Leather 101: Leather Grading & Care

When it comes to choosing a cover for your favorite sofa, recliner, or loveseat, none is as durable or long-lasting as true leather. However, quality doesn’t come free, and your leather must be cared for correctly in order to withstand its daily use.

As you begin your leather buying experience, ensure you are fully educated on the different grades of leather and their breakdown. Keep in mind, the grade you choose will influence the cost of your furniture as well as its overall appearance.

The 3 Common Grades of Leather

There are three common categories of leather used in high quality furniture, including full grain, top grain, and split grain leather. Let’s break these down:

  • Full grain is what we call pure leather, with only the hair being removed from the hide. Although this is the thickest grade of leather because the hide isn’t split as it is in the other grades, it is also the most natural. This means it will show all the natural characteristics of the hide, from pores to scars and bug bites.
  • Top grain leather is the leather grade we most commonly work with in our store because it is the most versatile. This grade is produced when the leather hide is split into multiple layers and only the top surface layer is used in final leather product. This top grain retains much of its natural characteristics and produces a very high-quality furniture cover.
  • Split grain, another common grade found in our store, is produced using the second and sometimes third cut of a hide after the splitting process. This cut is more affordable than the other two grades, but still produces a very high-quality cover. You will see fewer true leather characteristics in this grain than the rest.

Caring for Your Leather Furniture

When it comes to caring for your newly acquired leather piece, there are several steps you can take to ensure it lasts and maintains its luxurious feel.

  1. Keep free from dust & grime

Dust regularly with a microfiber cloth to remove any built-up dust or other residues that may have settled on your furniture since its last cleaning.

  • Avoid using any harsh chemicals

Do not use any type of soaps or other chemicals on your leather! A small amount of water or a professional leather cleaner will do for tough stains or heavy build up.

  • Condition your leather

Real leather, no matter the grade you choose, is made from animal skin. If you allow your leather furniture to dry out, it can split, crack, or peel over time. Apply a professional leather conditioner with a microfiber cloth to keep moisturized. Go back over your leather with a dry cloth after you’ve finished applying to remove any access residue.

When it comes to regular maintenance of your leather furniture, wiping down every few weeks and conditioning on an annual basis should due. No matter the grade of leather you choose, the proper care of your leather furniture will ensure its beauty for years to come.

Stop into our showroom at 5319 Lake Michigan Drive, Allendale MI 49401 to see the wide variety of leather options we can offer. Start your leather buying experience in the heart of West Michigan at Broene’s Furniture!

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