What Is Polyurethane Coated Leather?

Written by sarah celebi
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What Is Polyurethane Coated Leather?
(leather image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com)

First used during World War II as a replacement for rubber, polyurethane is a versatile synthetic material now used in a variety of everyday products, from the insulation in your walls to the leather on your shoes.


Polyurethane is a synthetic organic compound made of flexible polyester or polyether units along with rigid urethane units. Polyurethane can be made into fibres, foams and coatings for a variety of purposes.

What Is Polyurethane Coated Leather?
(polyester close up yellow image by gmlynek from Fotolia.com)


The concept and chemistry of polyurethane was developed by Prof. Dr. Otto Bayer (1902-1982) and was initially used during World War II as a substitute for rubber, a rare resource. It was thereafter quickly formulated for use in fibres, foams, linings and more and can now be found in a wide range of modern products.

What Is Polyurethane Coated Leather?
Polyurethane originally served as a substitute for rubber in World War II. (history image by Ewe Degiampietro from Fotolia.com)


Leather shoes, jackets, sofas and other leather products are often coated with a layer of polyurethane. This protects the leather, allowing it to last longer, and gives it that new leather shine. It also makes the leather water and scratch resistant and allows for easier care.

What Is Polyurethane Coated Leather?
(Genuine blue leather jacket image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)


Polyurethane coated leather is easily cared for with a soft, damp cloth and, if necessary, a mild soap. Oils and common household cleaning agents are not recommended as they may wear down the protective polyurethane layer.

What Is Polyurethane Coated Leather?
(pink wash cloth image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com)

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