What Type of Leather Do You Have?

June 20, 2016

Whether it's the new couch you just bought or the hand-me-down ottoman from your mother-in-law, furniture made with leather can be found throughout the house. Without proper care and protection, leather can become worn out, prone to tear, and even fade due to UV exposure. This blog post will educate you on 5 of the most common pieces of leather, a flow-chart to help identify the types you may have, and some products that can help protect and prolong the life of your furniture. 


5 Types of Leather

1. Aniline (also known as Natural) (A)

The reason that Aniline is called Natural is because there are no protective treatments applied, and the actual gaining imperfections are unique from piece to piece - making it much like that of a human and their respective finger prints. With no protection applied, Aniline Leather tends to show wear and tear, UV exposure, scratches, and much more of leather much more frequently. 

2. Semi-Aniline (A)

Semi-Aniline is more practical than Aniline simply because it has a thin coating over it that offers protection. In order to display the natural appearance of the leather, Semi-Aniline is covered with a slightly pigmented coating to which transparent colors are applied to give the appearance of leather. The Semi-Aniline is ideal for those who are looking to keep the natural look of Aniline while having the protection of Pigmented/Top Coated. 

3. Pigmented/Top Coated (P)

This leather type is the most commonly used finishing technique for leather. The finish consists of an opaque (does not reflect light) base coat followed by a protective topcoat. Since the natural color of the leather is covered completely, the leather can be identified by its uniform color. This type of leather is most common on furniture or automobile seats due to its durability and protection from stains and spilling. 

4. Nubuck (N)

Nubuck is Aniline leather, only sanded down to give a rough, velvety surface. Nubuck is ideal for furniture since it more durable and less expensive than suede.  Nubuck is sanded on the outer surface of the leather rather than the inside like that of suede. Due to the easy staining qualities of nubuck, it is crucial to remove stains as soon as they happen and apply protecting solutions on a regular basis. 

5. Pull-Up (X)

Pull-Up is an aniline dyed leather that carries natural oils and/or waxes instead of being covered in topcoats.  The name "pull-up" describes how the leather shows a lighter color whenever it is bent, stretched, or pulled.  This leather is categorized as natural since they do not have a thick topcoat. Surface pull-up scratches are easy to remove - simply rub your finger over the scratch. The oils from your fingers will smooth out the blemish. 


Follow the chart below to figure out which leather you have.

Leather Flow Chart


How to Clean and Protect Your Leather:

The best way to prevent something from happening to your leather is to regularly clean and protect it.  


Note: Some products listed below cannot be used on different types of leather.  The letter next to the product denotes which type of leather it can be used on.

Cleaning: The first step in the process would be to clean the area. With the area of the leather clean, this enables the stain remover, scratch remover, and protecting solutions the necessary conditions to work the best.  

  • Mohawk Consumer Products Leather Cleaner (A)(P)(X) is formulated to be used on all Top Coated, Aniline, and Grained leathers. Given the neutral pH water-based formula, this cleaner will gently yet thoroughly clean the area without harming the feel or beauty of the leather. 

Scratch Remover (A)(X): The Scratch Remover was developed in order to help blend and heal surface scratches of Pull-Up and Aniline Leather. The formula is water-based and rather easy to use - paint it on and simply rub it in. 

Ink Remover (P): Whether it's grass or pen stains, Mohawk has got you covered. The Ink Remover is perfect for removing recent (3-5 days) stains on Vinyl and Top Coated leather surfaces. 

Leather Protector: Finally, applying a protectant to the leather surface enables the leather to reduce the wear and tear from daily activities, as well as help protect against future stains.  

  • Mohawk Consumer Products Leather Protector (A)(P) creates an invisible yet breathable barrier that helps improve cleanability and stain resistance. It helps repel alcohol, oil, water based stains, and protein.  Please allow 24 hours to dry in order to achieve maximum protection.

There you have it. The whole process - from learning to identifying to cleaning and protecting. We suggest you clean and protect your leather at between 4-8 times a year! If you have any questions, feel free to tweet us @MohawkConsumer or message us on our Facebook

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