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.
Suede, the rough undersurface of leather is handsome and more durable than it appears. It should, however, be kept away from sunlight and heat. And, if you live in a dry climate, make sure your indoor air is not excessively dry, which can damage suede.
Find more care tips below.
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.
Quiz: Furniture IQ
Adapted from the book, Making a Home, Meredith c. 2001