Leather furniture represents a history of the animal hide used to cover it. The species, geographical location and dietary habits of an animal has an affect on the quality of its outer skin, the end product used for leather furniture. Some leathers are acquired from specific regions to enhance desired features, such as nubuck leather imported from Europe. Well-preserved leathers have survived for centuries and can be found in museums and estates worldwide. Regular maintenance is the key to extending the life of leather furniture.

1950's Style Sofa and Love Seat
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Leather furniture requires preventative maintenance to extend its life.

Tried and True Methods

Leather furniture can break down and deteriorate due to built-up grime, soil and body oils. Leather conditioner extends the life of leather furniture. Other products that you can use include linseed oil and neutral PH leather cleaners. Manufacturers of leather furniture offer conditioners and preventative-maintenance products that are designed specifically for conditioning and cleaning leather. Online resources can assist in determining which type of leather your furniture is covered in and in recommending the correct product to maintain your leather's resilience.

Not Recommended for Leather

Use a product from a limited list of recommended leather-treatment products, but avoid items on a long list of items that you should never on leather. Avoid direct leather contact with generic waxes, oils or saddle soaps. Water-based products are also not advisable on leather. Certain types of finished leathers, such as aniline-dyed hides, require products designed specifically for their care and cleaning. When in doubt about a product's compatibility with your particular leather, consult the original manufacturer's recommended cleaning and maintenance products and procedures.

Ensure Your Leather's Long Life

An insurance policy can help protect your leather investment. When purchasing new leather, explore warranty programs that are available through leather furniture retailers to repair accidental stains, such as nail polish and pet bodily excretions. Professional repair of accidental burns, rips and tears is also covered under some leather warranty coverage programs. Not all leather warranty plans are the same, and some exclusions may apply regarding negligence or abuse of leather furniture.

Extra Measures

Despite its rough exterior, leather is vulnerable to extended heat and light exposure. Leather revitalizers and beeswax-based furniture polishes help restore neglected leather furniture that has been subjected to long-term exposure to ultra-violet rays or other heat sources such as fireplaces. Some cracked and dried leathers can be coaxed back to life with products designed to enhance and restore the natural sheen. If your existing leather furniture has rips, tears, stains or burns, consider hiring or consulting a leather professional to accomplish the restoration.