All leather fades in UV light to a greater or lesser extent. It is best to keep your leather out of direct sunlight where possible.
Protecting your leather with LTT LeatherGuard will help slow down the fading process as it contains UV inhibitors.
High temperatures and humidity can cause mould growth in the fibres.
Leather furniture is best kept away from direct heat sources such as radiators but cleaning and protecting on a regular basis will help to keep the leather correctly hydrated.
Mould on leather can be treated with Em Clean which is a fully tested mould killer and safe for use on leather and fabrics.
Some types of leather (Nubuck and Suede in particular) will always require specialist cleaning services if there is a major problem.
Aniline leather may also require specialist products and knowledge to restore successfully.
Attempting cleaning yourself is fraught with danger particularly if household products are used.
Prevention is easier than cure.
All leather should be protected and cleaned on a regular basis to help prevent the build up of dirt and body oils.
If the leather has already become contaminated it may need to be professionally degreased to get rid of any body oils etc.
Surface cleaning can be done with the appropriate cleaner.
Suede and Nubuck are extremely rare on furniture (a sofa would cost in excess of £10K) so always check first to make sure it is leather. Most sofas that are perceived to be Nubuck or Suede are in fact a microfibre fabric that is made to look and feel like the nap. If you can get to the back of the cushions you will be able to tell as the underside of Suede or Nubuck would look very similar to the top side. A microfibre fabric would have a fabric backing. It is important to check first before any cleaning methods are tried as they would be cleaned in very different ways and damage could be done to either if the correct products and methods are not used.
Leather should be cleaned and protected on a regular basis from new to keep it looking good and in the best condition.
Check the type of leather you have and use the appropriate products as these will give the best results.
Always use water based products as these will keep your leather in the best condition.
Avoid household products and anything containing oils and waxes (traditional conditioners) as these are not required on modern chrome tanned leather and are counter productive. The oils and waxes cannot reach the leather itself through the surface coating and so sit on the surface where they attract more dirt.
Leather clothing and shoes are best stored in a dust cover (not plastic) or in a shoe box when not in use and away from other darker colours if the leather is a light colour.
The majority of auto leather is finished and so is more robust for cleaning purposes but dye transfer from jeans, curry etc is a common problem.
Dye transfer can be removed with Jean & Dye Transfer Remover if caught quickly enough but if left will be harder to remove.
Protecting and cleaning on a regular basis will help make stains easier to remove and keep the leather in the best condition.
Odours on leather can be eliminated with Em Clean (this has been fully tested on leather and fabric and is safe to use) but remember that if the cause of the odour has penetrated the innards of the seats these need to be treated too.
For information on Auto Leather Care please see here.
For regular cleaning of a fully finished leather, simply follow the instructions below:
Wax polishes and furniture spray often contain silicone which will, in time, produce an unpleasant sticky feel to the leather and can act as an abradant catching dirt and dust particles.
Do not attempt to feed the leather in any way. This includes, but is not limited to, hide foods, care kits, saddle soaps and waxes - avoid them all.
Handbags should be stored in a cloth bag when not in use and are best stuffed with tissue or similar to help keep their shape correctly.
Handbags should be cleaned and protected on a regular basis to keep them in the best condition.
You will find a wealth of information about handbag care here.
Leather can generally be repaired (depending on the amount of damage done) but will need a specialist to repair and restore the finish.
Aniline styles and Suede & Nubuck may not be repairable as repairs cannot be covered with a finish.
Ink removal from finished leathers should always be done with a formulated Ink Remover for leather and never with household products or hacks as these can cause damage to the finish which would be costly to fix. The quicker you get to ink the easier it is to remove and if the leather has been protected it will also clean off more easily. It is advisable to keep an Ink Remover Pen in your car glove pocket and at home so that you can address the matter quickly. It is not possible to remove ink from Aniline Style leathers as the ink has re-dyed the leather and ink on Suede and Nubuck should always be left to a specialist.
Scratches on Aniline Style leather are usually only surface deep and can usually be treated with Aniline LeatherGuard Protector to help remove them.
Scratches on a finished leather may need to be colour restored and refinished with a matching colour - minor scuffs and scratches can be repaired with a Leather Repair Pen - these are available in any colour.
Spillages and stains
Stain removal will depend entirely on the type of leather and the nature of the stain.
A common issue is head grease which is particularly noticeable on Aniline Leather and appears on the head and arms as dark patches. This needs a Leather Degreaser to resolve the problem and is best left to a technician as colour restoration is often required after the grease has been removed. Regular cleaning and protection can prevent this from happening.
Dye transfer is also a very common problem on pale colour furniture and car interiors. There is a good article here explaining the problem and how to solve it. Cleaning and Protection are the key to preventing this issue.
Remove dirt when dry and brush up nap using a stiff bristle suede brush. Perform quick, light strokes so the bristles get deep into the fibers removing dirt/scum or dust.
Do NOT press too much except if you’re dealing with stubborn marks. Don’t brush on a hard surface – place a towel underneath the shoe.
Always brush the nap of the suede in one direction. For suede with a longer nap, it's better to use a multi-headed brush or crepe brush for extra softness. Another option is the double-sided brush – with a soft-bristled brush on one side and a suede block on the other.
Alternatively, a suede eraser can be used to remove dirt smudges or stains, with which greater pressure can safely be applied.
Alternatively, stains can be removed with a suede solvent cleaner and smooth patches restored with fine sandpaper.
If the nap of your item looks tired and flattened all over, hold it above a gentle steam source for a few seconds and then proceed to brush.
For wet suede, use a sponge or dry cloth to soak up any excess water. Dab gently until the leather is evenly wet. Leave the shoes overnight in a dry, well-ventilated area. Once dry (or while they’re drying) go over the shoes lightly with a suede brush. Note: Never put a suede item next to a heater or through a dryer.