Leather comes in several types according to how they are tanned and subsequently treated. Top grain level comes from the uppermost layer of a hide and is of the highest quality. Aniline leathers are top grain leathers treated to display various characteristics. Analine leathers come in pure analine, protected analine and semi-analine forms. Each type is cared for differently.
Differentiating Analine Leather
Pure analine leather is top grain leather that is dyed for colour without the application of any pigments. Natural characteristics of the leather may be seen in pure analine such as healed scars, scratches and wrinkles. This leather will develop a rich patina over time and will fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight. Protected aniline leather adds pigment for colour consistency and a clear coat to disguise irregularities in the hide. Protected aniline is durable, sun-resistant and long wearing. Semi-aniline leather contains a small amount of pigment or clear finish, allowing hide irregularities to show through while offering some colour consistency and fade protection.
Caring For Pure Analine Leather
Pure analine leather has a rich and very soft texture and is even in colour. These leathers are usually reserved for custom work because they are high maintenance. Pure analine leather will absorb a drop of water and darken the surface. This leather requires regular maintenance with a professional cleaning product provided by a company that deals in leather products. Saddle soap, furniture polish or oils should be avoided. Food spilt on the leather should be absorbed immediately with a dry cloth and left to dry. Rubbing will darken and stain the leather. Pure analine will stay cool in summer and warm in winter due to its breathable surface.
Caring For Semi-Alkaline Leather
A drop of water placed on semi-alkaline leather will bead and remain on the surface. The leather can become hot in summer and cold in winter due to its pigmentation and/or light layer of clear coating but the leather will be fairly soft and supple. Semi-analine leather needs occasional maintenance but will not stain, dry or crack as easily if left untreated. A moist cloth may be used to absorb surface spills. A low alkaline cleaner used two to three times a year will keep the clear coat intact.
Protected Aniline Care
Protected aniline leather is the type most used in car manufacturing. Protected aniline leather cannot absorb liquids due to its pigmentation and heavily coated clear finish. Liquid spilt on protected anilines may be easily removed with a damp cloth. Convertibles and sunroof-fitted vehicles are usually made with protected aniline leather as it is durable and resistant to fading in sunlight. A low alkaline cleaner will treat the surface of protected analines without damaging the clear coat. Twice a year is the recommended application time to avoid any brittling or hazing to the clear coated surface.
Signs of Incorrect Cleaner Choice
The water droplet test should be used prior to selecting a cleaning product. If the water is absorbed and the leather darkens, it is pure analine. Products formulated for semi and protected analine leathers are used to treat the clear coat finish and can damage the unprotected analine leather hide. Products designed for pure analine will stay on the surface of other leathers and create a slippery, oily finish.
Leather testing and expert advice on cleaning product choice will guarantee a long life for your leather.
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