It is crucial to protect all leather from new. This can be done yourself with Ultra Protect
or you can purchase Leather Protection Plans where a specialist leather technician will come to your home and show you the correct way of looking after your individual leather and protect it for you.
This will help to make your leather easier to look after and give you peace of mind that you can use your leather as it is intended.
Leather cleaning should be simple and quick with the correct methods and products.
Maintenance cleaning of leather is the best way to keep leather clean, protected and in good condition and can be done by using a simple spray and wipe product such as Lazy Leather - this type of cleaning should only take 5-10 minutes on the contact areas and if used on a very regular basis will reduce the need for very in depth cleaning which is what takes the time and effort and is generally done with 2 products.
Use a lint free white cloth for cleaning by this method so that you can check dirt levels as you are cleaning.
If you are deep cleaning always use a foam cleaner as this will be safe and you can give it good dwell time to do its work. Use a stiff bristled brush (like a kitchen brush) to get the foam down into the grain pattern to do its job (Do not use it to scrub the leather but for gentle agitation)
If you use a leather protector after cleaning it will help to make the cleaning process easier next time as the dirt will sit on the protector rather than on the finish of the leather and so will be easier to remove.
For general rules on cleaning leather furniture:
Using household products, cheap supermarket cleaners and 'old wives' remedies are very short sighted when it comes to cleaning and caring for leather and can become very costly in the long run as problems they generally cause will be costly to put right. (although it does keep people like ourselves busy as we rush round fixing problems caused by using the wrong things!!!)
Firstly check the type of leather you have so that you understand the results that are possible:
For deep cleaning leather you need to use a good quality water based foam leather cleaner. (LTT Leather Shampoo) With light coloured leather dye transfer from clothing can be a problem although using a good quality leather protector (LTT Leather Protect) will help inhibit this.
For dye transfer (which can be a real problem on pale coloured leathers) and ingrained dirt you may need a much stronger cleaner like Strong Cleaner or Maxi Cleaner (this should be used with caution)
DO NOT use anything containing oils, waxes or silicones. (Most 'conditioners' contain waxes or oils) and furniture polish (pledge) contains silicones which will eventually destroy the finish on the leather. Most car cleaners also contain oils or waxes so should not be used as they leave residues on the surface of the leather which attract more dirt which eventually leads to cracking.
BABY WIPES are the worst thing you can use as they will destroy the finish on your leather. This has been verified and proved to be the case. They are actually a very strong product and this is why they break down the finish. Leather is not like skin and should not be treated as such.
Saddle soap should never be usd on upholstery leather or garments it is meant for saddles which are very different from todays finished leathers.
A lot of leather wipes contain chemicals which will also destroy the finish or leave residues on the leather which will damage it. They are not cheap in the long run as you would need a lot to clean. Using wipes puts a lot of product on the first panel that you clean and then gradually gets less and less as you move around the furniture so you need a lot of wipes to clean the whole suite which works out far more expensive than using a proper cleaner which will also give better results.
Fairy liquid contains more salt these days to get dishes clean and this will break the finish down on your leather. This has been verified by the manufacturers (as with the baby wipes).
Magic Erasers should not be used unless you are going to renew the finish on you r leather. We have tested these recently and they sand away the top finish on the leather.
Lux flakes (although they used to be a good thing to use) now contain ingredients that will damage the finish on the leather and cause it to peel off like a skin (we have seen these happen hundreds of times at customers who have been ill advised by shops)
You should also follow cleaning with a good water based leather protector which will act like a 'scotchgard' and inhibit dirt and stains from being absorbed and make them easier to clean