Different Types of Leather

How Leather is Made | Types of Leather | Product Help | General Leather Care Tips

About Leather

There are many different types of leather, which include the animal it originated from, the process it has gone through and the finish that has been applied to it. Each type of leather has to be cared for in different ways depending on how it was made.

Different Types of Leather

Although leather comes from a variety of animals its really the process it has gone through that determines the way it finally appears and how to care for it. When it comes to caring for leather we put this into 3 main groups.

Protected Leather

Protected Leather has a protective finish that repels water making it easy to clean and maintain. This type of leather can maintain a new look for years if cared for properly.

Suede & Nubuck Leather

Suede & Nubuck Leather has no protective finish on it but is still quite easy to clean. Although these types of leather absorbs water, most spillages can be removed such as coffee & wine quite easily, but oil based products can be difficult to remove.

Aniline Leather

Aniline Leather has no protective finish and because of the way it is made and dyed makes this very hard to clean and maintain. Aniline is commonly brown in colour and the way it is dyed makes it appear more patch and rustic rather than a flat colour. Generally over time the colour fades making it more patchy and more rustic. This type of leather is very hard to clean as a water based product will soak into the leather making it very dark. As the water soaks in, when you try to scrub the dirt out all you do is end up pushing the dirt around and this can result in ring marks where you have just pushed the dirt outwards. This can also take 24 hours or more to dry and return to its original colour.

Faux Leather

As well as real leather you also have Faux or Fake leather. This is a man made product, designed to give the look and feel of real leather at a lower cost. Faux leather is very similar to Vinyl. It can be very hard to tell the difference from this and Protected leather as the finish is very much the same. The main difference is the quality and the durability of the final product. Faux leather is not as strong as real leather and tends to crack and split quite easily. It is easy to clean in the same way as protected leather but generally only has a third of the life expectancy of real leather, which is something well worth thinking about should you wish to purchase something that is made from this. Caring for faux leather is also not very easy as it is prone to cracking. Things like sunlight and applying products that can dry it up can speed up the process and once cracking starts it really isn't something that can be repaired.


Ever bought a sofa that is sold as 100% leather? Think again. This goes for car seats to. Generally most manufactures use real leather for the parts you sit on or touch such as the base cushions & arms, but when it comes to the sides and the back you will generally find this is vinyl. The same process is sometimes applied to car seats, where the lower sections, sides and the back are vinyl. Obviously leather is very expensive and as vinyl is such a close match it makes sense to cover the bits you don't touch in something that looks the same but is more cost effective. Vinyl comes in many different forms though, does look good and even doesn't fade as much as leather so it does have its advantages. Because it is designed in the same way as protected leather it can be cared for in much the same way and is easy to maintain.

How Leather is Made | Different Types of Leather | Leather Care Information & Advice


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