10 Fun Facts About Leather
Plus the Most Practical Leather Care Tips

Did you know that cowhide is the most used material for leather? But there are many other fun facts about this great-smelling material used for quality leather furniture, some you may already know, however, some may still surprise you.

Leather Fun Fact #1

The leather industry rakes in about $53.8 billion USD, globally, every year. About 60% of this represented by leather footwear sales.

Leather Fun Fact #2

The average consumer has four leather products, on his person, at a given time.  Just think of the belt that you use, your shoes, even your wristwatch strap. Let's not forget that leather fine furniture that you have as a focal point in your home.

Leather Fun Fact #3

Sheepskin and cattle hide represent about 5 to 10% of the animal's total value. Sheep and cattle are mostly farmed for their meat and dairy products. Their by-products represent a substantial percentage of the total value of the animal. No animals in the US are slaughtered for the single purpose of harvesting leather.

Leather Fun Fact #4

Leather which is measured in ounce for every square foot. For example, a square foot of leather weighing three ounces is called a 3oz leather and would be about one-eighth of an inch thick.

Leather Fun Fact #5

Leather has been around since  3000 BC or even earlier.  Boat sails used by the Romans were mostly made of leather. Other uses included the earliest rustic furniture pieces, tent, clothing, and even body armor.  A thousand years after the Roman Empire, leather was even worn by the most fashionable Egyptian women.

Leather Fun Fact #6

The first pair of leather shoes that were fashioned with a shoelace and holes first came out in 1790. Here's an even more fun fact, the first right and left foot shoe pairs only came out in 1818.

Leather Fun Fact #7

Did you know that leather used to be the material used in creating golf balls? The leather golf balls were stuffed with feathers enough to fill a top hat. 

Leather Fun Fact #8

 The most difficult kind of leather to produce is white leather.

<img src=&quot;whiteleathersofa.jpg&quot; alt=&quot;white leather sectional with a couple seated in it.&quot;>  

Imagine,  exposing poor-quality cowhide to white dye, it will just end up feeling stiff and it might even crack. The best kinds are the only ones that are fashioned to become white leather furniture or white leather jackets.

Leather Fun Fact #9

It was considered fashionable to use leather as a wallpaper in the 17th century in Venice and Florence, Italy.

Leather Fun Fact #10

Even since man started valuing commodities, leather has become one of the most sought-after materials. The simplest and earliest furniture pieces were probably made of animal skins so that man would be kept warm and comfortable.

All About Leather

<img src=&quot;leathercouch.jpg&quot; alt=&quot;brown leather couch.&quot;>

Leather is a big testament to the resourcefulness as well as the ingenuity of man. And whether it did play an important part in the development of civilization, it is still a valued material even to this day. Leather has become an enduring piece of fashion and design.

So, is it a must to have leather in your home?

A Little Leather History


Let’s walk down memory lane for a bit. The benefits of using dried animal skins in the prehistoric times are still the same benefits that man enjoys today. Leather has been used for shelter and clothing and all these are there to keep harsh conditions from harming man.

The earliest known leather artifacts were crafted in 1300 BC. This was the time that men began to appreciate and use animal hides for their protection. Suddenly, leather is born and animal skins are no longer just a food by-product.

Ancient Greeks also crafted leather garments and sandals in 1200 BC and during the Homeric era. Leather prevailed and even spread all the way to Egypt where royalty almost revered it.

And as we now live in a society that’s increasingly developing and becoming more sophisticated with each year, innovations keep coming even for an enduring material such as leather.

Leather craftsmen and tanners are still in demand even as they were during the Middle Ages. What’s better today is that there is now an alternative method that’s been invented for vegetable tanning.

Chrome tanning makes use of chemicals that make leather manufacturing a lot easier. About 80-90% of leather tanning worldwide is now done in this manner.

Leather is not just associated with clothing and bags nowadays but also in the bookbinding industry. The Victorian era began this with novels such as those of Charles Dickens being preserved because of the durability of leather.

Leather Today

<img src=&quot;brownleathersectional.jpg&quot; alt=&quot;brown tufted leather sectional in a living room.&quot;>

These days, leather is still highly valued and renowned. While there are now more options on synthetic fabrics and materials, leather remains one of the leading choices for furniture and accessories.

There are many reasons why leather fine furniture brands endure even till these days. First, very few materials can beat leather when it comes to quality. Furniture made of leather are believed to be top-of-the-line and, therefore, premier pieces.

Have you ever been invited to a spacious office where you were welcomed to a lobby filled with leather furniture pieces? What was your impression of that office? Surely, you thought of the adjectives classy or sophisticated. And with the modern tanning process now available, leather is now more resistant to sagging, cracking, or even peeling.

Leather is also a material that offers comfort. And compared to fabric couches that tend to fade, leather is more enduring. They are less likely to lose their shape. In fact, as true leather becomes more worn out, it becomes even more inviting to one’s sight.

Leather rustic furniture is breathable so it allows heat to dissipate more quickly. No matter what the weather, you are sure to feel comfortable as you sit each time on your leather couch.

Speak of durability, leather is also known to last four more times compared to fabric upholstery. It is a tough material although it is also flexible. Because it is all-natural, it is also resistant to dirt and spills. Just wipe it with a clean cloth and you’re done cleaning.

Lastly, leather is so stylish more so when it is dyed. Its unique grain, markings, and look shows just how refined you are with your furniture choices. 

Leather Prepping

<img src=&quot;leatherandmetalbarstool.jpg&quot; alt=&quot;a neutral-colored leather and metal bar stool.&quot;>

Manifesting dignity and a substantial presence, the Morrison bar stool will set the tone in any bar or dining space. A square iron frame molds purposefully around the leather back and padded bar stool seat adds solidarity and presence to any bar or dining arrangement. Lightly curved legs add function and soften the Morrison edges without detracting from the overall sense of unwavering, dignified style.

Cleaning any leather furniture is a process that asks for a huge deal of expertise and care. This is one of those materials that can be easily damaged when treated improperly. While most homeowners opt to do this task on their own, there are professionals who have been certified to address this kind of maintenance. They are the right people to call who have the right kind of cleaning materials and equipment.

Leather is preserved animal skin so it is wise that it should be treated in that manner. Any substance that can keep it moistened is the kind that could provide longevity to it.

Before you or an expert would begin to clean the leather furniture, make sure that the furniture piece has been vacuumed properly. This process may be simple but it can prevent waste materials from damaging the furniture.

Preserved animal skin is very fragile so you wouldn’t want dust or any waste to get stuck to it. Any kind of debris should be removed from it. You may use saddle soap or just about any gentle cleaning solution that can also treat the leather.

Veer away from strong chemicals as these can cause permanent staining on your leather couch, chair, recliner, or ottoman.

Leather Cleaning

As soon as you have vacuumed and prepped the gentle soap that you’ll use, be sure to apply the solution with a damp cloth. Use just a little pressure to apply and reapply the solution. Rinse the soap suds with clean water, again, using the damp cloth.

Dry the material right after it is rinsed. Use a dry cloth this time, using just a little amount of pressure.

Leather + Toothpaste?


There are stains that are deemed permanent which can actually be removed easily using toothpaste. Scrubbing will only damage the leather so it is best to make the tough stain come out using a cloth and toothpaste. If the stain remains, then have a professional take a look at your leather furniture. These experts have the safest equipment and solutions to use to remove the stain.

Leather After Stain Removal

<img src=&quot;leatherdeskchair.jpg&quot; alt=&quot;tufted brown leather desk swivel chair.&quot;> Developed by one of America's premier manufacturers to offer quality furniture at affordable prices. Each piece is meticulously hand-crafted using the most exquisite leathers in the world. The Old Saddle Fudge with Croc Accents Executive Swivel Tilt Chair is crafted using Old Saddle Fudge leather. with Croc Accents.

After the stains have been removed, leather furniture can be conditioned and treated. This must be done once to twice a year depending on how much exposure under the sunlight the leather furniture receives. Don’t think that simple silicone or oils can be used to clean leather because they have been known to stick and become permanent residues.

There are leather technicians who can expertly handle leather by erasing stains and other problems that are common to this material.

Choosing the Right Leather Caretaker

With a lot of leather cleaning companies to choose from, you might be wondering how you would end up with the best. To properly discern the best, be sure to do some research. Look for personal reviews of past clients, work samples, and their certifications. Among these three, it is important to check the last one. Certifications ensure that the business is competent enough to handle leather concerns. Certificates ascertain that the team has ample fundamental knowledge as well as the latest techniques to handle any leather situation.

So what sort of certificate should you be looking for?

Look for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration Certificate. This is also known as the IICRC which is proof of their continued evaluation. Professionals who hold this certificate know how to repair, deodorize, maintain, and even restore leather furniture.

Cleaning technicians also know the various fabric categories so they will be able to identify different fibers, sanitation chemistry, techniques of leather protection, and are even able to forecast a problem before it even happens.

Should you feel the need to ask more details about leather furniture and leather care, our expert designers are on standby. Reach them through our Designer on Demand

Melissa Webb

Melissa brings over 22 years of experience in the Interior Design field, 10 years of which she was a senior designer at Ethan Allen. Melissa has been featured in both Home Magazine and The Sacramento Bee for her residential designs.

Sue Van Den Broeke

Sue brings over 13 years experience in the furniture/design field, including thorough knowledge of Hunter Douglas products and beautiful custom window treatments. In addition, using her art background (i.e., drawing, oil painting, etc), Sue has the ability to bring a balance of colors and textures to their rooms/projects.

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