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Factors that cause your leather furniture to get damaged and how to remedy them

January 09, 2023 4 min read

Factors that cause your leather furniture to get damaged and how to remedy them

Purchasing a brand-new leather sofa suite may be on your bucket list for 2023. While leather is a sought-after material that is versatile, widely used and available in many types, it is not immune to deterioration. Leather sofas are prone to daily wear and tear, and may dry out, crack, tear or over time may experience a fade in colour. Many factors contribute to the deterioration of your leather sofas. These include a lack of proper leather care and a lack of awareness of the things that cause the leather to get damaged.

These are some factors that impact your leather home furniture items:

Damage due to body oils and perspiration from your skin being absorbed into the leather.                                                    Your body produces oils and sweat frequently, each time you have a seat on your leather sofa these oils and sweat are transferred onto the surface of your sofa. As time goes by the accumulation of these oils and sweat can cause discolouration of your leather home furniture and can eventually lead to cracking and peeling of the leather. The most affected areas of your sofa will usually be areas in which your skin makes contact with the sofa such as on the headrest or armrest. This type of damage, due to body oils and sweat, is more likely to occur in recliner sofas as your neck is more exposed when you are in a reclined position.

Caring for leather is very similar to caring for our skin, seeing as leather itself is a skin, regular cleaning and conditioning of your leather sofas can aid in preventing damage due to sweat and oils from your body being absorbed into the leather.

Colour Fading

Over time and due to exposure to light and heat your luxurious leather sofa can fade, especially in areas where there is exposure to direct sunlight. In addition, if your sofa is placed near a fireplace, it can cause the colour of the leather to fade due to the intensity of the heat, which will also cause the leather to become dry.

Some preventative measures to aid in avoiding colour fading on your leather sofa are to avoid placing your sofa in direct sunlight or within your sunroom, near a fireplace or any source that allows for direct heat and light to reflect onto your leather sofa. If your leather sofa is situated in a room that is exposed to sunlight occasionally then repositioning your sofa regularly or covering your windows with curtains or blinds, can aid you to ensure that the colour lasts a little longer. Colour fading can be repaired. However, it is dependent on what type of leather is used to upholster your sofa. Colour can be restored to pigmented leather but if the leather is aniline leather which has been soluble dyed, then repairing it may be more difficult. If aniline leather has lost up to 30% of its colour it may not be possible to restore the colour to its original state.

Cracking of the leather

Cracking of the leather on your sofa happens due to extreme changes in temperature and moisture levels. Leather adapts to its environment and so when there are changes in weather and moisture levels, such as during harsh winters or humid summers, it can become dry and may begin to crack. Cracking of the leather can eventually lead to peeling. Cracking of the leather is more common in combination leathers. 

Keeping your leather furniture away from heat sources can prevent it from drying out. In addition, this regular conditioning of your leather can prevent it from drying and cracking. Ensure that you use a quality leather conditioner when doing so. Cracks in leather can be repaired, depending on the type of leather. Cracks in aniline leather can be repaired by redyeing the cracks, while this does not fix the problem, it can aid in restoring the look of the leather.  With pigmented leather, the cracks can be filled and dyed, which restores the leather to its original state. If the cracking is extreme then reupholstery may be the most suitable option.

Peeling of the leather

Peeling of the leather on your sofa can occur due to damage from body oils, cracking and a lack of proper care and maintenance of your leather. When the leather is worn down or cracked, the worn down or cracked areas will start peeling due to friction on these areas.  

To prevent the peeling of the leather and to ensure that your sofa remains in pristine condition, keeping it away from direct heat sources, regular cleaning and conditioning is essential. If the peeling is excessive beyond repair, then the best option would be to reupholster your sofa.

Loosening of the leather

When you purchase a leather furniture item the leather may be taut and fit firmly onto the seats. Over time and with frequent use the leather will begin to soften and may get loose. While this is inevitable if you want a sofa in which the leather will not loosen as fast, over time – opt for one that contains a solid, firm inner foam, as a denser seat can slow down the process of the leather loosening.


Additional tips to help you maintain your leather sofa:

  • Clean and dust your sofa regularly.
  • If you live along the seaside or within a coastal area moisturise your leather sofa, with a leather conditioner, frequently as the salt in the air will dry out the leather faster.
  • Don’t sit on your sofa with sharp objects, such as keys in your pockets.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals and detergents such as bleach or ammonia to clean your leather sofa.
  • Don’t use abrasive materials to clean your sofa, instead use a soft, clean & damp cloth.


Leather furniture is a premium investment and to get the most out of it you need to ensure that it is well-maintained and properly cared for.