Leather lovers know that only with regular and proper care, can leather retain its fascination, wonderfully soft feel and natural beauty. Leather can not regenerate itself (unlike our human skin) and therefore needs our support, in order that it does not prematurely soil, dry out or lose its colour. Therefore, leather furniture requires regular thorough cleaning and care (recommendation: every six months).
Important: First clean, then treat with a care product.
We also wash ourselves before applying moisturisers. It should be the same with leather. First of all it should be thoroughly cleaned. Because only if the pores of the leather skin are free of dirt particles, can the care ingredients be absorbed deep into the leather. Above all, moisture and re-greasing should nourish the leather from the inside, meaning that it is ideally protected against drying out and premature soiling.
A tip: Commercially available “all-in-one” care products are unsuitable for high quality leather furniture. This is because the thorough, pore-deep cleaning process is missed out here – at best you will be forcing the soiling deeper into the pores, or greasy care ingredients will remain on the surface, and find its way into your clothing. For fashion articles made of leather, it is perfectly OK to use care wipes, but fine furniture leather requires professional care.
Tips for proper leather care:
• Leather furniture should be cleaned and treated regularly (recommendation: at least every six months).
• Always treat leather with suitable, professional care products, never with solvent-based cleaners.
• Each type of leather requires individually tailored care products, so take care when making the appropriate selection.
• Always test the application first on an out-of-sight area of the leather. Extra caution is necessary in particular when working with untreated leather.
• Leather needs moisture, so wipe it regularly (lightly) with a damp cloth.
• After cleaning, leather furniture needs a moisturizing treatment, not just re-greasing, in order that it does not become brittle. Therefore, never treat leather with pure grease or wax.
• Never clean the leather with micro-fibre cloths, these may scratch the leather surface.
• When cleaning leather down, always use distilled water to avoid ugly limescale marks.
• Be careful with colour-intensive clothing (e.g. dark denim) and accessories, because these may discolour the leather. Therefore, it is imperative that you protect light leathers with KERALUX® Intensive Protection P.
• Leather furniture should be protected against direct sunlight. Otherwise, the leather may dry out or fade. If sunlight cannot be avoided, treat the leather more often with the appropriate care lotion with light protection.
• Avoid too much moisture and humidity, these can damage leather furniture. Never use too much water when cleaning your leather, only use “slightly damp” cloths. The interior frame is often made of wood and, just like other interior materials, will react with excessive moisture, e.g. to become unstable or spotted with mould (fungal attack). The recommended indoor climate for leather furniture is a relative humidity of 45-50% and a room temperature of 18-20°C.
• In the event of stains, react IMMEDIATELY! In the case of beverage stains, for example, gently soak up the liquid with a paper towel (kitchen roll). Clean down with the appropriate KERALUX® cleaner. Do not apply pressure or the stain will penetrate into the leather.
The demands on suitable care products for high quality furniture leather are high:
They must be able to clean thoroughly and yet gently – without drying out the leather (they may not contain solvents under any circumstances). The degree of re-greasing and moisture in the treatment must be adapted precisely to the respective type of leather, in order to ideally retain the pleasant characteristics, such as soft feel, wax finish, etc. The treatment should include a light impregnation and light protection, in order that the leather can withstand everyday use.
The KERALUX® leather care range from LCK meets these requirements in the highest form and features the right cleaning and care products for every type of leather. KERALUX® is recommended by leading upholstery furniture manufacturers (e.g. ROLF BENZ, COR, Koinor, W.Schillig, freistil ROLF BENZ, Leolux, BRÜHL, Bretz, Dietsch, et al) as the best leather care company.
Because the individual types of leather differ significantly in their material properties, cleaning and care must also be tailored to the specific characteristics of the leather. Why?
Leather lovers appreciate, for example, the open-pored, breathable aniline leather as a wonderfully soft and full-grained upholstery material. Yet it is precisely this naturalness that makes aniline leather extremely vulnerable, which means it needs intensive care. For aniline leather to be able to withstand the rigours of everyday use, it needs to be re-moisturised, re-greased, impregnated and protected from light. In contrast to this, the surface of pigmented, covered leather is finished with a coloured protective coat. As a result, this type of leather is very easy to care for, clean and treat. The right leather care product gives this leather plenty of moisture and less re-greasing, as well light protection and antioxidants for a long life.
You can find this out with absolute certainty by looking for the manufacturer’s precise designation. We have listed all of the most popular leather types used by upholstered furniture manufacturers in our database. Click on your manufacturer in the FURNITURE MANUFACTURERS field above and determine the precise leather designation. You will then be shown the appropriate cleaning and care products specially tailored to this type of leather. Or have a look on the invoice for your upholstered furniture. That usually contains information provided by the manufacturer. Or give your furniture shop a call – they will usually be able to identify the precise type of leather from your sales agreement number.
Myths and untruths surrounding leather care
We are experts in the field of leather care, and we are proud of this. For over 30 years we have been dedicated to the research, development and production of cleaning and care products especially for furniture leather. We have our own in-house laboratory where we test all of the new leather collections from the manufacturers for their care properties. We visit leading German tanneries regularly to learn about innovations in the leather market. And that is why we claim to really know about leather and its demands on care.
Every single day we advise a large number of consumers who contact us with questions about cleaning, stain removal and leather care. And at the same time we keep hearing “insider tips”, which do not result in the objective, but which have mostly made the problem worse. We use therefore this opportunity to open the lid on so-called household remedies and secret recipes for stain removal and leather care.
If we were to make a tally chart of the times we hear about “proven” household remedies, the care tip with Nivea cream would be way out in front. No, you do not need professional care, treating the leather sofa with the popular cosmetic product is very effective. You do not even have to clean the leather first, simply rubbing the cream in is sufficient. Because we are constantly hearing this stubborn opinion, we tested it extensively on various types of leather in the laboratory quite a while ago. And the results underline our expert opinion.
It may well be that in earlier times (and we really mean bygone days) the greasing of thick and robust leather was paramount, because it also acted as a kind of impregnation. Because at that time, this kind of care was used above all for saddlery and shoe care, which had to be suitable for the weather, above all. Leather furniture became fashionable much later. By the time this greasing revealed its long-term harmful effects, the life span of the shoes had already long expired. The positive effect won over.
By contrast, today’s furniture leather can not be compared with earlier vegetable-tanned saddle and shoe leathers. Furniture leather is incredibly diverse. It differs in the type of tanning, the finishing, the processing and much more. Above all, most furniture leathers are thin and slightly to more thickly pigmented, that is to say coated with a layer of colour. If this leather is smeared with Nivea cream, the grease cannot penetrate the leather, because the pores of the animal skin are covered in colour and are therefore impermeable. The grease of the cream remains on the surface of the leather as a greasy “film” and tends to find its way into the clothing of the users. It is also a true fact that fat attacks and destroys the leather surface with frequent use.
And another fact: you usually own a piece of leather furniture for longer than a pair of shoes. Did you know that over time, grease absorbed into the leather can become rancid? Another reason for only using professional care products tailored to the leather.
Unfortunately, many of those who swore by Nivea cream as a leather care treatment suffered the negative experiences described above. So, please do not treat leather furniture with cosmetic body cream.
Treating the leather purely with cooking oil will supersaturate the leather, it can not absorb it. A care treatment always needs moisture as well, in order to be able to penetrate into the leather. Pure oil will just leave a shiny to greasy film on the leather.
Yes, in many a housewife forum, people swear by buttermilk or a mixture of fat-free milk and water. The approach may even be understandable, because the combination of water and fat nourishes the leather quite well. Anybody who enjoys the smell of rancid buttermilk are quite welcome to follow this advice. But we do not recommend it, because the milk will go bad after a few days and the leather will smell rancid.
As with cooking oil, the leather will be supersaturated and have a greasy film if a care treatment purely of beeswax is used. The wax blocks the pores of the leather, meaning that the leather can no longer “breathe”. Beeswax also polishes to a high level, making the leather shiny and very smooth. Repeated applications of beeswax can even lead to greying due to the formation of layers, and the leather will lose its fresh, natural appearance.