San Diego Union Tribune
Keep your leather furniture looking brand new

By Rosemary Sadez Friedmann
SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

October 24, 2004

Leather furniture is an investment, so good maintenance is important.  

Here are some do's and don'ts:

Avoid seemingly harmless cleaners such as oil soap; it will stain and darken
the leather. And mild soap, though gentle on dishwashing hands, will not only
remove the dirt, it might just remove the color on the leather as well. Saddle
soap might be good for that catcher's mitt, but steer clear of using it on leather
furniture.

We can use mild soap on our skin because our skin is still alive and will
produce more oils that have been washed off with soap, while the leather sofa
does not have that ability. Eventually the leather will become brittle, dry and
damaged. Why not wash with soap and then apply oil? Because the oil will stain
the leather.

Many leather-cleaning products are made for shoe leather; fewer are available
for the soft, subtle, luxurious leather that is used for furniture. General wear and
tear alone will microscopically break away at the surface. If we don't add help on
our part, or if we use the wrong cleaning solutions, the leather will not age well.

So we are still left with the question of how to care for leather. To start with, avoid
placing the furniture in direct sunlight. Virtually nothing is safe for long in the light
and heat of the sun. And avoid extreme temperatures that would cause leather
to dry and crack. Do not place leather next to air conditioners or radiators; this
will increase drying.

If something should spill, blot it up quickly using absorbent, clean terry cloth
towels or paper towels. If grease or oil should be spilled, use talcum powder or
baking powder to help absorb it. There are specific furniture leather cleaners
available from upper-end furniture stores as well as from some manufacturers
of leather furniture.

If leather furniture is brand new, protect it right off the bat with a professionally
applied leather protector. There are products available for do-it-yourselfers on
the after-market also. If the furniture is older, have it cleaned professionally and
then apply the leather protector. Keep the furniture free of dust and occasionally
wipe with a barely damp cloth.
Do-It-Yourself Leather Repair Kit: Does It
Work?

August 27, 2002

By Connie Thompson
 


SEATTLE - They've been advertised for years and clearly someone's buying
them, but how well do those do-it-yourself leather and vinyl repair kits really
work?

The ads make it look like you can repair torn leather and vinyl so that the tears
are barely noticeable.

The product costs $35.50 including shipping and handling. So we decided to
order one and have KOMO viewer Kari Cantey test it out.

The goal was to repair a rip in a red vinyl purse. The product's colored adhesive
compounds are supposed to seal the damage.

The instruction say "Apply compound into and around the damaged spot,
blending it in with the natural surface."

Then, take the provided heat transfer tool and hold it against a home iron for 3
to 4 minutes.

"When it is hot, immediately place metal tip on the grain paper atop the X,
moving in a circular motion," the instructions continued.

Different grain papers are provided so you can match the grain of the item
being repaired.

The heating tool bonds the compound to the vinyl or leather and helps it cure.

Kari did her best to follow the instructions, but it didn't work.

"I definitely think I could've done more heating," she said. "Maybe that would've
helped."

So, to make sure we're giving it a fair shot, we went to a professional -- Mark
Allen, the owner of European Leather Repair in Bothell.

First, Mark used the repair kit to mend a tear in an old leather seat cushion. He
says if Kari would have glued a piece of cloth backing behind the purse tear
she might have gotten better results.

And that little heat transfer tool in the kit -- it doesn't get hot enough.

Mark used the electric heating tool that came with the kit instead.

But it still didn't repair the leather tear, because the leather was too old. Mark
says the grain papers are too stiff to get a good connection with old tough and
cracked leather, so the color compound can't cure properly.

So we asked Mark to try using the repair kit on a vinyl briefcase, and here we
had better luck.

"Well, the repair compound did pretty well," he said.

The color doesn't match, but there's no tear.

Mark's verdict: You may be able to fix some tears, but don't bet your hopes up
too high.

"You would probably have to repeat the repair process 2 or 3 times before you
finally had a feel for how all of this works, and by that time you'd run out of
material," Allen said.

Mark says our kit would work best with small repairs that are not in a stress
area -- like a seat cushion. Also, unless you're dealing with black, expect
matching colors to be difficult, and no matter what you're repairing, don't expect
it to look like new. Even experts have a tough time with that.

Mark says as a leather repair exert, he's seen a lot of attempts to make
repairs with do-it-yourself kits -- usually after people bring him their
damaged furniture to fix what they could not.
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News
ALR  / Advanced Leather Repair Launches No Bull Leather
Advanced Leather Repair / Mobile Leather Service have combined
forces with the leading leather restoration companies in the country to
create and introduce
The No Bull Leather Cleaning and Treatment 2
part system.
 These Leather Care products are uniquely designed and
engineered for results. The cleaner when used correctly will pull soil out
of the deep crevices of your leather while correcting the leathers pH
balance and preparing it for the amazing No Bull Leather Treatment.
This incredible deep conditioning  product will also moisturise the
leather,  add stain resistance and protect the surface of the leather from  
premature color loss and wear. "Our customers ask all the time what
they should be using to clean and conditioning their leather.".  Quite
frankly we have never been comfortable with whats out there". "No Bull is
a safe easy to use solution for the leather furniture owner. "The
conditioner or treatment is a really sophisticated product". "we are on the
front lines helping people maintain there old leather and preventing
some of the newer leathers from premature wear". The makers of No Bull
our so confident in their product you can return it for a full refund if not
fully satisfied. They are also planning on backing up the product with
email customer support.
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