Frequently asked questions
How should you judge natural leather?
Furniture upholsterers will confirm that natural leather is often identified by slight imperfections, which make it an authentic furnishing fabric for upholstery and reupholstery purposes.
Farmers don’t keep cattle for their hides. They are only interested in milk or meat. Throughout their lifetime cows frequently damage their coats. After all, there’s a lot of barbed wire, which can cause deep cuts, in Western Europe. In North and South America branding is common practice and in Africa cattle are exposed to insect bites and skin diseases.
These imperfections often lead to, usually unfounded, complaints. They actually create an irregular end product, which makes real leather stand out from artificial leather. Each part of the hide has its own structure and lesions, neck folds and scars are an inherent part of a natural product. A fault only occurs when the top layer is split.top
What are the most common types of natural leather?
Various types of natural leather are suitable for furniture and interior upholstery and reupholstery.
Aniline dyes, the pigments of which do not bind, are added to the hides in special tanks giving the hides a transparent appearance. Any blemishes on the leather remain visible, which means that only the best quality and most attractive hides (of European origin) can be used for this type of leather.
It produces the best results in terms of softness and flexibility, which makes it more comfortable and gives it a more exclusive appeal. Although the leather has a very natural feel, its light fastness is generally poor. There is also a risk of dirt being embedded in the grain. Aniline is always a full grain type of leather.
Semi-aniline leather is made of full grain hides. Once the aniline dye has been applied, additional pigmented colour lacquers are sprayed onto the hide, or a blank protective layer is added. The grain remains visible, but small blemishes tend to disappear and the hide is more resistant to dirt. The result is soft, flexible leather that is wear resistant.
Corrected grain leather (pigmented or lacquered)
The hides are coated in a layer of pigment, which seals the grain completely. The colour pigments bond and the grain disappears. In order to correct defects in the top layer, it is often polished and an artificial pattern applied. Coated leather is practical in use and has a high degree of light fastness, but it is less pliable and less breathable.
Wisch leather is corrected grain leather consisting of 2 colours, a very light base colour with a very dark colour sprayed on top. A solvent is used to remove some of the top layer to allow the base layer to shine through. This type of leather is often used for vintage furniture.
Aniline hides are abraded on the grain side with very fine sandpaper. This gives the top layer a lighter colour than the deeper sections. If the hide has first been compressed on a print plate, a specific motif can be created this way. This type of leather is very sensitive to dirt and generally has a low level of light fastness.
A chrome tanned and aniline dyed leather, the underside of which is sanded and then used as the top layer. This type of leather is sensitive to compression.
During the initial processing phase the cattle hides are separated into layers. The bottom layer is referred to as ‘the split’. The upper side of the hide is similar to the underside of grained leather. A pigment layer is applied to the hide to fully close the grain.
An artificial layer embossed with a leather grain is then applied using a roller. This type of hide has to be thicker to give it sufficient strength, but these factors also make it less pliable. Because it is difficult to process the edges the hides need to be trimmed, resulting in sizes of 4 m² or less.top
What is micro leather?
Buvetex Kawa Deus® micro leather is a patented and registered trademark, developed in conjunction with a well-known multinational in Japan.
Kawa Deus® micro leather, a contemporary product incorporating the latest technological developments, is ecologically sound and environmentally friendly. The Kawa Deus® manufacturing process is ISO certified. The manufacturer has been awarded ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environmentally friendly) certification.
Kawa Deus® is ideal for the upholstery and reupholstery of furniture and interiors. It has similar properties to leather and can quite justifiably be referred to as eco leather. Contrary to other artificial leathers, Kawa Deus® does not contain PVC, i.e. no chlorine or other non biodegradable chemicals. Moreover, temperature fluctuations do not cause any perceptible changes (as is the case, for example, with PVC which can soften during the summer and harden in winter).
Another good reason to use Kawa Deus® as a furnishing material? Because it is based on high-quality PU (polycarbonate polyurethane), it is a durable product that does not absorb moisture and has passed an ageing test of minimum 5 years. Kawa Deus® is consequently more hard-wearing than natural leather. Kawa Deus® has a pleasant soft surface, is slightly breathable and has a warm feel.top
How do you maintain natural leather?
Leather is a natural product that requires little maintenance. A quick wipe with a damp cloth is enough – never use aggressive or silicone based products. Use a cloth solely intended for leather maintenance to eliminate any traces of soap, detergent or other solvents. They can damage the leather.
More so than with other furnishing fabrics, sunlight will attack leather and dry it out. That’s why we recommend that leather furniture should never be positioned in bright sunlight or near a heat source, i.e. not too close to a stove, open fire or central heating radiator. Leather can dry out or shrink in places, which could cause cracking. Heat can also distort or crack the wooden framework.
Problem with a stain? Don’t leave the stain to dry out, treat it immediately with a cloth or slightly damp sponge. If the stain still remains visible, it will be absorbed by the leather and gradually fade away.
A number of leather care products are available on the market to maintain leather in a practical and durable way. Leather is a key element of your interior and should be treated with the utmost care.
Always take care with jeans, belts, ballpoint pens, markers, etc. Some jeans or belts are not colourfast so the colour may come off. Leather is porous and could absorb the colorants, making it very difficult to subsequently remove them.top
How do you maintain artificial leather and micro leather?
Furnishing fabrics will last longer if they are properly cared for. Obviously, this also applies to sofa/armchair upholstery made of artificial or micro leather, which also needs to be cleaned regularly. Never let the furniture get too dirty and clean it on a weekly basis. This will prevent artificial leather from being degraded by skin grease and other products such as hairspray, gel, etc.
Remember: artificial and micro leather requires specific treatment. When cleaning your furniture, only use water and a slightly damp (squeeze out excess water) microfiber cloth. Make sure that the cloth is clean and free from soap and/or other detergent residue.
Having trouble removing a stain from the upholstery? Use a mild, PH-neutral type of soap/detergent. Dilute the soap/detergent with water and apply to the stain. Wipe with a clean cloth rinsed in clean water (squeeze out excess) to ensure that any soap residue is removed.
Do not use detergents containing solvents, or maintenance products for leather or artificial leather. They would cause irreparable damage to the material, which would invalidate the manufacturer’s guarantee.
Good to know: our artificial leathers can be disinfected with specific disinfectants. For further information, refer to the test certificates that are included with our products.
Take care with jeans, belts, ballpoint pens, markers, etc. Some jeans or belts are not colourfast and as a result the colour could come off. Artificial leather has a specific texture making it very difficult to remove these colorants.top
How do you maintain fabrics?
Once your furniture has been upholstered or reupholstered, you obviously want to keep it in tip top condition. You should remember that any fabric can discolour under the influence of light, with brightly coloured or dark materials being the most affected. It is advisable, therefore, not to position your furniture in direct sunlight.
Furnishing fabrics can also be sensitive in other ways. Don’t allow children to play on your furniture with their shoes on. Buckles and heels can permanently damage the fabric. Do not allow your pets to scratch the upholstery or to lie on your furniture.
Be careful when cleaning furniture upholstery, as the fabric guarantee will be voided following treatment with a dirt-repellent coating. Regular weekly cleaning with a vacuum cleaner normally suffices. Use the soft brush attachment to prevent damaging the fibres. Use careful strokes and always follow the direction of the pile. This will remove any dirt particles that might cause wear and tear. Stains that do not disappear during regular maintenance can usually be removed with water and (neutral) soap/detergent.top