a) General – It is difficult to give precise instructions on doing this yourself since different fibres and fabric constructions require specialist techniques. We, therefore, recommend that you contact a professional upholstery cleaning company.
The effectiveness of the specialist cleaning will depend upon the degree of soiling. It is therefore advisable to have the cleaning done before dirt and general soiling becomes too engrained. Under no circumstances attempt to wash the item. Having cushions dry cleaned separately can result in a slight mismatch of colours on the furniture. We recommend any cleaning be carried out on the whole piece to balance the effect.
b) Regular Cleaning – Dust and dirt can cause fabrics to wear and spoil colours. This can be avoided by careful brushing with a soft brush, and vacuuming using the correct attachment – usually on a weekly basis. Velvets should be brushed in the direction of the pile and pale or delicate fabrics treated with extra care.
c) Spots & Spills – If accidents occur and you have a spillage always act quickly. Do not rub or soak the material or allow the stain to set. Absorb the spillage using a white kitchen roll or white absorbant cloth. Where solids are concerned, scrape up with a blunt knife or spatula, being careful not to spread the stain. For wine, spirits or coffee, treat with distilled water only, using soap or shampoo as a last resort. For oil marks use proprietary cleaning fluid. Rather than wait until disaster strikes it may be prudent to consider purchasing some such upholstery cleaning fluid now and keeping it safely stored at home for future use. Some stains respond better to removal while they are still wet.
Before tackling the stain with any cleaning fluid, always do a test on an unexposed part of the fabric to ensure that no further damage is caused. Some cleaning fluids can affect the dye in certain fabrics causing ringing or smudging, if in doubt, do seek professional help.
2) Soil Resistant Finishes
Some fabrics are specially treated to resist soiling but if this is not the case, the application of a care system will facilitate stain removal and so reduce the risk of permanent damage. It will also help your fabric to retain its original appearance for a longer period and so extend its useful life. Further information can be obtained through your supplier. Before any proprietary soil-repellent treatment is applied, it is important that the fabric is tested for resistance to colour bleeding and to shrinkage. We cannot accept responsibility for soil resist treatments that have not been applied as part of the production and finishing process supplied by Kings.
All cushions should be turned and interchanged regularly to distribute wear. Feather or fibre cushions especially should be plumped up daily and their position interchanged to maintain their appearance and to give the fillings a chance to recover.
4) Useful Tips
Your upholstery is designed to be sat on in comfort. Sitting on the edges of cushions or the arms may cause premature wear and distortion of the padding and fabric. Avoid allowing sharp edges, toys, buckles, jewellery and domestic pets to snag the fabric. If snags do occur; pull them through from the reverse of the fabric if possible, or carefully 8 cut them off with scissors under no circumstances pull them from the front surface. Do not allow your children or pets to use your upholstery to demonstrate their gymnastic abilities.
5) Heat & Sunlight
Upholstery should not be exposed for long periods to direct sunlight as this may result in the fabric fading or even rotting. Protect it by drawing curtains or blinds. Also, avoid leaving your upholstery too close to fires or radiators.
6) Wear & Tear
Be aware of the causes of wear and soiling. Fabrics are vulnerable to snagging by sharp objects such as buckles, studs on jeans, rings, childrens’ toys and of course pets, particularly cats. One of the main areas which suffers wear on any upholstered furniture is the top of the front of the arms. The use of armcaps and regular cleaning of this area will help to prolong the useful life of your furniture. Avoid placing heavy or pointed objects on your upholstery and beware of banging against it with vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, or similar devices.
Velvet fabrics being of a pile construction, will exhibit some small crushing and flattening marks; which will come and go in use. These are a characteristic of fine quality velvets and do not represent any fault in the fabric.
There is much to consider when choosing leather furniture as it is available in a great variety of qualities and finishes. At all quality manufacturers they seek to manufacture upholstery to the highest standards and always endeavour to retain the natural beauty and integrity of good quality materials. Only the top 5% of hides produced are selected for aniline dyeing and subsequent use manufacturers suppling Kings. The leather is soaked in transparent dye which allows natural marks to remain visible. Every hide is unique and will exhibit colour fluctuations due to the tendency of leather to accept dyes differently in specific areas. Natural markings such as neck and belly wrinkles, healed scars, scratches and insect bites are normal. It is these, combined with the varied and interesting textures and colour effects, which expert craftsmen carefully exploit during tailoring to best reveal the full character and beauty of the material. It is important to appreciate that these characteristics will be present, they are a natural hallmark and distinguish top grain aniline leather from the lesser grades of leather used by the vast majority of manufacturers.
Top quality aniline hides, such as those used by many quality upholstery manufacturers, will gain in character over the years. Most scuffs and scratches will appear and fade during use, and given the care due to any of your favourite possessions, your leather upholstery will endure for a very long time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leather What is aniline dye?
Aniline dye was invented in the mid 19th century and became famous in Victorian times as it allowed the development of a new colour, Mauve, which became all the rage in England and France. More importantly it has a transparency that enhances the characteristics of natural materials such as linen, silk, wood and leather. Today aniline is an industry term for transparent dyes that are used to colour top quality hides.
Why is aniline dyed leather considered to be the best?
The top grain hides selected for aniline dyeing come from the best 5% of all leather produced. The hides are soaked through in aniline dyes and drummed for softness. Being transparent, aniline dyes impart a translucency and retain the personality and definition of each individual hide. This contrasts with the majority of leather furniture available which relies mainly on ‘corrected grain’ (artificial texture printed on using rollers) and ‘pigmented’ or painted finishes. In some cases ‘split’ leather (the bottom layer of a hide) is used which is inferior in strength and finish. While such leathers are cheaper, they often take on a less characterful, more vinyl-like appearance.
How consistent are colours?
Colours vary across individual hides and between different hides. Dyes are absorbed differently and changing thickness, location and moisture content all influence colour density and hue. It is worth emphasising that texture and tone will vary across each individual piece of furniture and that given time and use these characteristics will mellow and an attractive Patina will be acquired. In some cases the appearance of our leathers is enhanced by the addition of surface colour to provide an antique effect or to strengthen the density of colour, particularly in the case of light cream hides.
How do light and heat affect leather?
Sunlight is a natural bleaching agent and as such causes leather and fabrics to fade. Excessive heat will draw out the moisture naturally present in leather and may lead to a deterioration in the leather’s performance. Never place aniline dyed leather furniture in direct sunlight as this will cause it to fade, dry out and crack.
How do I care for my leather upholstery?
All aniline dyed leathers include a light surface finish to help resist stains and scratches. In the event of a spillage it is imperative to act quickly. Carefully soak up any excess liquid, ideally using the edge of a (white) paper towel, then dab gently with a fresh towel taking care to avoid spreading or soaking in the remaining liquid. Obviously not all types of stain will clean away, many such as ink marks are best left alone and will mostly fade away. Do bear in mind that all aniline leathers require some maintenance. In addition to regular dusting, light scratches and scuffs can be removed by gently buffing with a slightly damp, soft cloth or chamois. It is important to rub very gently so as to avoid colour change. Saddle soap, cleaning solvents, furniture polish, oils, waxes, abrasive cleaners, general stain removers and any silicone or ammonia based products should never be used. While scratch removal creams can be very effective, always check that they are suitable for aniline leathers before use. As your quality upholstery supplier and stockist we will give you advice regarding long term care and cleaning instructions and, if necessary, put you in touch with a Leather Care Specialist.
Slipcovered designs are, to all intents and purposes, identical in construction to their tightly upholstered stable mates with the obvious exceptional feature of having their covers made so as to be removeable. Whether you do this for purposes of Dry Cleaning (please do not wash them) or so as to replace them with a fresh look, the process should be carried out very carefully. Our sewn seams are tough but will suffer from strain if misused.
Firstly please ensure that all zips, ‘Velcro’ fastenings etc are released before beginning the process of removal. Second gently ease the fabric tuckaways (a) from around the sides and back of the seat area (Use the sewn in strap, to be found in the rear right hand corner of the seat as a starting point). Watch out for coins, long lost biscuits, toys etc as heaven knows what will be revealed at this stage. Next gently ease the covers up and off, away from the actual sofa and place in a polythene bag or some such, prior to either cleaning and storage or replacement. When refitting covers attend to the corners of the top of the back first . Fit the corners in place and gently ease the bundle that is each arm over its respective arm front. This will be a tight fit so take care.