On an older leather lounge suite or sofa cracks will start to appear if the leather is not conditioned regularly. Normal household furniture polish won't conditioner leather, it will only give it a false shine. It's important to regularly clean and condition leather furniture with the correct products to keep them looking good and extend their lifetime.
If not regularly maintained, a leather sofa will dry out and start to crack. Once it does start to crack there isn't much that you can do to repair the cracks, but you can clean and apply leather conditioner to soften the look and prevent further damage.
Cracked leather is a common problem on leather furniture that is not maintained properly, and one that leather restoration experts can easily fix, but like most things with leather furniture, it's far cheaper to take care of the problem before it really becomes an issue.
What causes leather to crack?
Because leather is porous, it soaks up oils and dirt from your own body and hair. These oils are absorbed into the top coating on leather and eventually becomes abrasive as it breaks down, causing wear and eventual cracks on the surface.
How to maintain leather
It is important to clean and condition leather furniture at least twice a year. This removes any dirt and oil still sitting on the surface of furniture and prevents it from eventually soaking in.
A regular cleaning with saddle soap and leather conditioner ensures the top of the leather stays clean and supple. And because the seating cushions, backrest and arm are under constant wear it is more important to pay particular attention to these areas.
1. After cleaning, any large cracks can be stuck down using leather glue to prevent future cracking. Apply according to the instructions and be sure to wipe away any excess glue that oozes out.
2. Use a soft sponge to apply leather balm over cracked areas. Follow the instructions.
Light-coloured leather furniture may need cleaning before restoring the leather and applying leather conditioner. Saddle soap, or pure glycerin soap, is the best product to use for cleaning leather. This soap doesn't contain any harsh chemicals that will damage the leather.
Use a clean, soft shoe polishing brush to apply saddle soap and to brush clean the surface.
A specialist leather cleaner will clean leather safely and effectively. These products are designed to loosen and lift out embedded grime. Apply and rub off with a damp cloth. After cleaning, condition with leather conditioner.
Leather Conditioner is the most effective way to restore leather. It nourishes, softens and protects while extending the life of the leather.
Use as a regular maintenance program to keep your leather furniture looking good. Note that this product may darken light-coloured leathers. Apply with a damp cloth.
If you need to dye leather, make sure that you use a dye specifically designed for use on leather. You used to be able to purchase Dylon Dye at shoe repair shops, but I haven't seen this around for quite some time.
Eco-Flow leather dye is available from Tandy Leathers and comes in a variety of colours.