appearance of the leather.

This type of leather does not have a protective surface coating and is thus an inappropriate choice for high traffic areas, especially in public places. If color can be easily removed from the leather with a damp cloth, this should be considered full aniline, even if a minimal amount of finish exists.

General Maintenance of Naked or Full Aniline Leather

General maintenance of this type of leather would involve wiping down with a soft cloth dampened with cool water. This should be done with some regularity to keep the leather from drying and cracking. The frequency can be determined by environment and use.

Finished or Semi-Aniline
Leather Upholstery

Semi-Aniline Leather SofaSemi-Aniline Leather Sofa

What is Finished or Semi-Aniline Leather?

Finished or semi-aniline leather is the most common of the three types of leather. Finished leathers are submerged in an aniline dye bath to give them their base color. But, unlike naked leather, these leathers receive a number of topical applications which can be colored, clear or colored first and then clear on top.

This type of leather has the highest range of uses. These are the most widely used by the automotive, aviation, and marine markets.

General Maintenance of Finished or Semi-Aniline Leather

General maintenance of this type of leather would be to occasionally wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

Still Confused? Call ABC for Help

Please call or text our office at 607-272-1566 for help in learning more about leather upholstery cleaning and maintenance.

If you have not followed a regular cleaning maintenance schedule with your leather item, we have custom chemicals, tools, and techniques that can clean your leather upholstery in your home or business.

More information on upholstery cleaning in general can be found by clicking here.

Looking for the best type of upholstered furniture in a home with pets? Please read our article, Pet Friendly Upholstery Fabric.

Top of Leather Upholstery Cleaning

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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co.
130 Cecil Malone Drive Ithaca, NY 14850


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Spotting Guide

Learn how to remove spots with ordinary household solutions

Sign up below to gain access to your complementary Spotting Guide from ABC.

Registering your email address guarantees you will be notified whenever discount savings coupons become available.

Did you know that our ABC Responsible Care Spotter can get those pesky spots out of your carpet and rugs and will work equally as well on your clothes and upholstery?

Stop by our office and pick one up.  They are $5.00 + Tax but if you have carpets or upholstery cleaned in your home or business, just request a free one from your Technician.

And don't forget to fill out the form above to download your free ABC Spotting Guide!  

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