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Thread: Zebra Skin Rug - How to clean or hydrate this 20 plus years old zebra skin I got from S. Africa?

  1. #1
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    Default Zebra Skin Rug - How to clean or hydrate this 20 plus years old zebra skin I got from S. Africa?

    I have a twenty pus year old zebra skin non-felt the I got in S.A. It's never been cleaned or hydrated...I've read where you shouldn't wet the skin because it will shrivel. I'd like to get some info on how to clean it safely. Also if there is any place in the Los Angeles area that does it?

    Roger...Sorry it took so long but here are my Zebra pics. If the underside isn't enough I can take more. Give me your thoughts and advice on how do rehab it and which of your products are appropriate. thanx.

    #1


    #2


    #3


    #4


    #5

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    My comments on the pictures…

    Picture #5
    This picture shows the reverse side. Its color of bluish gray is typical of a “chrome-tanned” skin. Raw-hide would have the typical creamy transparency look just like those bone-shape rawhides chew for dogs and they are pretty stiff and hard. To confirm that it is tanned and not raw-hide, the reverse has to be suede and the suede fibers can be scrap off. Using a suede Eraser-5 will renew its nap.

    Picture #4
    This picture shows the color difference from the front and the back. If the back is the same color as the front, then it may not be chrome-tanned. It also show that the skin has loss it suppleness with diminished original fatliquor.

    Picture #3
    This picture shows the thinning of hair at the franks. Skins on these weaker areas are not as tight. Diminishing original fatliquor further causes the skin to lose its strength that need to be replenished. Further lubricating the hair with a silky feel will reduce friction wear.

    Picture #2
    This picture shows the empty skin without the fatliquor fullness with coarse break or fault line creases.

    Picture #1
    The curl up edges, coarse breaks at frank and tail are sign of skin dryness. Moisture contents of a healthy skin should be averaging 14%. And most of this moisture contents comes from fatliquor. Fatliquor is an emulsion of fat and oil in water that looks like fresh milk. The fat will plumps up the leather with fullness; the oil is to lubricate the skin with softness, suppleness and strength; and the water with a smaller molecule than the fat and oil encased them to penetrate the skin and breaks free thereafter to leave a breathing space between the inter-fibrillary spaces for the healthy skin to breathe.

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    I have a twenty pus year old zebra skin non-felt the I got in S.A. It's never been cleaned or hydrated...

    20 years is a long time, the fat and oil that makes the skin supple has long evaporated as VOC (volatile organic compound). Fatliquor, the lifeblood of skin and leathers needs to be periodically replenished to maintain its perpetual softness, suppleness and strength. Now, this tannery grade fatliquor is available in a bottle for simple application without putting them into tanning drums to process it.


    I've read where you shouldn't wet the skin because it will shrivel.

    Why it is so that wetting the skin will damage it in the aftercare and the same skin is process from the tannery completely wet through. The secret is in knowing the pH of the wetness at every stage of the tanning process, with the end result of the skin averaging from pH 3 to 5. Now any wetness at this stage with even water at pH 7 and above will cause the denaturing of the skin. Because leather is protein fiber and besides up to more than a quarter in weights is other constituents that make up the leather, otherwise it is not leather without these constituents such as the tanning agent and the fatliquor. Protein leather has a positive charge and the other tanning agents and fatliquor are negatively charged. They are hydrogen-bond like magnet unlike poles attracts. If solution has a pH above the leather neutral of 3 to 5, it will cause the protein fibers to shift its ionic charge negative. This will cause the breaking of the fatliquor hydrogen-bonding commonly manifest as stiffness when skin is wet and dry again.

    I'd like to get some info on how to clean it safely.

    There are two sides to the cleaning, the suede side and the hair side.

    The cleaning sequence of process for the suede side is as follows:
    1] Suede Eraser-5 is used to re-nap and exfliolate deteriorated fibers.
    2] Basic cleaning is done with Cleaner-3.8 follows with Rinse-3.0
    3] Hydrating is done with Hydrator-3.3 to relax unwanted coarse breaks or creases.
    4] Fatliquor replenishing is done with Faliquor-5.0

    It is only after the suede side is satisfactory cleaned and rejuvenated to the desired softness, suppleness and strength that the hair side commences it cleaning and conditioning (lubricating).

    The cleaning sequence of process for the hair side is as follows:
    1] Dry soil removal with comb grooming and vacuuming.
    2] Cleaning is done with Wool Cleaner-5.5 follows with Wool Rinse-4.0
    3] When dry Protection-S+ is recommended to lubricate the hair with a silky feel.

    Note that the product name suffix numbers denotes the pH value of the product. The neutral pH for skin is from 3 to 5, while the pH of hair averages 5.5. All the above mentioned products are both leather-safe and hair-safe.

    Roger Koh
    [email protected]
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 12-13-2011 at 11:53 PM.

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    Here's the recommended kit...


    Leather Doctor® Kit H4 : Hair-on-Hide - Standard Care Kit

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    Hi Roger, Yes, I have a couple of questions. Can you tell me the contents of some of the products you say I should use and how much to use.


    Below are the contents that comes with the kit, it is not pack to complete a skin; it's more of a test out. Refill are also available in concentrates to save on shipping.

    Contents:

    Leather Doctor® Cleaner-3.8 in 250ml.
    This is a Ph 3.8 all purpose leather-safe anionic cleaner that is particularly effective in emulsifying oily soils and in suspending its particulates. It works by penetrating, lubricating and suspending soiling safely and effectively through gentle chemical reaction; working in perfect harmony with all leather constituents that include the tanning agent, preservative, dyestuff and especially the fatliquor. It’s safe for all leather trims including; aniline, vachetta, nubuck and suede. This product is always followed through with Rinse-3.0 as a system to a healthy squeaky feel.

    Leather Doctor® Rinse-3.0 in 250ml.
    This is a pH 3.0 aqueous anionic leather-safe rinse to neutralize harmful alkaline and perspiration residues; for stabilizing and strengthening leather to its neutral pH value of 3 to 5 chemistry integrity. It’s safe for all leather trims including; aniline, vachetta, nubuck and suede.

    Leather Doctor® Hydrator-3.3 in 250ml
    This is a pH 3.3 aqueous leather-safe hydrator with active surfactantcy for lowering the interfacial tension between the protein leather fibers and its constituents. It’s for relaxing creases and wrinkle and eliminating them while damp prior to fatliquoring it. It’s for hydrating dried, stiffed or shrunk leathers to separates the crushed, stick together fibrils and relaxes them in the inter-fibrillary leather structure for effective distribution of the Fatliquor-5.0. It’s for charging the leather protein fibers below its iso-electric point positive to hydrogen-bond with the ionic negative charged Fatliquor-5.0. It’s for facilitating colloidal water movement within the leather structure during the wicking process to move soiling particulates to the surface. It’s for reactivating the dormant dyestuff to resurface thus reducing the contrast between the color coat and the leather crust. It’s for reducing or eliminate blotchiness when dry especially absorbent leathers. It’s for facilitating better finish penetration during refinishing thus providing good surface properties, especially the uniformity of surface dyeing during aniline refinishing. It’s safe for other leather trims that may include aniline, vachetta, nubuck, suede, hair-on-hide and woolskin.

    Leather Doctor® Fatliquor-5.0 in 250ml
    This is a pH 5.0 anionic charged micro emulsion fatliquor leather rejuvenator. It’s for replenishing original fatliquor that has diminished thru sun-bleaching, ageing, heat and alkaline exposure or cleaning. It penetrates and lubricates the leather fibers so that after drying, they are capable of sliding over one another smoothly. Besides softening the leather with stretchability, compressibility and flexibility; fatliquor enhances its rip tensile strength greatly thus reduces split or tear to the stitching and perforated holes. It relaxes coarse breaks, creases and wrinkles to provide drapes, suppleness and prevents cracking. It helps to keep leather at its optimum physical performance and prevent premature ageing. It’s safe for all other leather trims including; aniline, vachetta, nubuck, suede, hair-on-hide and woolskin. It is available with infused leather scent as Fatliquor LS-5.5.

    Cleaner-5.5 (250ml)
    It’s for Hair-on-Hide and Wool of Woolskin, Sheepskin, Shearling, Feather and all fabrics except rayon and silk.
    This is a pH 5.5 aqueous wool-safe mild disinfectant cleaner. It cleans gently by penetrating, lubricating and suspending soiling through chemical reaction with odor control during drying.

    Rinse-4.0 (250ml)
    It’s for Hair-on-Hide and Wool of Woolskin, Sheepskin, Shearling, Feather and all fabrics except rayon and silk.
    This is a pH 4.0 aqueous wool-safe rinse. It’s for rinsing, neutralizing and stabilizing wool and hair fiber pH chemistry integrity.

    Protection-S+Leather Scent-S (250ml)
    It’s silky-feel for Pure-Aniline, Nubuck, Suede, Hair-On-Hide and Woolskin leather types.
    This is a non-film forming, non-stick, rub-resistant protector that enhances a natural silky-feel, with a classic leather scent. It imparts a non-stick, breathable barrier, essentially to shield the detrimental effects of sticky soiling, including the nasty ballpoint ink. And it does help to release those tenacious dye-transfer stains, especially on light colored leathers easily, without resorting to costly color repairs. Its natural silky-feel protection increases the leather resistance to wet and dry rubs, thus reduce stretch, scuff and abrasion. And it reduces friction squeaks that wear the finishes when leather is rubbed against during movement.

    Suede Eraser-5
    This is a 2½ x 2 x ¾ inch fine pumice block with corrugated side for effective nap exfoliation.

    Suede Brush-3
    This brass bristles detailing brush is ergonomically designed to be an extension of your hand with sturdy grooved grip, designed to produce effective result easily and efficiently. It’s recommended for split suede that provides tough, aggressive cleaning with mild abrasiveness; to reduce aggressiveness slant it at an angle especially for cleaning hair on hide. Length is 7 inches with a three row bristle 1½ inches cleaning head.

    PolyBrush®
    This is the 3” made in USA washable foam brush that last. It’s used for spreading the Prep-7.7, rinse clean and thereafter used for the leather Scent-B and Scent-D application to prevent overspray.

    Washable Rags
    This rag works like cloth, lint free and highly absorbent for extracting suspended soiling or for wiping the leather Scent-B and Scent-D during routine easy cleaning-protection application.



    Also, do I start with the back or suede part first and do i let both sides dry before continuing.


    Cleaning and conditioning (fatliquor replenishing) is done to the suede side first in this sequence:
    1] Suede Eraser-5 is used to re-nap and exfliolate deteriorated fibers.
    2] Basic cleaning is done with Cleaner-3.8 follows with Rinse-3.0
    3] Hydrating is done with Hydrator-3.3 to relax unwanted coarse breaks or creases.
    4] Fatliquor replenishing is done with Faliquor-5.0.

    It is only after the suede side is satisfactory cleaned and rejuvenated to the desired flatness, softness, suppleness and strength that the hair side commences it cleaning and conditioning (lubricating).

    The cleaning sequence of process for the hair side is as follows:
    1] Dry soil removal with comb grooming and vacuuming.
    2] Cleaning is done with Wool Cleaner-5.5 follows with Wool Rinse-4.0
    3] When dry Protection-S+ is recommended to lubricate the hair with a silky feel.



    Actually, are there directions that come with this kit? I don't want to ruin the zebra skin.


    Individual products will have their instruction, but instructions in these posts is specifically to help you through. The pH of the hair is 5.5 and the pH of the skin is from 3 – 5. The products suffix indicates its pH value – they are hair and leather safe even if they are completely soak wet for 72 hours – it’s even stronger than it is right now, especially with the hydrator at pH 3.3 and fatliquor at pH 5.0.



    In addition, the tail has a tear which I didn't send you, but will if you ask. It needs to be repaired.


    Basically you need Leather Bond-3D, let’s have a look at pictures and I will recommend the best approach to the repair – that is should not look like an obvious repair – if it is to retain its value.



    And lastly, what are your thoughts as to putting the skin on a backing as I've seen done in fotos from sellers?

    Backing with solvent based adhesive, dries up the skin. My recommendation is to leave as it is - easily flipping over to check for liquid stain from spills direct or indirect - or potential insect.
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 12-20-2011 at 01:25 AM.

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    Here's the instruction for the skin side...

    ■ Hair-on Hide Suede Side - Cleaning and Conditioning (Original Fatliquor Replenishing) System:
    The main objective of this system is to rejuvenate the skin side with the original fatliquor to relax the stiffness and returning the skin with softness, suppleness and strength. The sequence of process would still involve removing of foreign soiling in both dry and wet cleaning prior to hydrating it for an effective fatliquor replenishing to soften it.
    Instructions
    1st phase – Suede Side Cleaning:
    The objective of this process is to remove general surface soiling.
    1a) Dry Soil Removal:
    1] Vacuum off foreign soiling with help of Suede Brush-1.
    2] Exfoliate to renew fresh nap with help of Suede Eraser-5, follows with vacuum cleaner.
    1b) Wet Soil Removal:
    1] Apply Cleaner-3.8 and agitate with Brush-3/Eraser-5 and towel extract until it shows clean.
    2] Spray Rinse-3.0 and towel extract to a squeaky clean.
    1c) Optional Spots and Stains Removal:
    Specialty cleaning system applies to match the remaining soiling types, using the Leather-Safe Problem Solving Guide-S9 - Suede as reference.
    2nd phase - Hydrating:
    Hydrating is to relax the skin of stiffness from diminishing fatliquor. Fatliquor diminishes as the skin ages, accelerated when expose to direct heat and evaporates as VOC (volatile organic compound). Stiffness is common from a water damage situation too, when fatliquor leaches out, and when it becomes dry again the fibrils becomes stick to one another. Hydrating is to precondition the skin for an effective fatliquor replenishing; it helps to relax and separate the stick together fibrils and opens up the inter-fibrillary spaces for effective water movement within the leather structure. It facilitates to wick-up foreign contamination to be towel extracted when damp and erased when crispy dry. It plumps the leather to ease away the unnatural creases and wrinkles. It stabilizes the pH integrity of the skin and charges the skin protein fiber positive below its isoelectric point to hydrogen-bond with the negative fatliquor more effectively. It is therefore recommended to hydrate the skin to an optimum level, with moistures oozing out when gently pressed between thumb and fingers. Prolong dwell time will maximize the effects with the help of covering with clear plastic to prevent evaporation.
    1] Spray Hydrator-3.3, with white lint-free towel control to hydrate the entire thickness of the leather; extract with dry absorbent white terry towel to inspect for an even appearance without blotchiness and it’s ready for immediate fatliquoring.
    3rd phase - Fatliquor Replenishing:
    Fatliquor originally introduces to the skin to impart it desirous suppleness continues to diminish through evaporation as the skin ages, accelerated when exposed to heat. It diminishes through leaching as well in a non leather-safe solution, manifest as stiffness when the skin becomes dry again. Replenishing is done with “fatliquor-in-a-bottle” as a spray-on instead of the original immersion method. Fatliquor, the lifeblood of leathers; derived from fats, oils and water. Looks like fresh milk, when applies penetrates the leather and hydrogen-bond with the skin protein fiber. The fat plumps the skin with fullness, the oil lubricates the individual fibrils and the encasing water breaks free leaving the inter-fibrillary spaces void for transpiration. Effective fatliquoring will leave a non-greasy or non-oily surface when dry. Besides softening the skin with flatness; fatliquor enhances its rip tensile strength greatly. It relaxes coarse breaks, creases and wrinkles and prevents cracking. It helps to keep the skin at its optimum physical performance and prevent premature ageing.
    1] Spray Fatliquor-5.0, with foam brush control for an even appearance.
    2] Repeat application in between drying as the water contents evaporates until it’s saturated.
    3] The fully saturated leather is left for slow natural drying for extra softness.
    4] Use Eraser-4 to remove wicks up residue and inspect for visual satisfaction.

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    Default Rawhide zebra skin rug?

    Roger, I am pretty sure zebra skin is raw hide. It is creamy color, not suede. How can I rejuvenate it? It is three years old and hard, not supple at all.

    Thanks!

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    If you are pretty sure its "rawhide" than I do not know how to soften it!

    It has to be "leather" as the reverse side to be effective soften it!

    Do you like to do a simple test out, if its leather?

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    How could I tell if it is leather or rawhide? I am assuming rawhide as the reverse is creamy color and not really suede.

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    Here are a few ways or methods to identify or differentiate between rawhide and leather...

    Identify by Noise:
    From pictures #5 above, to fold it as it is would be noisy if it is rawhide, leather would be like folding a thick canvass not much of a noise.

    Identify by Color & Appearance:
    Leather come in various color including white, bluish-green and brown usually opaque in appearance, rawhide is typical what you see in a pet shop made into shape of bones and are usually of one transparent amber color – stiff and hard.

    Identify by Absorption:
    Hardly can a rawhide be wet through and water pools on the surface with tackiness; leather because the fibers have been separated would be absorbent with water normally without the tackiness.

    Identify by Scrapping:
    When leather is scrape with a curve blade it will produce fibers; quite unlikely on a stiff rawhide.

    Identify by Sight:
    If you can take a close-up pictures of the tail damage and can see the overstretch skin we may spot loose fibers – then its leather.

    Identify by Suppleness:
    From above picture #2, if the crease can be easily pull to straighten up – its leather – Not possible to straighten with rawhide unless its wet – just like what’s done with rawhide drums.

    Note:
    Rawhide has to be “Tanned” before it can be converted into leather.
    Leather can return back to rawhide if all that’s put into the leather leaches out or evaporated often refer to as “denaturing” of the leather.

    We have to go through the above to positively identify it, otherwise send me a slice of an edge and post to me for further testing.
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 01-02-2012 at 12:44 PM.

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