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13.6.1 - Routine Maintenance ( )

Leather may be the ultimate upholstery material but it takes more maintenance than synthetics. It has three main enemies:-

1. Abrasion

2. Grease/tar based stains

3. Drying out

Modern leathers are finished with easy care finishes which means that a wipe over with a damp cloth is all that is normally necessary, followed by an application of Hide Food.

Cleaning is fundamental to both regular care and repairs. The process of washing helps keep the leather supple. For a thorough job, the seats need to come out but, if not, remember those electric motors and heating elements inside! The routine cleaning sequence is:-

1. wash with Saddle Soap and a damp cloth or a brush if heavily soiled

2. wipe off all soapy residue with a damp towel;

3. wait about 45 minutes then buff with a towel.

4. remove any grease spots with a naphtha-based cleaner followed immediately by washing.

5. allow to dry properly before proceeding.

Next, consider care of the leather. An Oil Dressing such as LEXOL can be used but not many of the leathers used since the 1960's are porous.

HIDE FOOD is a more effective treatment on today's leather. The term 'Hide Food' is probably misleading as it suggests a feeding action. Modern upholstery leather does not require to be fed and most hide foods are actually wax emulsions which leave the surface soft and supple whilst the thin protectivecoating of wax helps repel dirt.

If you're recolouring, and therefore removing/stripping the old lacquer finish, then a hide food is ideal to make it supple. These dressings are about 90% soap and 10% oil. Due to the limited breathability of many modern leathers, however, hide food's effect is limited to surface dressing on finished hide.


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