What is Bonded Leather and How to Care for It?
If you are looking to add a luxurious look to your interior, there is no better option than leather furniture. Thanks to its unique natural fiber and characteristics, leather has a rich smell, color, and feel. However, high-quality leather is often prohibitively priced. That’s where bonded leather comes in, which is less exorbitantly priced and not entirely synthetic.
Let’s take a look at what bonded leather is and how to care for furniture made from it.
A.) What is Bonded Leather?
As mentioned, bonded leather is neither fully synthetic nor completely natural (not made of 100% animal hide). It usually consists of a pulp made from shredded leather scraps and leather fibers. After mixing bonding agents with this pulp, it is sandwiched between a fiber cloth and a polyurethane coating.
Finally, a leather-like grain or texture is added to this by dyeing and embossing. The polyurethane coating offers a high-end glossy finish to bonded leather.
Usually, bonded leather comprises 10-20% of leather scraps by weight. However, the natural leather content will vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and geographical location.
B.) Benefits of Bonded Leather
Bonded leather comes with the following three distinct advantages:
Bonded leather is an artificial material. Although it consists of natural leather, it is essentially scrap and forms less than 20% of its contents. Further, the process of making bonded leather is not that difficult. As a result, it is relatively cheaper.
As it uses leather scraps that would otherwise go to the landfill, the process helps recycle a lot of waste. It also reduces landfill waste.
3. Soft to Touch
Although it is not as soft as genuine leather, bonded leather does have an indulgent feel. So, it is suitable for making bonded leather furniture and other accessories such as wallets, purses, and jackets.
C.) How to Take Care of Bonded Leather
Although it is cost-competitive and has soft feel, bonded leather is not as durable as genuine leather. It is also prone to peeling over time. If you want your bonded leather furniture to last longer, you need to take proper care of it.
Here is how you can keep bonded leather in top shape:
1. Wipe with a Clean and Damp Cloth
First, check the tag on the bonded leather furniture to confirm what type of leather it is. Although genuine and bonded leather care is quite similar, you do need to use different materials and processes to clean specific spots and spills.
You can use a clean and damp microfiber cloth for wiping a piece of furniture such as a sofa or a chair. Use warm water to damp the cloth. You need not use detergent or soap. Once you have wiped it clean, use a different dry microfiber cloth to wipe away any moisture left on the surface of the bonded leather. Don’t place the piece of furniture in direct sunlight for drying.
2. Dust Crevices and Seams Regularly
Another way of cleaning is to dust the bonded leather furniture using a dry microfiber cloth or towel. This cleaning method is particularly useful in cleaning furniture that has been collecting dust for a long time. You can also use a disposable duster to remove small particles from the furniture.
Remove large debris stuck in the crevices and seams by hand. Be careful to avoid scratches or deep cuts to the piece of furniture and injuries to your hands when removing sharp debris. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the dust from crevices and seams.
3. Clean Spills as Soon as They Occur
Perhaps the most valuable bonded leather care tip is to clean spills as soon as they occur. Use a soft and dry cloth or a paper towel to blot away the stain.
Don’t rub as it will only spread the stain and may cause bonded leather peeling. After blotting, you can clean the stain with a clean cloth damped with warm water containing a mild detergent, which brings us to our next point.
4. Do Not Use Abrasive Cleaners
Although bonded leather is relatively durable, there’s only so much wear it can take. So, you must avoid using abrasive cleaners and strong detergents when cleaning bonded leather furniture. You can also make mild detergent of your own for cleaning bonded leather.
You can add three-to-four drops of a mild detergent or soap cleanser to one quart of distilled water. As distilled water is free of chlorine, it will not cause any damage to your bonded leather furniture.
Before using this detergent, test it for colorfastness on a small inconspicuous area of the furniture. If the detergent doesn’t cause any damage, such as bonded leather peeling or fading, you can use it for wiping down the furniture.
Use a different damp cloth (free of detergent) to remove excess detergent from every corner of the piece of furniture. You will need a third clean and dry microfiber cloth to dry the surface. Finally, let the furniture air dry in a ventilated area, but avoid direct sunlight.
5. Condition Bonded Leather Furniture
Apart from the regular dusting and cleaning, you must ensure to condition your bonded leather items once or twice a year. Use a good-quality leather conditioner to keep your furniture soft and increase its life.
Clean your piece of furniture with a dry and clean microfiber cloth before applying the conditioner. You can use any of the methods mentioned in this article. Once the furniture is perfectly clean and dry, gently apply the conditioner using a different microfiber cloth. Let the furniture air dry in a shaded area.
Bonded leather is one of the most cost-effective and stylish alternatives to expensive genuine leather furniture. It is also durable and possesses an exceptional softness. However, it does require regular cleaning and conditioning to increase its life and maintain its pliability. Hopefully, the bonded leather care tips mentioned here will help you keep your furniture in excellent condition. Good luck with taking care of your furniture!