5 Things That Ruin Leather (and 3 Things That Fix it)
The allure of leather cannot be denied–it’s durable, long-lasting, stylish, and easy to care for. Leather furniture in your home sets a tone for sophistication, and leather upholstery in your automobile looks almost regal. But while leather will last much longer than any other type of material, it is not impervious to damage. If not properly cared for and protected, the quality can suffer and deteriorate, and damaged leather just doesn’t look good at all.
What Causes Damaged Leather?
There are a few simple things that can result in damaged leather–knowing what they are can help you better protect your leather furniture or upholstery and keep it looking pristine for many years.
1. Exposure to Sunlight
Leather’s arch-nemesis is that big bright ball in the sky–the sun. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can not only affect the color of your leather, but also cause damaged leather that looks old and worn. Keep note if your leather furniture is exposed to sunlight on a daily basis through a window, or if the sunlight beams through your car windows. Consider moving furniture out of the direct path of sunlight, and park in shady areas or in your garage.
2. Extreme Changes in Temperature
Damaged leather can occur if you move a piece of leather furniture from an area that is a relatively stable warm temperature to another area that is much colder or hotter. For example, moving a leather couch from inside the house to an outdoor balcony, or keeping your car outside if the temperature dips greatly at night.
To prevent damaged leather on your furniture, keep it in areas where the temperature stays the same. To better protect leather upholstery in your car, park your car in the garage at night to protect it from rises and falls in temperature.
3. Not Cleaning Stains Right Away
It happens–from time to time, you or someone else might spill something on your leather. If you don’t take care to clean it right away, the stain can become permanent. A good leather restoration kit will have a protectant or other leather cleaning items that can help you clean the stain without damaging the leather, as products with harsh chemical can…
4. Use Harsh Chemicals and Soaps to Clean Your Leather
Products with harsh soaps, detergents, and chemicals can actually result in damaged leather rather than clean leather. Look for specially made leather cleaning solutions and leather restoration kits to make sure that you are taking car of your leather properly–other products can cause dry, cracked, dull leather.
5. Too Much Heat
Keeping the house warm is nice and comforting, but if you’ve got your leather furniture too close to a heating vent, you could wind up with damaged leather. Keep the furniture away from heating vents, and again, park cars in shady spots or the garage.
3 Things That Fix Leather
1. A Good Leather Cleaner
For starters, have a good leather cleaner on hand to safely remove dirt, oil, stains, and other grime from your leather without the use of harsh chemicals.
2. A Leather Restoration Kit
If your leather is starting to look a little weathered, it might just need a little TLC to get it looking shiny and new again. Use a leather restoration kit to moisturize the leather and restore its look, as well as keep it protected from future leather damage.
3. Olive Oil or Baby Oil
If you’ve got a scratch or small tear in your leather, do not despair. You can often use olive oil or baby oil to repair the damaged leather. Lightly apply the oil to the affected area with a cotton ball, allow to dry for an hour, then see how it looks. Repeat if necessary.