How to Identify Which Type of Leather You Have

Leather is the Mercedes of furniture. When properly cared for a by a skilled technician, it should last for many years. There is a lot of confusion over very basic information on cleaning and restoring leather. It is crucial that your technician be able to identify your leather.

As professional leather cleaners, the first question we ask is, “What type of leather is this?”

Types of Leather:

• Analine – – This is the most natural form of leather. Nothing is done to this material; basically what you see is what you get. This is the most fragile type, yet it is also the most beautiful as its natural color and texture are able to be enjoyed and the leather develops a wonderful patina over time. This leather will feel the lightest and smoothest as it has not received any treatment – it will almost feel like a second skin to you.

• Semi-Aniline – This type of leather is one step away from aniline as it is mildly treated before being made into a product, like leather furniture. It receives a light coating on its surface. This coating might alter the color of the leather a little bit, but not much. This leather will feel a little light and smooth, but will not feel heavily treated.

• Protected/Pigmented – This is the most widely used finishing technique. The finish consists of an opaque basecoat of pigmented resins followed by a protective topcoat. The natural color of the leather is completely covered. Therefore, pigmented leather can be identified by its uniform color.

• Nu-buck – This leather is actually Aniline leather that has been sanded to give it a fine, velvety surface. It should not be confused with suede, which is the flesh side of leather.

• Suede – Made from the underside of the animal’s skin. Soft, more delicate, and pliable than nu-buck.

• Wax or Oil Pull-Up – These two related types of leather are called “pull up,” a phrase originally used to describe the effect on a type of leather also known as “Timberland” after that well-known footwear producer made this type of article famous. These leathers lighten when stretched, bent or “pulled up.” They are categorized as natural because they do not have a thick topcoat.

You can determine what type of leather you have with the water drop test:

First, make sure you conduct this test on a hidden, inconspicuous area of the leather.
• Aniline Leather – Water drop will soak into the leather almost immediately.
• Semi-Aniline Leather – Water drop will sit on the surface and then slowly soak in.
• Pigmented (Protected Leather) – Water will sit or bead up on the surface and not soak in.

Once the leather has been identified, then the best course for cleaning can be pursued. Leather should be professionally maintained at least once a year.

Buddy’s cleaning procedures include:

• Cleaning with high quality products made specifically for leather

• Rejuvenating the moisture and fat liquors that have evaporated.

• Application of the proper protection.

Give our office a call at 417.833.1732 if you have any questions about your leather!