No matter how careful we are to keep food, beverages, and pets away from it, leather furniture will still receive everyday wear and tear. A sometimes unnoticed cause of damage to leather furniture actually comes from your skin.
What Do Body Oils Do to Leather?
Everyone has natural body oils present on their skin. These oils are helpful to your body, but made up of salts, enzymes, and acids that unfortunately can be damaging to leather over time. As body oils build up on leather furniture from daily use, those oils can build up and weaken the fibers of leather. This type of slow accumulation of damage can result in something as small as a dark spot on your furniture to your leather actually cracking and tearing.
How Can I Prevent Damage?
Leather furniture owners who have either already noticed the effects of body oil on their furniture, or who are aware of the potential damage, will likely want to prevent further damage. Generally, the best way to keep your furniture safe is to take proper steps before damage occurs. Preventing problems is often best accomplished through two methods: protection and regular care.
The furniture pieces most likely to incur damage from exposure to body oils are usually couches and chairs, because they are used often, and in many different conditions. If you come inside fresh from the Texas heat and collapse into your favorite chair, your sweat could end up damaging your furniture. Here are some tips for protecting it:
- Covering your furniture is a good way to protect it from body oils. You can use a specially made furniture cover, or go with a simple blanket. You don’t have to cover your entire couch, just the parts that are frequently touched, such as the armrests.
- Using a protection product is also a great way to prevent unwanted damage to leather furniture. Many companies offer such products. For example, Guardsman™ carries Protect & Preserve Wipes for Leather that when used correctly create a barrier against stains and aging.
Another important part of protecting your leather furniture is cleaning it regularly. Not only can cleaning prevent the effects of aging and keep your leather furniture looking new, it can also prevent damage from exposure to body oils. Here are some tips for cleaning leather furniture:
- Make sure to regularly dust leather furniture. Dust can accumulate quickly, especially in furniture seams, and can cause premature wear to the furniture. Use a soft cloth, or purchase a specially made dusting cloth from a reputable company.
- Consider using a leather cleaner occasionally on your leather furniture. This isn’t something that must be done as often as dusting, but it’s still good to do regularly. A product such as Guardsman™ Clean & Renew for Leather should do the trick.
What If the Damage is Already Done?
If you’ve started noticing dark stains on highly trafficked areas of your leather furniture, such as on the seat cushions or headrest, your furniture may already have a build up of body oils on it. In this case, you may have to take some steps to remedy this before real damage occurs.
To get body oil stains out of your leather, you’ll need a serious leather cleaner. Before using a new cleaner on your leather furniture, take some time to look up both the type of leather your furniture is made of, and what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning it. These precautions will help keep you from using something that might accidentally stain or discolor your leather furniture.
In addition, after using a thorough cleaner on leather furniture, it’s a good idea to use a leather conditioner on it. Leather cleaner removes damaging bodily oils from furniture, but also lubricants that occur naturally in leather. A conditioner will help restore the leather’s previous look and feel. As with a cleaner, make sure to check the recommendations for your type of leather before using a new conditioner on your furniture.
For more information about how to protect your leather furniture, or to view a selection of our heirloom furniture pieces, visit Amish Oak in Texas at one of our showrooms in San Antonio or New Braunfels, TX.