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What You Should Know About Cleaning Leather

How involved is the process of cleaning leather?

Furniture covered in leather lends itself to specialized treatment for the surface. Many owners may opt to tackle the project in a do-it-yourself approach, yet it takes the proper knowledge and supplies to ensure the material is not damaged in the process. Depending upon the type and depth of dirt, staining, or other damage that is present, the procedures can vary. There are a number of DIY substances that can be utilized to tackle the project that include ingredients such as brewed tea, olive oil, vinegar, and water. While these mixtures may suffice for small spots or spills, they may not be enough to return the material to its best condition and extend its life. Homeowners can help with regular maintenance such as dusting, vacuuming, and damp cloth wipe downs, but a trained professional has the knowledge and tools necessary for cleaning leather properly and efficiently.

Are there advantages to hiring a professional to treat this type of material?

While the DIY approach can be immediate and may cost less, calling in the pros to tackle the job is worth every penny.  A professional that has education and training in the methods of treatment will ensure that further harm to the material does not occur. They are familiar with the various types of leather as well as the best cleaning methods. Not only can they regularly clean and condition the material, they will work to remove or touch-up scratches, stains, and other discolorations. In addition, many professionals will provide their customer with information on how to care for the material between visits in order to minimize the dirt build-up and damage that can occur over time.

Is there training available specifically geared towards cleaning leather?

Yes, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers a program to provide individuals with the accredited coursework required to become certified in this service. While managed by the IICRC the Leather Cleaning Technician, or LCT certification track is offered by many approved institutions worldwide.  

What is involved in the LCT certification class?

This comprehensive course covers a wide range of associated topics including material identification and its uses, basic terminology, treatment methods, tanning, moisture rejuvenation, and protection. The focus is on theory, realistic application, and the many obstacles that can occur during the process. This two-day course utilizes 14 hours of class time, not including exams, to thoroughly address the wide range of topics. In addition, the IICRC requires that certified technicians continue to meet continuing education requirements in the form of two credits every two years in order to stay current on the evolution of the field and remain certified in cleaning leather.

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