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Thread: Restoration of Discolored Used Leather Sofa

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2021

    Default Restoration of Discolored Used Leather Sofa

    Hello everyone. I recently purcased a used leather sofa and noticed that some pale/discolored spots started to appear on the sofa yesteday. I had cleaned the sofa with a vinegar/water solution and a leather cleaner but the spots only appeared in one part of the sofa. Does anyone know what these spots are and how to repair the sofa?


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Greater Vancouver, Canada.


    >>> Does anyone know what these spots are and how to repair the sofa?

    The first step is to identify the spot, then find a matching solution, and the last resort of repair is by color refinishing.

    Here are some tips for identifying these spots.

    Appearance -
    Stain identification by appearance will show whether it is the characteristic of a spill, rub-on, penetrated or deposited. It may also reveal dye or finishes damages cause by the stain.

    Odor -
    Stain identification by smell can be very helpful in positive identification. Some of the more common odors may be moldy, smoke, putrid, or ammonia from urine.

    Color -
    Stain identification by color will also give a clue to the staining material. If the stain is red, it could be beverages, nail polish, lipstick, blood, or some other things. Color identification may not necessarily be right; with time, a red bloodstain may turn to a stain that is tan

    Feel of Hand -
    Stain identification by feel of hand may help determine the stain types. For instance, if it is sticky and red it could be candy, beverages, or other things that have sugar in them. If the stain is brittle and stiff, it may be nail polish, shellac, or paint. If it smears, it may have a grease base to it, such as lipstick.

    Location -
    Stain identification by location may give a clue as to the makeup of the staining substance. If it is dark at the headrest or the edge of the armrest, it is most likely stained by body oil, grease, and perspiration by hand or by the head.

    Buildup or Absorbed -
    A stain may take several appearances. The stain may be lying on top of the leather (buildup) on most pigmented leather or absorbed into the leather on most unfinished, aniline, and nubuck leathers. Naturally, it could also be a combination of absorbed and built up. If it has been absorbed, this will be an indication that it was a liquid when it penetrates the leather. It should also alert us that it may have chemically changed the dye of the leather. An example of this would be a perspiration stain that has reacted with the leather dye and changed it in some way. This would occur more likely on dyed absorbent leathers. The perspiration could also have weakened the fibers of the leather. In any event, this leather may show a marked color change in that area after spotting, and possibly after cleaning. Examples of built-up stains are paint and some foodstuff, etc. Examples of absorbed stains are beverages, wine, tea, coffee, etc. A combination stain may be lipstick, ink, mustard, etc. it will have part of its staining matter absorbed into the leather and part of it accumulated on the surface. A stain may also be a substance that has wet solvent-soluble and dry solvent-soluble components combined. An example of this would be gravy which contains grease, flour (from the plant), and milk (from an animal). Paint-type stains are readily detected because of their stiff nature and generally bright colors and they seem to be sitting on top of the leather. When identifying stains always try to determine whether they are of a protein, cellulose, oil-based, or a colloidal make-up nature. Three common types of soiling or stain are solvent-soluble, water-soluble, and insoluble. Stains are frequently of a combination nature, and in most instances, there will be no information from the customer regarding the stain especially if they are bought used.

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    Roger Koh
    Leather, Skin, Hair, Eye & Acne Care System Formulator
    Consultant / Practitioner / Instructor / Coach
    email: [email protected]

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