March 08, 2019


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 including an Infographic to help identify the types you may have.

Type of Leather Infographic


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

The surface of this leather has been colored with transparent dyes. This transparency is similar to looking at a piece of stained wood, whereas the grain stays natural and visibly distinguishable. Aniline leather will have imperfections and differences, just as fingerprints are different for each individual. This difference is nature's signature and assurance that every hide is one of a kind. These leathers have minimal surface protection and thus tend to show the effects of usage such as wear, scratches, UV exposure, etc. To maintain the natural beauty of aniline leather it is mandatory to establish a routine of cleaning and protection. Leather Protector should be applied right at the beginning of usage. Cleaning and protection should then be done every six months, even more often on high traffic areas.


  • Looks natural
  • Good touch
  • Natural grain and marking

2. Semi-Aniline (A)

This leather is covered with a lightly pigmented coating on which transparent and brilliant colors are over sprayed to reconstruct the natural appearance of the leather. Since the coating is thin, it offers only minimal protection, so an application of Leather Protector is recommended.


  • Natural grain surface
  •  Good look and feel
  •  Improved light fastness
  • More practical than full aniline

3. Pigmented/Top Coated (P)

This is the most widely used finishing technique. The finish consists of an opaque basecoat of pigmented resins followed by a protective topcoat. The natural color of the leather is completely covered. Therefore, pigmented leather can be identified by its uniform color. It is ideal for high use items like furniture or automotive seats, especially when you want your kids to use them "trouble-free". With the aid of Mohawk Professional Leather Care products, these leathers are easily maintained. If restoration is necessary, full re-coloring is possible.

Two-tone leather is another form of a pigmented finish. In this case, the opaque base coat is topped with a second color, often with an aniline coating, creating a transparent additional color that can be either applied as a consistent toner or in patterns of light and dark areas. Swirled and glazed patterns are common also.


  • Consistent color
  • Excellent lightfastness
  • Less expensive and easy to produce
  • Good defect coverage
  • Easy maintenance

4. Nubuck (N)

This leather is actually Aniline leather that has been sanded to give it a fine, velvety surface. It should not be confused with suede, which is the flesh side of leather. The look and feel of nubuck leather is incomparable for low use applications where elegance is desired. To properly care for nubuck, it is important to adhere to a routine of protection followed by cleaning. This regimen should begin as soon as the piece is put into use and continued at regular intervals throughout the life of the piece. Mohawk has specific products for the care and preservation of nubuck leather. It is important to use these specialized Nubuck products on Nubuck leathers.


  • Great look
  • Great touch

5. Pull-Up (X)

These are waxy and oiled leathers. These two related types of leather are called "pull up," a phrase originally used to describe the effect on a type of leather also known as "Timberland" after that well-known footwear producer made this type of article famous. These leathers lighten when stretched, bent or "pulled up." They are categorized as natural because they do not have a thick topcoat.


  • ·Good touch and feel
  • Fashionable
  • Develops unique distressed look

Come back later in March when  we will discuss how to clean and protect your leather!

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