"Fine corinthian leather!!"
May 4, 2008 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Please give me your best tips and recommendations for bringing a leather sofa and chair back to life.

A friend gave me a great leather sofa, chair and ottoman. They are in great shape except the leather is very faded and 'light' on the tops of the cushions and ottoman. It has retained its original color on the back and sides. It is still soft but looks like it needs a pound of lard rubbed into it. He says that the set was in the sun and that is why the color has faded on the top.

What can I do to help moisturize and bring the leather back? I've read the previous posts on leather care but they seem to deal with hard, cracking or torn leather. Mine seems supple, just faded and "dry".

What do you suggest? Favorite products? Do they make leather cream that has a tint to it to help restore the color? I browsed the shelves at the Lowe's but got overwhelmed so I thought I would ask for help. I also want something that will soak in so I don't have to worry about getting it on my clothes.

Thanks in advance. Any and all tips appreciated.
posted by pearlybob to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've had good experience with Leather CPR, and the Queen of Clean recommends it.
posted by netbros at 5:24 PM on May 4, 2008

I bought a leather couch from a local furniture store and the store gave me some cleaning and feeding lotions for it (that they refill for free when necessary!). You might want to talk to the staff of a furniture store in your city for advice.

I'm also thinking of shoe polish: maybe you can tray it on a small area. You would have to buff extra hard to make sure that nothing transfer to clothes.
posted by francesca too at 5:43 PM on May 4, 2008

Your best bet in a case like this is to check with a furniture manufacturer, I'd suspect. You may be able to find out who made your set by checking the tags; otherwise, hop online to find a reputable company that advises how to care for their leather products. Some may even be able to recommend a service person in your area. I've had good luck with the people from Mitchell Gold in the past; the link goes to a page on their site about leather care.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 8:28 PM on May 4, 2008

...I would (and pretty much do) just use Dubbin. (The yellowish one. Does give my white shoes a slight tinge - I paint over it.)
It likes to be massaged in :)
When the leather is super thirsty it's a super cheap way to get it even almost up to scratch and then you can go from there with something expensive and what have you.

(It absorbs away to bone dry nothing the first application or three!! in extreme cases... For couches I wear gloves and use the soft side of a dish sponge rather than a cloth!)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 8:28 PM on May 4, 2008

Wipe down with full fat milk or heavy cream.
Use soft dish sponge, do not scrub.

If you really want to re-tint the leather (I wouldn't - leather naturally changes colour and messing with the tint will just make the leather more frail) then please do not try to tint the leather yourself. You should take the furniture to an upholster, get the leather unupholstered, send the cloth to place where they die leather, and have the entire cloth retinted.
That's the best way.

Please do not use shoe polish :/
posted by ruelle at 3:47 AM on May 5, 2008

What sort of leather is it? Is it, for example, a pigmented leather with a poly-urethane surface protectant, or is it a semi-aniline leather with a wax finish? Or is it a fully aniline leather, ie. a very soft, natural, drum-dyed leather without any surface finish at all? (If it's fully aniline, be careful what you try on it, as it is very porous and easily damaged - even by water.) Here's some further information about the main types of leather.

My suggestion, no matter the type of leather, would be to get some "leather wipes" - or Johnson and Johnson Baby Wipes (they MUST be the ones with lanolin) and rub them over the leather while directing some gentle heat with a hairdryer (on a low setting). I have seen this work wonders on aniline and waxed pull-up leather.

Whatever you decide to try, make sure you do it first on some part of leather that you never see, like the underside of the furniture!
posted by hot soup girl at 5:12 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try Lexol
posted by arruns at 4:23 PM on May 5, 2008

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