Leather furniture care: stupid is what makes stupid
As an expert in leather repair and restoration, I receive emails with photos from people across the country and beyond. Sometimes they look for solutions for rather silly actions that have caused serious damage to their leather furniture. With 30 years of experience inspecting leather furniture, either on site or in my leather restoration studio, I have also witnessed abuse firsthand and hear comments that prove idiocy is an occasional human phenomenon. Here’s a list of my dumbest ten in no specific order, as anyone can take the top spot. Names are removed to protect your reputation.
1. I used my leather ottoman as an ironing board. The leather is totally shrunken and deformed. Can you help me?
2. I saw an article on the Internet that said to use bleach to clean leather. It didn’t work that well. The leather is clean, I suppose, but it’s disintegrating. What I can do?
3. I steam cleaned my leather sofa with the upholstery accessory from my steam cleaner. The leather darkened and seemed to shrink. Please help !!
4. I was practicing my golf swing and poked a hole in the back of my beautiful leather sofa. It was a 6 iron. Is this something you can fix?
5. I had a party and moved my loveseat to my backyard. He had it too close to the barbecue. The entire back of my loveseat went cold. What I can do?
6. My 3 year old son stained my new leather cushion with ink. After disciplining him severely, I tried to remove the ink with rubbing alcohol, as stated on some website. The ink is still there, but the color of the leather is gone. (The customer brought the cushion to my shop. In this case, there was a skin scar on the leather, and as is often the case, the scar tissue absorbed a higher concentration of color making it darker than the surrounding leather, appearing to the customer like a strip of ink. We restore color to the alcohol-affected area. The innocent child is still in therapy.)
7. Arriving at the customer’s home to inspect the leather of a huge new sectional for claimed defects, I noticed a few dozen post-it notes scattered here and there on the leather. The customer applied them to show all “flaws”. After examining the first problem area, I noted that it was not a defect, but a natural characteristic of the leather. She looked confused. I then explained that the cow may have rubbed against the barbed wire, causing the wound, and that the scar is completely healed and not a defect. She said; “What do you mean a cow?” I waved my arm toward the section and replied, “Ma’am, here’s a whole herd of cows.” At that moment he dropped to the ground, sobbing, “What have I done? What have I done?” Turns out she’s vegan and I had no idea the leather came from a cow. Opppps.
8. When I was asked to do a road traffic damage repair at a customer’s home, I came to the scene with my senior technician. The client is a prominent physician and was present upon arrival. He and his designer went to another part of their house to discuss the decoration. With the task finished, I called him and as he surveyed the repaired area, with a look of astonishment he exclaimed, “He’s gone. How did you do it?” I cheerfully said, “We use lasers.” He called his designer to see the repair. When she arrived, he told her, “Look, the damage is gone. They use lasers to fix it.” I had to explain to the shy doctor that I was joking.
9. After carefully restoring a beautiful chair and ottoman at our Hayward store, the customer arrived in a pick-up truck to take the parts home. He inspected the furniture and was delighted with the results. To prepare it for transit, we cover it with plastic and wrap it as is our standard practice. The customer and I load it in the back of his truck. I asked him if he had rope to secure it. He assured me yes. At that moment my office phone rang. I went back to my office to take the call. The customer left quickly. On its way across the San Mateo Bridge, at about 70 miles per hour, the unprotected furniture pretended to be a kite and rose silently from the truck bed, tumbling through the air like a wounded duck. Gravity took over. It flipped, spun, broke and crashed. Death on the road. 45 minutes later, he was back at our store with a badly damaged part, including a broken frame. The cost of repairing the damage exceeded the value of the part. It remains in my store as a relic and testimony to the fragility of the human brain.
10. A customer owns an auto detail store. Your client has a BMW with a leather interior. The auto detailer assigned the interior cleaning task to one of his technicians. Thinking it would be a quick and easy way to clean the leather, he took his trusted motor degreaser and applied it vigorously to all components of the leather. Of course, she took off her colored coat, exposing the rawhide. (Besides, here is a list of other chemicals that supposed experts told our customers would be suitable for cleaning their leather: mayonnaise, acetone, milk, honey, baby oil, detergents of all kinds, soap for car seats. mount.)
Bonus Prize: Client called to say they had cleaned their sofa with 409. Upon completion of the project, they realized that 409 is too aggressive and has severely distorted the color coating. He was shocked and was preparing to sue the manufacturer of 409. His reasoning for the lawsuit was that there was no warning on the label. no for use on leather. When I pointed out that there was no warning about its use on your face either, he didn’t understand the connection. When asked why it didn’t stop after completing a section and noticed the damage, he explained that he thought that when it dried completely it would go back to normal. Duh!
The moral here is to think before you act, and if in doubt, contact a qualified leather restoration professional for advice.