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How-to Identify Leather

Posted on May 4, 2017

by Furniture Clinic

There are many different types of leather available, each with its own unique look and feel. 

Use the chart below to easily identify the type of leather used on your furniture or car interior to ensure you choose the correct products when cleaning or restoring them.

Before you start! Pour a drop of water onto an undamaged area of leather and rub it in with your finger. If the leather darkens and the water soaks in, the leather is absorbent.

So, how do you care for these types of leather?

We can break down the different types of leather into categories, each containing a group of leathers with similar characteristics and care procedures.

Unfinished Leather

This category includes:

These three types of leather are extremely absorbent as they have very little to no lacquered finish applied. Absorbent leathers tend to be more difficult to care for as they stain and mark easily. However, this can be avoided by regularly applying a Leather Protection Cream

As the majority of aniline leathers are dyed and no finish is applied, colour fading is also an issue. Pull up leathers are better than aniline leathers for maintaining their colour but still need careful maintenance.

If the colour has already started to fade, use our Leather Recolouring Balm.

Finished Leather

This category includes:

The leather types in this category all have a lacquered finish so are a lot easier to clean and maintain. 

Looking at a semi-aniline leather through a magnifying glass will look quite similar to an aniline but you will notice a thin pigmented coating covering them. 

Although a finish is applied, regular cleaning is a must to keep the leather in top condition. For a quick wipe-down, a damp cloth is enough, but typically furniture and car interiors will need a more thorough clean using specialist cleaning products every 2-3month, followed by a leather protection cream. 

Save 20% when you buy our Leather Ultra Clean and Leather Protection Cream as part of a bundle. 

To restore the colour of finished leathers, we recommend you use our Leather Colourant Kit.

* Rub off leathers have a top coat of lacquer that is very weak which means that when you clean it, the black top coat may easily wear away exposing the brighter colour beneath. Be careful when dealing with this leather type. If this occurs, use our Antique Finish Kit.

Nubuck & Suede

These leathers have a nap texture and no top coat finish applied which makes them incredibly absorbent, prone to staining and very difficult to clean!

We have developed highly effective products for both cleaning and protecting items made from suede and nubuck leathers. Our Suede & Nubuck Cleaner offers powerful cleaning with an innovative foaming action, that ensures amazing results and uses less product when cleaning, saving you money.

To protect your items; our Suede & Nubuck Protector is specifically formulated to repel dirt and all water and oil based staining from the surface of any suede or Nubuck item. This incredibly durable barrier gives you complete piece of mind and significantly extends the life of your items.

Contact us...

If in doubt, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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