Frequently Asked Leather Questions
Q: What’s the best quality leather?
A: Often the most expensive leather is not the “best”. Pure aniline leathers are the most expensive because of the rarity of the hides. Only the top 5% of hides can be tanned to this level. However, if durability is your primary concern, you should examine a less expensive and more finished leather.
Q: Don’t the best leathers come from Italy?
A: There are many tanneries in Italy that produce a large quantity of upholstery grade leather, but the cows themselves come from all over the globe. Italian leather is a misnomer.
Q: Why is leather so expensive?
A: Leather cannot be woven or grown or created. It is a natural product. Very few hides meet the requirements for upholstery leather. Also, manufacturing leather sofas is a time-consuming, labor-intensive business, and each hide must be cut individually. These two factors contribute to its higher cost, but keep in mind; a good leather sofa can last up to seven times longer than most fabric sofas. Leather wears in, not out.
Q: What does the term “Full-Aniline” mean?
A: Full Aniline is a term used in the furniture industry to describe the most natural and most expensive leathers. Technically, aniline dying is a process used to color hides. Full-aniline or pure aniline means this is the only process the hide has undergone. It is the most expensive product due to its rarity. Hides of this quality tend to come from the Scandinavian countries due to their climate and farming practices.
Q: I have kids and pets, what is the most durable leather?
A: The answer to this question depends on your expectations. If you expect superior clean-ability and durability, then a protected or pigmented product is probably best for you. However, if you want a Natural product, don’t let an uneducated salesperson convince you that you can’t have it. You just need to understand the characteristics of your purchase. Natural leather will patina from use and oil spills, however, water based spills can be wiped off easily if done in a timely manner. Natural leather can be cleaned with a mild soap and distilled water. Surface scratches can usually be massaged lightly with distilled water and worked out.
Q: How do I care for my new leather furniture?
A: Please refer to the care instructions from the manufacturer. In general, spills should be attended to immediately. For light spills, always use distilled water and a clean cloth. Blot, do not rub. Try to lift the spill off, not grind it in. Most stains will disappear with time as they dissipate into the leather.
Q: What do you recommend for minor scratches?
A: If leather has been conditioned and maintained, it should be more resistant to scratches. Most light scratches can be massaged with clean fingers. More serious surface scratches might require moistening with distilled water and then massaging with a clean cloth. For deeper scratches inflicted with a sharp object, consult a leather expert for possible repair.
Q: I have a bright sunlit window. Will my leather fade?
A: Heat, and/or sunlight, and time can affect all natural substances especially if not properly maintained. Excessive exposure can fade and dry out leather upholstery. A more protected, lighter color would be more resistant in this environment.