Leather is a popular material because it is so tough. Cleaning is easy too, since it can be gently vacuumed and damp-wiped as needed. Accomplish deeper cleaning with a leather conditioner or saddle soap.
Although commercial conditioners are best for large pieces such as sofas, a homemade leather reconditioner (see recipe below) will work well for smaller pieces, such as footstools or chair seats.
Homemade Leather Reconditioner
1 teaspoon of household ammonia 4 teaspoons of white vinegar 2 cups water Mix ingredients together. Apply mixture, dry with a soft cloth, and then wipe on castor oil, using a soft cloth. Rub on leather shoe cream in the appropriate color. Buff well.
- Don't sweat small scratches. They often heal over time, becoming less conspicuous. Any noticeable deep scratches in leather upholstery can be covered with a commercial leather dye.
- Manufacturers sell touch-up kits in the same color as the furniture. (Consider buying one or two kits when you purchase the piece, in case the color is discontinued.)
- If you have several leather pieces, label the kits to avoid confusion. If a touch-up kit isn't available or you've acquired a vintage piece, check with a shoe or leather repair shop for the closest match.
To Lighten Suede
To lighten pale suede that has darkened, purchase a resin bag from a sporting goods store. Pat the bag over the suede, then brush away excess resin with a suede brush followed by a clothes brush.
Adapted from the book, Making a Home, Meredith c. 2001