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Keeping your leather furniture looking new

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Leather furniture is a true natural wonder. Unlike other fabrics, leather breathes, it wonít stretch out of shape it requires little care to keep it looking new for years to come.

Before we look at how to care for leather, we need to cover a few basics. If you havenít owned leather furniture in the past, know that different types of leather required different levels of care and maintenance. If you are unsure of what kind of what kind of leather you have, either check the manufacturerís tag or contact the dealer who sold you the piece. You donít want to experiment on a major purchase such as leather furniture.

To keep your furniture looking good for years to come, follow these general guidelines:

General care
Keep sharp objects away from your leather furniture. Leather can take a lot of punishment, but it canít survive a puncture. If an object will poke through your skin, it will poke through leather.

Place your leather furniture at least two feet away from radiators and other sources of heat. Heat will dry the leather and make it brittle over time.

Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight and even indirect sunlight if at all possible. Light will cause the dyes to fade over time.
Air pollution such as cigarette smoke and cooking fumes can cause the color to fade or even change shades over time.

To keep your leather free from dust, clean your furniture weekly. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove dust, dirt, body oils and crumbs. Routinely clean the leather with a clean, dry cloth with a mixture of mild soap and water. Donít let the cloth be too damp. Clean the entire surface evenly and lightly to prevent spotting.

At least four times a year clean the entire piece with a quality leather cleaner. It will help keep the leather from cracking too.
Handling spills and spots

All spills should be blotted immediately. Use a quality leather cleaner whenever possible. Leather will initially repel the liquid. But if not removed promptly from the surface, the liquid will eventually start to soak in.

If possible, use a clean cloth or sponge to soak up the moisture. You can also use lukewarm water to gently wipe up a spill if necessary. Remember to clean an entire area, not just the spot. In other words, if there is a spill on a cushion, clean the entire cushion. Dry with a clean towel and air dry.
Butter, oil and grease will absorb naturally into the leather over time. Do not treat these stains with water, soap or leather cleaner. It will only make things worse.

Finally, never use saddle soaps, all purpose cleaners, ammonia water or solvents to clean modern leather. These will damage the finish. Just blot the spot and your furniture should continue to look like new for years to come.