Why and When Does Leather Peel?

When quality leather is cared for, it can last for decades, ages beautifully and forms a patina. Real leather is animal skin and so it needs to be maintained and moisturised – when it starts to dry out, it can eventually crack and peel. To keep leather moisturised, you should apply a suitable cleaner and/or conditioner regularly; you should also make note of the surrounding humidity levels as too low a humidity level can cause the leather to lose its moisture and become brittle.

Most of the time, it is not the leather itself that is cracking, but the finish or sealant on the surface. Using the wrong products to clean the leather can cause the leather to peel off, such as products, which contain solvents and chemicals. Even baby wipes can cause damage as the chemicals in them break down and rub the topcoat of the leather off, so while they’re safe for babies, they’re not safe for leather.

Leather of a poor quality, especially bonded leather, is also more likely to crack and peel. High quality leather shouldn’t ever peel under reasonable circumstance and with the correct care.

Bonded leather is a cheap alternative to quality or top grain leather – its price reflects its value and durability and it is most commonly used in upholstery. It is made from scraps of recycled leather and stuck together with strong adhesive before being attached to a polyurethane (PU) overlay. Bonded leather doesn’t have the same amount of elasticity or stretch as real leather does and so once it reaching its stretching point, the synthetic PU overlay peels away fairly easily from the leather strips.

Fake leather, which bonded leather is actually argued to be classed as due to its poor quality and scarcity of real leather, is also one of the most common types of “leather material” to peel. Because it isn’t the real deal and, like bonded leather, is a cheap alternative made from synthetics like PU or PVC, it doesn’t hold the same endurance and can often begin to crack and peel after only a few months of use.

Overall it is important to keep your leather maintained to it stays moist and supple, by using the correct products for your item. Quality leather does not crack or peel and actually improves in its appearance over the years, lower quality leathers and materials don’t share the same durability and resilience.

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