Taking care of your leather furniture involves cleaning it often, and making sure it is well moisturized and shiny. Many of the leather cleaning products on the market can really keep your furniture clean, but sometimes, especially with certain types of leather, you have to resort to other cleaning methods. Dry cleaning leather is one of the best ways to clean it.
When you dry clean something, you are cleaning it without water. This is done through the use of a waterless cleaner, which is created by combining a solvent and heat. This combination lifts dirt and stains off the material being cleaned. Since leather is sensitive to water, and is actually easily damaged when soaked in water, dry cleaning is ideal.
Dry cleaning removes dirt, odor, water stains, and mildew stains for as long as it hasn't permanently damaged the skin. This means that your furniture is left very clean, as clean as when you bought it. A professional dry cleaner can even color correct faded spots, and address mild oxidation. If you have several stains on your leather, be sure to inform your dry cleaner what the stains are. Some substances are corrosive towards leather, and dry cleaning can exacerbate this problem. Telling them ahead of time will give them a chance to remove the stains through other means before dry cleaning the rest of the piece.
Though dry cleaning can be done at home, given the right tools, it is important to remember that you are working with chemicals. Some of these chemicals are harsh on the human nose and skin so you have to protect yourself very well. Some of chemicals are considered environmental pollutants, and you have to be wary of these too. Always keep in mind that you run the risk of ruining your leather furniture if you make a mistake while cleaning. Finally, if you choose to dry clean at home, remember to air out the material well after cleaning. This will make sure that the chemicals are completely evaporated and will not affect you or your family.
The downside to dry cleaning leather is that the process removes the “plugs” (fillers manufacturers put to hide defects in the skin) and exposes the hair holes. It may also tear weak skins or cause overstretched skins to shrink back to what it really should be. This is a risk you have to take if you want a really clean leather piece. Just be honest with a professional dry cleaner about your piece, and they should be able to work with it and give it back to you looking brand new!