The effect that cleaning materials have on leather depends on the dying/colouring process, what cleaning materials were used in the past, which tannery handled the leather etc.
The colouring process of leather was changed in approximately 1984, and most leathers are treated in this manner these days. A Polyurethane coating is now applied to leather (does not really penetrate the leather, it rather coats the surface). This coating prevents any product from penetrating the leather and conditioning it. For the same reason, dirt does not really penetrate the leather either, as it is mostly the surface that gets soiled.
The Polyurethane coating consists of approximately 20% resin, 78% solvent and 2% pigment. The coating is applied by spraying it onto the leather.
The best way to clean leather that has been treated this way is:
Soft cloth and water - Should the leather be very soiled, the only other cleaning agent that should be used, is hand soap, or any other soap that is equally as mild. No harsh detergents are necessary, and hard rubbing should be avoided.
Leather is a natural product, and no two skins are alike. Colouring and dyes are added during the manufacture process and durability is dependent on the quality of the tanning process and the base skin. Time, heat and humidity all play a part in ageing natural leather.
Care must be taken when cleaning leather products to ensure the dyes are set and colourfast.
Spray onto a soft cloth and apply. DO NOT spray directly onto the leather or leave it to soak in before wiping off.
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