by C.M. Mackenzie
From office chairs to kitchen and dining room chairs, leather seating is beautiful and can maintain its beauty for a long time if cared for properly. All chair seats are subjected to food crumbs, food and drink spills and even perspiration. Removing these substances, especially liquid spills, from leather chairs is essential to prevent fading and damage to the leather. Cleaning and maintaining leather furniture rarely takes much time, if done regularly, and can protect your chairs and other leather furniture for many years.
Keep leather seats free of dust and crumbs. Brush them frequently with a soft brush. Don't brush the furniture roughly, however. Use just enough pressure to remove crumbs from seams and the top of the seat.
Clean spills quickly. Wipe up spills immediately so liquids don't have time to soak into the leather or the seat's seams. Use soft absorbent sponges or paper towels. Follow with a damp cloth (if the spill was any liquid other than water) to remove residue of the liquid. If the spill was something sticky, such as chocolate or soda, add a drop of dish detergent to clean this up and then wipe it with a cloth dipped in clean water -- just make sure to dry the seat well with a towel after.
Use a leather specific cleaner. Clean leather chair seats with a leather cleaner. This shouldn't need to be done very often, even if the chair is used daily. Once every two months is fine, unless the chair becomes very soiled or the chair color shows dirt easily. Most leather cleaners are simply sprayed or wiped on.
Condition leather seats to keep the leather supple. Leather can lose its natural oils, drying out over time. Dry leather is prone to cracking. Applying leather conditioner is easy -- simply wipe the product over the furniture with a soft cloth, working it gently into the leather. Wait for the seat to fully dry before use.
To prevent salt stains, avoid sitting on leather chairs if your clothes are damp for any reason. If salt stains do occur, soak a clean cloth in a solution of vinegar and water (half and half) and wipe it over the seat.
Avoid sitting in the chair with pens, pencils or other sharp objects in your pockets as these may puncture the leather. For the same reason, keep pet nails trimmed if you have pets that enjoy climbing or sitting on furniture.
Do not stand on the seats. Not only is this a safety hazard, but it can also stretch or damage the leather.
Avoid using saddle soap to condition your leather. It can affect the leather's ability to breath, leading to cracking in leather furniture.