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Upholstered Furniture Care

Leather Upholstered Furniture

Leather is a natural product. It breathes, is warm and has individual characteristics, which make each hide unique. Leather will always display traces of its origin such as brands, scars, creases and growth. These hallmarks add character to the suite and do not affect the wearing qualities of the product. Leather is highly resilient and durable, and over time, develops a patina that increasingly enhances its appeal.

Leather needs very little special care but, to get the most out of your investment, you should follow the general guidelines below:

Always protect your suite from direct sunlight, as this will accelerate the natural ongoingdiscolouration process.

On pigmented leather, dust should be removed from your chairs and sofas by vacuuming and wiping with a slightly damp cloth, using a solution of warm water and mild soap on a regular basis. Never use abrasives such as household polish, which may damage the treated surface of the leather.

Suede, nubuck and aniline leathers require particular care, as they lack a protective coating.

Use products specifically designed for these types of finish and follow instructions carefully. Always test any cleaning process on an unseen area.

Never place leather furniture against any heating source such as a radiator. To remove spillages, do not rub into the leather as this will cause staining.

Liquids should be quickly raised from the leather by using the edge of absorbent paper towels and then dabbing the area lightly with clean towels. Sweat or perspiration may cause harm to leather. In particular it can cause colour loss and cracking of leather.

To minimise the risk of this happening in heavily used areas such as the arm rest and head rest, we advise that the cleaning instructions are regularly adhered to. Seat, arm and back cushions should, where possible, be regularly plumped up to maintain the shape of your suite.

Try to avoid sitting on the edges of cushions or arms, as this may cause uneven wear and distortion of the padding and leather. Where zips are used, these should not be required to be unfastened, as they are there for ease of manufacture. Certain non-colourfast clothing such as denim can stain light coloured leather if it comes into regular contact.

Sharp objects may scratch the surface of your settee or chair. Caster cups are useful to reduce indentations on carpets and wood flooring. Strong sunlight can cause leather to fade and crack. If you need any additional help or advice, feel free to call in or telephone us to speak to one of our advisers. Further information about leather-care can also be found on www.all-about-leather.co.uk

Variations and Markings

Every hide is different and because the dyes and finishes penetrate to varying degrees in different parts of the hide, an attractive variable finish is achieved with a level of uniformity as consistent as these processes allow.

The natural marks, grain variations and wrinkles, which appear on each hide, feature in certain areas of the furniture depending on the degree of marking. Heavier marking will appear on the outside backs and sides, or on areas not usually visible such as under seat cushions. The more subtle markings will feature on the more prominent parts of the suite.

Irregularities in the grain, small scars and insect bites and other natural skin marks should not be considered as defects. Only real leather has these characteristics, and they exist as your proof of authenticity. It is perfectly normal for certain areas of leather to show signs of creasing and stretching.

A combination of these factors means that in the first few weeks of use, creases and wrinkles will develop naturally to create a softer, more inviting look, an inherent quality of fine leather upholstery.

Full Aniline and Sauvage Leathers

The most attractive, expensive and natural leathers are renowned for their soft natural feel. These types of leather are made from the most carefully selected hides and have been aniline dyed with no colour added to the surface which helps maintain the soft natural handle. Full-Aniline and Sauvage leathers are most susceptible to absorbing liquids because of the natural porosity of the hide. Shade and colour variations throughout the hide are to be expected due to the minimal tanning processes.

Pull-up Aniline Leather

This is a type of Aniline leather that has an extra top treatment of oil and/or wax effects. This type of leather is designed to become ‘distressed’ during time and usage. Its properties are similar to that of a full-Aniline leather, but in places of heavy use, the oils will be pushed away leaving lighter areas – particularly on the seating areas. Shade variation is to be expected and, due to the oils and wax used, this type of leather can scratch easily.

Semi-Analine Leather

Semi-analine leather has a small amount of pigment or clear finish, allowing the natural characterstics of the hide to show through. This offers the combination of the softness and feel of a full-Aniline leather, but with the benefit of a protective surface finish.

Pigment and Corrected Grain Leather

Corrected grain leather may be buffed (corrected) to reduce heavy natural scarring and blemishes in the hide. It is then coloured with a coating containing opaque pigments and embossed with a grain pattern to ensure a uniformity of colour and resistance to fading. Pigmented leather has a grain surface which is coloured and coated. Both have a more firm handle than a semi-Aniline leather, but are particularly easy to care for, having more resistance to wear, soiling and fading.

Bycast Leather

This leather is produced from the lower split of the hide which then has a film of coloured polyurethane applied to the surface. It is normally produced in darker colours and when stretched it lightens. It is not recommended to use normal leather creams on this type of leather. Instead, a damp cloth with a mild soap should be used toclean the surface.

Antique or Rub-off Leather

Antique leather has a two part surface pigment process. After the hide has been upholstered on to the furniture, part of the top coat is rubbed off by hand to expose the contrast colour underneath.This creates an accelerated ageing effect. The top colour is designed to wear away during use to give the attractive antique appearance.

Nubuck or Suede Leather

These are Aniline leathers where the surface has been brushed, and have created a texture similar to that of velvet. The brushing process makes the surface of the leather even more prone to staining from liquids than Aniline leather. Caution should be used when caring for this type of leather.


Fabric / Soft Upholstered Furniture

Soft upholstered furniture (chairs, sofas, settees etc) gets just as dusty and dirty as cabinet furniture - the difference is you can’t always see it. Upholstery should be viewed in a similar way to clothing, i.e it needs regular cleaning, ideally by a reputable cleaning company.

Regular, Easy-Care Maintenance

  • Try to keep pets off the upholstery and be careful of sharp objects such as belt buckles, toys and watch straps snagging the fabric. If snags do occur, carefully cut off the loose ends with scissors or tuck back in - do not pull them under any circumstances.
  • Discourage lively children from using your new suite as a climbing frame if you want to prolong its lifespan.
  • Use protective arm caps where possible as this is the area most likely to show wear.
  • Reversible seat and back cushions should be turned regularly and plumped up to maintain their shape. As a guide these cushions should be attended to at least on a weekly basis, but may require daily attention dependant upon type of filling and usage.
  • Upholstery can be lightly vacuumed or gently brushed to remove dust, but take care if vacuuming delicate fringe and braid details.
  • Strong sunlight can cause fabrics to fade.
  • Sitting on the front edges of the chairs cushions or on the arms of furniture may cause distortion or damage.
  • Velvet and chenille fabrics have a raised surface texture which is prone to flattening and shading. It is important that you understand this characteristic.
  • Wood or decorative facings require minimal maintenance, and should be occasionally wiped with a damp cloth to remove dust. Do not use spray polishes or solvent cleaners, as these can have a damaging effect on both the facings and adjoining fabric.
  • Fringes and ruching should be treated with care, especially when vacuuming.
  • Caster cups are useful to reduce indentations on carpets and wood flooring.

Stop Spills Becoming Stains

  • Do not use detergents.
  • Do not try to wash or rub minor spills.
  • To avoid damaging your upholstery, if you spill something on it, simply act quickly and mop up excess liquid with a clean white cloth.

Variations and Markings

Vacuum or brush clean your upholstery weekly to remove accumulated dirt, which can cause colours to look faded or dull. Plump the cushions at the end of every day of use, particularly those filled with feather or fibre, and also smooth out the surface to prevent permanent creases being formed. Where you can, turn the cushions regularly to equalise wear.

Cleaning

Always follow your manufacturer’s cleaning and care label instructions. Clean your upholstery at least once a year and before soiling becomes ingrained. Clean all parts of a suite together as slight colour changes can sometimes occur.

Motion Furniture

Motion furniture has many different designs and functions, and it is very important that the manufacturer’s operating and care instructions are correctly followed.

Loose Cover Upholstery

Loose covers should be cleaned regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Some slight shrinkage may arise on initial cleaning, but sufficient tolerance will have allowed for this. When removing and particularly when replacing loose covers, always take care with the carcase and cushion cover zips. Your covers are tailored to snugly fit the carcase, therefore identify the shapes prior to fitting. If washed, replace the covers when just slightly damp to ensure a better fit and less shrinkage or creasing. Do not replace covers if they are wet, as this could damage other materials. Allow the covers to settle on the furniture for a day or so. Ironing should not be necessary, but if this is required, iron the covers on the furniture using a damp cloth.

General Tips for Fitting

  1. Locate the zip fastener
  2. Fit the wing or rear of arm nearest the zip
  3. Fit the arm front
  4. Repeat on the opposite arm fixing
  5. Tuck covers on the inside of the arms and back of the seat
  6. Fit the valance stiffeners where applicable
  7. Close the zip, pulling the outside arm and back covers tightly to remove pressure from the zip itself.
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