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Leather Care

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Leather is an amazing natural material that humans have used and benefited from for thousands of years. The leather industry is one of the oldest in human history, and we prize this material above others, often paying more for leather items because of the sense of luxury it brings.

However, to keep it at its best, we need to look after it. And that's where the The Leather Colour Doctor excels, with a premium range of leather care products.

We also love to share our passion for leather, providing advice and information to our valued customers.

So, to discover more about the Leather Colour Doctor's specialist leather cleaner range, along with tips on keeping your leather items in good condition, read on.

It's easy to forget that this material is animal hide (usually cowhide). There are different tanning processes, but essentially, all leather is the same; a fibrous organic material. It is incredibly durable but has its limits.

Direct sunlight affects it adversely (as it does our own skin), as the UV rays cause natural oils to evaporate, drying out the surface. Eventually, this begins to crack, leaving your leather looking worn and past its best.

In addition, there's a good chance that your leather goods face the rigours of daily use, particularly if it is covering chairs, sofas or car interiors. Spills, scratches and bodily oils add to the problem, and before long your lovely leather items require some TLC.

Now we know what this wonderful material goes through, what can you do about it?

The Leather Colour Doctor has the perfect solutions! We'll explore some others further along, but first, we'll look at how to cure faded leather.

Leather Restoration Kit

When humans neglect or abuse their skin, it becomes dry and rough. We spend millions every year on lotions and creams to hydrate and moisturise our skin and keep the wrinkles away as it ages.

Leather is, essentially, skin. It needs care and attention to stay healthy and soft, which is why our restoration kit is perfect for the job.

This three-step kit is easy to use and will soon have your sofas, car interiors, shoes, handbags etc. looking great and prevent further damage:

Step one: Leather Cleaning Fluid

This water-based leather cleaner is non-toxic and specifically designed to clean grease, grime and deeply embedded dirt. It easily cleans leather that has become ingrained with dust and dirt.

Use a soft-bristle scrubbing brush to apply a small amount of the fluid to the leather and rub it in firmly but without using too much force until it begins to foam. Leave it for a few minutes for the surfactants to break down grease and dirt, then gently wipe it away with a soft cloth and leave it to dry.

The cleaning fluid has a pleasant, fresh aroma and was originally formulated in the 1970s for the world-renowned Gliptone car leather care company, and has been acclaimed by industry professionals and enthusiasts worldwide, so you know it's a product you can trust.

Step Two: Leather Restorer

For the second step, a wax balm leather restorer is applied, using a soft clean cloth to move across the surface of the leather in a circular motion. Pay special attention to well-used areas or parts that have been faded by UV rays.

Repeat this action until you are satisfied with the result, then buff the leather to achieve an appealing sheen.

Step Three: Leather Protection Cream

The final stage is considered the most satisfying by many of our customers. Why is this?

Our leather protection cream feeds and protects whilst reinstating the luxurious leather aroma that we all love!

In addition, it guards your leather items against fading due to exposure to sunlight and forms an invisible barrier against spills, stains and grime.

Apply this wonder cream thinly in a circular motion using a soft cloth. If your leather is light-coloured or aniline* leather, it's advisable to apply two coats.

*See the section below on different types of leather for more information

Leather Colour Doctor's leather protection cream is suitable for all kinds of leather items, including your leather sofa, jacket, shoes, handbags and car interiors.

Each kit contains enough to cover a three-piece suite or a full set of car seats. Bear in mind that this specialist product is for leather restoration only. If you want to revitalise or change the colour, check out our superb range of leather dye kits and leather colour restorers.

It depends on the severity of the damage. General wear and tear, including small holes, burns, scratches and cracks, can usually be repaired, but deep splits and tears will probably require specialist attention.

For lighter damage, the Leather Colour Doctor's leather crack filler and scratch repair paste is perfect for the job.

As with all our products, it's easy to use:

  • Use a spatula to apply in thin, even coats.
  • Allow the paste to dry naturally between coats, or use a hairdryer to speed up the process, but you need to let each layer cool and harden before adding the next.
  • Repeat until the damage is adequately covered, then allow to dry completely.
  • Lightly rub it down with fine-grit sandpaper (800 grit is best).

If required, at this stage you can choose to restore the original colour or use a leather dye to change the colour completely.

Be sure to check out the Leather Colour Doctor's impressive range of colour restorers and leather colour kits. You might also consider using a leather conditioner, scuff-resistant sealer or leather protector to preserve your treasured item and keep it looking great.

Leather Finish Sealer

This is a great investment for homes with small children or pets, as the risk of dents, holes and scratches from claws, paws and all manner of objects is greatly increased.

It can be applied as a top coat over leather dyes and is available in a clear gloss, satin, matt or flat matt finish.

This handy product provides a scuff-resistant water-resistant shield, preventing stains and reducing the risk of damage. It also protects the leather and enhances its tones, and prevents colour transfer (where the dye rubs off ).

Again, it depends on what caused the stain and how bad it is. Of course, dark leather hides stains more easily, whereas lighter colours don't always fare as well, especially when red wine or ink stains are involved.

Even so, most stains can be removed using the Leather Colour Doctor's leather cleaner.

Of all the leather goods you might own, a leather sofa is probably most at risk of staining, whether it's dropped food and drink, nail polish or ink stains from the pen you forgot was in your pocket.

It's best to treat these immediately, though it's wise to steer clear of most home remedies suggested online (see the leather care tips section below).

If you value your leather goods, whether sofas, jackets, or car interiors, you know that it deserves the best leather cleaner.

The Leather Colour Doctor's leather cleaning solution is ideal for this job, and you can see how easy it is to use in the section above about our leather restoration kits.

You can reduce the risk of stains spoiling your leather furniture or other items by applying a leather protection cream and stain guard, leather conditioner or leather degreaser, as these will prevent spills from being absorbed, making the process of removal much easier.

There are three possible causes of white deposits on leather, depending on the types of leather involved and the conditions they are exposed to.

We'll deal with these separately to give you a better understanding, and offer a solution at the end:

Fatty Spue/Spew

Either spelling is acceptable, and it has nothing to do with feeling nauseous!

This appears as white bloom, usually on gloves, handbags and clothing. It is rarely seen on leather car seats, shoes, or leather furniture.

Fatty spue is caused by residual fats (which is why it is sometimes called fatty bloom) within the leather that react to different levels of humidity and changes in temperature. These are occasionally present naturally, or they could be oils that were added during the tanning process to rehydrate the leather.

These fats and oils eventually rise to the surface, leaving a waxy white patina that is often mistaken for mould.

Although any leather can be affected, it is most likely in new leather goods that have travelled long distances (for example, in shipping containers from Asia and the Far East). The goods are wrapped in plastic, which traps humidity, causing the fats to appear.

Old leather that's been treated with wax-based care products is also likely to experience this fatty problem.

Salt Stains

Salt is used in the tanning process and these rise to the surface of wet leather, leaving white powdery crystals. It looks similar to the fatty residue mentioned above and often appears at the same time.

Sweat adds to the problem, as does the salt used to grit the roads and footpaths in winter, as this sticks to leather shoes and boots where it gets absorbed into the leather fibres.


When leather gets wet and is stored without being dried, moisture seeps into the porous surface. The same happens if you keep leather goods in humid conditions. Mould spores and bacteria present in the air (or the water that the items come into contact with) start to grow within the leather, forming a white bloom.

You might also notice an unpleasant musty smell.

What Can You Do About These Problems?

It's a good idea to determine whether it really is fatty spue, salt deposits or mildew, mainly as it helps you to understand what is going on and help you to avoid the issue in future.

The easiest and quickest way to do this is to run a hairdryer over the item; fats will melt and disappear almost instantly (but only temporarily!), whereas mildew and salt will remain unchanged.

In most cases, the issue of mildew can be fixed. However, it can permanently damage the leather if it's left too long.

The Leather Colour Doctor Has The Answer

If you have any of these annoying issues, the Leather Colour Doctor has just the thing: white bloom remover.

To treat fatty spew, simply apply a thin layer with a clean cloth, rubbing it into the surface in circular motions, then leave it to penetrate the leather. Repeat this process if necessary to ensure that the white bloom is completely removed. As with all products of this nature, it's wise to test a small amount on an inconspicuous area first. However, our specialist leather care products are generally safe for all leather types.

For salty deposits and mildew, wipe the item down with a damp cloth first, then apply the white bloom remover as above. Avoid sitting on wet leather sofas you have just cleaned until they are completely dry.

This excellent leather care product not only removes all traces of white bloom from your leather but also actively prevents it from appearing again.

Once the white bloom remover has dried, we highly recommend that you apply our leather protection cream to further prolong the life of your leather items and keep them looking amazing.

No, there are five basic types of leather:

  • Genuine leather – all real leather is 'genuine', but this type can come from any layer of the animal hide. It is buffed or sanded and is most frequently used for clothing, belts and shoes.
  • Bonded leather – this is made from a collection of leather scraps that are bonded with latex and is likely to be used as a filler. The amount of leather present in the mix can vary between 10 and 90%, so you have no guarantee as to the quality of the material.
  • Split-grain leather – taken from the lower layers of the hide after it has been split (hence the name), this material is more flexible, but not as tough and durable as top-grain or full-grain leather. However, it takes embossing and colours exceptionally well and is a valuable asset for making sofas, footwear, purses and accessories. It is also used to make suede leather.
  • Full-grain leather – this is considered the highest quality, taken from the outer layer of the hide. It is most often used for upholstery, saddles, and footwear. Subtle marks on the surface are common, and these are a sign that it is the real thing rather than imperfections.
  • Top grain leather – very similar to full-grain, but sanded to remove imperfections and make it easier to shape and dye. You'll find this mostly used for high-end handbags, watch straps, wallets and footwear.

What Is Aniline Leather?

Essentially, it is another name for full-grain (and occasionally top-grain) leather that has had minimal processing. You can also find semi-aniline leather, which is similar to aniline but has the addition of a thin protective layer.

This type of leather is the most natural and is highly prized, often reserved for the best quality goods.

Chrome-Tanned Vs Vegetable-Tanned Leather

These two leather types relate to the tanning processes that are widely used in the leather industry, but what's the difference?

Between 80 and 95% of all leather on the market is chrome-tanned. Tanners cure the hide with chromium sulphate to preserve it, producing a tough, water-resistant and stain-resistant leather. It is also more heat-resistant and needs less maintenance, but the process is not as eco-friendly as vegetable-tanned leather.

The tanning process only takes a couple of days, and the finished product is soft.

While vegetable-tanned leather is more natural (using tannins, often from tree bark, leaves, or fruits), it takes around two months to cure, making it a much more expensive procedure. The finished product is much tougher than chrome-tanned leather to begin with, and tends to soften with age and use. It also takes on a pleasing patina but is generally not as water-resistant as chrome-tanned leather.

Fabrics and modern leather alternatives just don't have the same appeal or that luxury leather aroma.

You can ensure that you keep your leather goods in good shape for years to come by investing in the leather care range from the Leather Colour Doctor (see the full range on our website), but with a little effort, you can protect leather sofas, clothing, footwear or handbags from the worst effects of the sun, wear and tear, and the daily trials of family life.

Here are some examples:

  • Regular dusting. A weekly wipe with a dry cloth (ideally microfibre) will keep your leather dust-free. You can also use a damp cloth but there are precautions (see below).
  • Never use furniture polish! The chemicals in most furniture polish brands (particularly 'budget' ones) will dry it out and harden the surface, eventually causing it to split and crack. No matter what advice you see elsewhere, furniture polish and leather don't mix.
  • Use distilled water. If you use a damp cloth to wipe down your leather furniture to remove dust and dirt, distilled or pure water is better than tap water. Tap water often contains chlorine that can damage the surface of the leather.
  • Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming your leather furniture can leave scratches, so be sure to fit an attachment with a soft brush to reach those creases and hidden corners.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. It's not always possible or practical, but keeping a leather couch out of the sun will stop it from fading.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen. It's almost inevitable that someone will spill something on your leather sofa, car seats, or jacket. The longer you leave it, the more likely it is that your leather will be stained.
  • Ignore home remedy suggestions. Many websites make bold claims about lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda, but although they can work well in some cases, there's a real chance that they'll damage delicate leather and dry it out.

Although these tips will help, the Leather Colour Doctor can increase the lifespan of your leather goods with our excellent leather care range. Regular care and attention will stop dirt from accumulating and will keep the leather supple, particularly with our leather conditioner.

Leather has many benefits over most modern synthetic alternatives, and nothing really comes close to the sense of comfort and luxury it offers.

Leather has many excellent qualities, but one feature people love is the real leather smell. While our selection of professional-quality products restores this to an extent, we've gone one step further to help you, with our leather scent fragrance mist spray. Within a few seconds, your old items take on their original leather aroma! A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly to evoke a warm sense of nostalgia.

We all want our leather items to last as long as possible, and you can give yours the best chance of a long life using Leather Colour Doctor leather care products.

Our full range of exceptional quality creams, including leather cleaner and leather conditioner, will ensure that your treasured items retain their appeal for years to come. You've invested in them for a reason, and it makes good sense to look after them.

And with the The Leather Colour Doctor, your leather goods couldn't be in better hands.


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