We asked our trusted leather care tradesman, based in Los Angeles, to share some wise words and tips with us.
What is a quick solution for cleaning up lightly spoiled areas on leather?
“Before you try to clean your leather you have to determine if the leather has a finish that is porous (absorbent to water) or non-porous (resistant to absorption). You can tell by wetting your finger and touching the leather. If it turns dark, (like touching cardboard) it is absorbent. These types of leather should be professionally cleaned as normal cleaners can stain them.
If the leather gets wet on the surface, but does not soak in, the finish is non-porous. This type of leather can be cleaned with a diluted solution of 'Simple Green' cleaner and water. (see ratio below)
1. Wet a terry cloth towel and ring it out well. Spray a diluted mixture of 4 parts water and 1 part Simple Green into the cloth (never spray Simple Green straight on the leather as it can pull color at full strength) and work it in. Use this to gently clean the surface.
2.Wipe/rinse with a separate semi-wet cloth. Don't let cushions dry in contact with each other as this can cause adhesions.
Whatever is cleanable with detergent will lift this way. Solvent borne stains (ink and alcohol) will not. Brush or surfed leather (fuzzy texture) can only be cleaned with a dry abrasive pad, like the kind you find on the other side of a sponge in your kitchen. But a brand new one and use it completely dry. The abrasive pad will comb out the stain from the fibers. Deep stains are out of reach. These must be treated by a pro. That's me!”
Is there an at home way to treat or condition leather items to maintain them over time?
“I’m not a great fan of conditioners. My experience is that leather likes it best if you leave it alone. It is very hard to predict what products will do to different kinds of finishes. The leather has been chemically balanced to be pH neutral. Products can throw this balance off or interact with the finish to make it sticky (Lexol can do this).
Museums conserve their historic leathers by controlling the humidity in the room, not by applying products. Have a pro treat it first and proscribe a care routine to be safe.”
Tips courtesy of the leather care professional:
Leather Care Service
12400 Penn Street
Whittier Ca 90602