As a starting point for looking after your lounge, consider simply wiping your leather lounge down with a damp cloth every time you dust your furniture. This will aid in preventing fine surface dust becoming embedded into your topcoat.
Also be mindful of heat as this too can prematurely dry out your leather. Is your lounge near a ducted heating register? Do you need the warm air coming from that register or can you close it?
Sunlight also can have a fading effect on finished leathers but much more dramatically on aniline and semi aniline furniture. If you can avoid placing your leather furniture in direct sunlight, your leather will remain colour fast for longer.
Finally, remember denim is probably the harshest fabric on leather finishes and will wear your topcoat down the fastest. Consider what you are wearing when sitting on your leather lounge.
In order to gain an appreciation of why we should care for our leather, we need to look at the key factors that play a role in prolonging it’s life.
Like our own skin, leather can become dry and lose its moisture. On average, a leather hide has approximately 25% moisture content in the form of oils and conditioners introduced into it at the time of manufacture. Depending on the temperature and relative humidity of the environment your lounge is in, your leather sofa can lose moisture over time. As this moisture is lost from the leather, the fiber bundles, at a microscopic level, become more compacted, giving your leather a stiffer feel. Your leather cushions were designed to be able to flex, but with the loss of moisture, leather, like our skin, can actually crack.
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution and is measured on a scale of 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline) The pH of a leather hide once it’s been manufactured on average has a pH of 4.5 to 5 (acidic) whereas most cleaners are pH 8+ (alkaline). pH differences on the pH scale are logarithmic, meaning every pH unit has a difference tenfold. For example if you have a leather lounge that has a pH of 5 and choose to clean it with spray and wipe (which has a pH of 8), the spray and wipe is 1000 times more alkaline than your leather. If you use an oven cleaner (pH 12+), the actual imbalance is 10,000,000! Combining an acid with an alkaline will produce salt. Salt actually DRAWS moisture, accelerating the drying out of your leather. Cleaning your leather with a pH balanced cleaner will aid in bringing your leather pH back into balance, so it’s never too late to use a good cleaner that is pH balanced!
General Surface Wear
Abrasion wear on leather is unavoidable. At the manufacturing level, most furniture and automotive leathers have pigmented finish coats on their surface with a final clear topcoat applied for protection. These topcoats have good wear properties and have feel modifiers in them to reduce friction and give a soft smooth feel to the surface of your leather lounge. Unfortunately all surfaces wear with time and this is the time when you need to consider a restoration of your leather furniture. Once a topcoat has been worn away, your leather is much more susceptible to oils, perspiration and alkaline cleaners, accelerating the drying out and decay of your leather. It is also important to apply a conditioning protector that will reintroduce moisture as well as protect your topcoat.