Most carpet cleaners also clean upholstery, at least some upholstery. Many shy away from cleaning leather. There is no reason to miss out on cleaning so much of the upholstery in your client’s homes. The first step to gaining confidence in cleaning leather is learning to identify the basic types. Here is a quick primer.
Leather upholstery will fall into one of three basic types P which stands for pigmented or protected leather, A for aniline and N for Nubuck. Each type is cleaned differently and has different cautions to watch for.
Protected leather accounts for 75 to 80% of leather upholstery in homes and almost 100% of the leather upholstery in automobiles. This is not only the most common type of leather but the easiest to clean.
Over 15% of leather upholstery is aniline leather. There are several variations on how aniline leather is finished, so it has a few sub-categories. For basic cleaning, they can all be treated the same.
Nubuck leather is about 5% of the total. NuBuck has a soft nap and is sometimes called suede although technically it is not the same thing.
Sometimes you can identify the tag simply by a deck tag or looking at the piece. Protected leather is coated with a heavy pigment that hides the natural markings. This is followed by a clear top coat. An artificial grain is embossed on it giving a very even color and grain. Aniline has transparent dyes that could be compared to staining wood. The natural markings still show through.
The feel is another simple method to ID the type of leather you are looking at. Rub the of your hand across the leather. Type P has a slick, rather cool feel. Aniline has a warmer, more natural feel. You’ll feel the velvety nap of a Nubuck leather.
A third ID test is the scratch test. Use a fingernail to scratch protected leather in an inconspicuous area. There will be little or no change unless you happen to scratch a very worn area where the protective coating is worn off. Scratch aniline or Nubuck leather and you will see a definite lighter color.
If you are still not sure, here is a final test. Due this in an inconspicuous area. Rub in a few drops of Hydro-Force Leather Protector. The appearance of protected leather will not change. Aniline leather will get darker but lighten as it dries. (You can use a hair dryer on warm setting blowing area across the leather to speed up drying.) Nubuck leather will get darker and stay darker because the nap will lay down where the protector was applied.
If you would like to know more about getting into leather cleaning, send me an email requesting the Leather Care and Maintenance Procedures Guide. It send a copy back by return email, no charge! email@example.com
You must be logged in to post a comment.