There are many different colours and types of leathers available: bovine (cow), game skin (Oryx, Eland, Kudu) and bovine or game hides.
A hide is a skin with it’s hair still on.
A skin is when the hair has been removed and the skin is coloured.
The most popular colour for leather upholstery is Oxblood (chocolate brown), and most people use bovine leather when buying leather couches for sale.
Bovine leather is the most cost effective to use, because the skins are bigger than those of game skins, which means that you can get more upholstering panels out of 1 skin of bovine than out of 1 skin of Kudu / Oryx.
There are also different grades of leather: 1st through to 3rd. The smaller the grade, the LESS scuff marks, tick bites or ‘imperfections’ there are on the leather. The larger the grade (2 or 3) the more tick bites, scuff marks and ‘imperfections’ are visible.
2nd and 3rd grade game skins always look very beautiful when upholstered on a sofa or arm chair – especially if it’s an oversized sofa with big arms and a soft puffy seat!
The entire sofa practically screams comfort and relaxation!
I have had my fair share of white leather lounge suite encounters, and let me tell you – it’s not for the faint hearted!
White leather gets dirty very quickly, and the leather scuffs easily, and if you have a busy household, I do not recommend it.
In essence, it does look absolutely stunning, and sleek and modern (even if it is a big, round armed Chesterfield sofa with deep buttons). There is just something about white that makes us feel better about things.
White leather is only available in 1st grade bovine skins.
So, if you are not faint hearted and feel the urge to splurge on a white leather sofa or suite, here are some handy tips for maintenance and general upkeep.
- Make sure the leather you buy is 1st grade genuine bovine leather.
- Buy proper leather conditioner to feed your leather once every 3 months or depending on how many people use the particular white leather furniture piece. If you live alone and are quite gentle by nature, you can even condition your leather once every 6 months.
- Do not use any type of soapy products on your white leather – it removes some of the colour, and the more you try to clean that mark the more the colour will come off…
- If you are in South Africa, you may use Pledge dust remover spray to clean your suite once a week or once every two weeks. It is good for removing small marks that you can’t get off with a wet rag.
- If there are stubborn marks on the leather, use a proper leather cleaner like saddle soap (available at places selling horse riding gear) or products manufactured for leather cleaning (look in the cleaning aisle of your local motoring hardware store / Midas).
- Take care not to use sharp object near your white leather. Even zippers on jeans pockets or the soles of your shoes can scuff the leather.
Oxblood leather is generally much easier to live with – probably because of the colour, it does not show dirt up quickly. But for long lasting beauty, follow steps 1 – 6 as for white leather.