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FURNITURE CARE

Furniture Care: Caring For Your Leather Sofa

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A sofa or chair is not just a piece of furniture. It is a haven to escape to.

Every sofa, chair and ottoman we build is crafted in high quality materials. Totally Natural leather highlights the natural characteristics of the hide, while Family Friendly leather has a more uniform, kid-friendly finish. Both are comfortable and beautiful. And, like some of us, they may grow to look even better with age.

We understand the nuances of hide and its application to furniture design. Each range design is expertly matched to selected hides to give the ultimate combination of style and comfort.

When it comes to creating new designs, we don’t just study furniture. We study people. How they sit, how they watch, how they read, how they stretch and how they relax. Because we want you to do all that and more on your sofa.

This guide has been created to help you understand leather upholstery, so you can appreciate the quality and unique characteristics of your genuine leather purchase, and the necessary care and maintenance guidelines to ensure your sofa will be with you for years to come.

Understanding Genuine Upholstery Leather

Soft, supple and highly durable, leather is a versatile and universally popular upholstery cover for furniture. The best quality upholstery leathers breathe and feel cool in summer and warm during winter.

The hides are made ready for upholstery by tanning, which is a series of treatments that soften, pigment, beautify and protect the hides. 

Freedom Materials & Finishes

Depending on treatments used, genuine upholstery leathers come in three basic types. Each has differing performance, as well as a distinctive look and feel. Freedom leathers also come in a wide variety of timeless and fashion colours with textured, original finishes to suit your decor and lifestyle needs. Made from the finest raw materials, our leathers are put through a series of rigorous tests that ensure optimal performance.

  • Totally Natural Leather: Totally natural leathers are made from the strong, top-grain (surface) layer of the cattle hide. These hides often show their natural growth marks or scars. Totally Natural leathers are graded to exhibit more or less of their natural characteristics. These variations in markings can be subtle or pronounced, depending on the selection of hide and the extent of the leather finishing treatments. Finding highly valued, unblemished hides that also show off their natural characteristics - grain variations, growth lines etc, is the proof that you are investing in the best leather, with the most sought after quality and value
  • Family Friendly Leather: Family friendly leather uses the strong top-grain layer from quality cattle hide, but these hides may have shown excessive marks, scars, insect bites, tears, nicks, bruises etc. To be used for selected Freedom upholstery, the impact of these irregularities need to be reduced; usually by lightly buffing (sanding and filling) the hide’s top-grain surface. A uniform grain pattern is then embossed into the leather, to restore an overall ‘even grain’ look. Family Friendly leathers are more strongly finished, to enhance their look and wear and provide excellent value for money as day-to-day leather furniture covers
  • Split Leather:  On some of our designs, Freedom have selected leather ‘splits’ to upholster the furniture’s outside back or sides. These ‘splits’ are genuine cattle hide, literally a layer of hide that’s ‘split-away’ from just under the stronger top grain layer. While the leather Split does not have the same strength and resilience as premium Full or Corrected Grain leathers, modern tanning methods offer practical use of the Split, making leather panels with an embossed grain that matches the look of the premium top grain leathers. Not only does this technique maximise the yield from the cattle hide, it provides an economical alternative to all over top-grain leather upholstery.
Hallmarks of Natural Leather

Your Freedom furniture features unique and handmade signatures that individually personalise every design. Just as no two fingerprints are alike, each piece of leather is distinctive in its markings. These markings add beauty to the leather and serve as proof of its authenticity. Leather is a natural material, so every hide has unique characteristics; and as our furniture is made from many hides, the leather may show slight colour and grain variation - this is only natural when you are buying quality leather.

Age adds character and reflects how the leather furniture has been used during its lifetime. Over the years, leather adapts itself to the user and develops a personalised and individual look.

With regular use, as the leather fibres relax, we expect that comfort creases may form in the areas that receive the most body contact, such as seat and back cushions. All these signs serve as more evidence of the leather’s authenticity and should be no cause for concern.

The naturally changing patina of some premium leather finishes
The less surface treatment your leather has, usually the softer and more natural it will appear and feel. Pure aniline and some semi-aniline finishes, as well as leathers with a ‘waxy’ or ‘pull-up’ finish, will continue to change appearance as the leather ages, responding to your lifestyle and the way you use your furniture.

Most Common Characteristics
Scars, wrinkles and folds all contribute to the natural beauty of top grain leathers and do not affect the performance or longevity of the leather. These characteristics may include insect bites, scratches, veining, blood marks and stretch marks which are considered normal.

Over time these details will deepen into a beautifully distressed look – a testament to its authenticity.

Dyes are absorbed differently throughout the hide and some colour variation is normal and expected. Colour variation ranges from slight in pigmented top-coat protected finishes, to distinct, in semi or semi aniline and totally natural leathers, with no colour pigments.

Good Looks Need To Be Maintained

Prior to your Freedom product leaving the factory, it will receive a final inspection. It will then be wrapped in order to protect it and minimise movement whilst in transit. Once unpacked, leather sofas may require “dressing”. This is quite normal and very easy to perform using the following steps:

  • Plump up the back cushions and arm pads of each sofa
  • Ease the leather gently into shape with the palms of your hands
  • Spread the leather across the seat cushions in the same way
  • Give the sofa time to “warm up” and relax (this may take a few days in a warm room)

Seating comfort
Advances in structural and seating design technologies have resulted in more durable and ‘softer-sit comfort’, whilst still maintaining the necessary body-correct support. To extend the comfort life of your cushions, avoid sitting on the edges of foam cushions as this may cause premature loss of structural shape. If your furniture features loose seat and/or back cushions, regularly rotate the cushion positions, to help all seats settle and give a consistent feel across your furniture.

Solid foundation
The load bearing components of Freedom’s frames are correctly engineered from various timbers and timber composites. Timber products, such as structural grade plywoods, are featured in appropriate areas according to the requirements of the design.

Good Looks Need To Be Maintained

A quality sofa doesn’t wear out, it wears in.
If your new Freedom sofa feels or looks a little different to the one you saw in the store (the seat may feel firmer; the leather may look tighter), that’s because your furniture is brand new, unlike the store’s floor sample which may have already been well ‘run-in’ by many visitors. Like a new pair of shoes with regular use your new furniture will gradually begin to adapt to your expectations.

An advantage to bear in mind is that a fine sofa or chair doesn’t wear out, it wears in. This means that your sofa can (and will) relax into a more casual appearance over time. During the first few weeks of use comfort creases and wrinkles will naturally form in the leather. These characteristics of upholstery give it a soft inviting look that is an inherent feature of leather upholstery.

Similar to a new car, your sofa may have a strong smell after it is unpacked. This is normal and after airing in a well-ventilated room or open space, the smell will dissipate. Depending on the surrounding environment the smell may dissipate quickly or over a longer period of time.
 

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Caring For Your Leather Upholstery

Although leather is one of the oldest and most durable upholstery materials, it still needs regular, correct care and cleaning to maintain its natural beauty. You can significantly extend the life of your leather upholstered furniture by following these simple DO’s and DON’T’s:

  • DO clean the leather regularly with a soft, damp (with water), white, colour-fast cloth to remove grease, dirt and dust. Vacuum the leather carefully, using small rounded brushes, to remove dust particles.
  • DO fully clean, condition and protect your furniture with our Freedom care products (or similar water based cleaning product) every three months (or more frequently with high use), to remove dirt and gradual accumulation of household grime, body oil and perspiration. Follow the easy usage instructions that accompany these products.
  • DO blot all spills immediately with a soft, clean, white, dry cloth as protected leather is porous and can absorb unattended spills and stains. Do not rub.
  • DO keep pets and sharp objects away from your leather furniture.
  • DO NOT use soap, saddle soaps, oils, all-purpose cleaners, detergents, solvents, spray cleaners or abrasive cleaners on your leather furniture.
  • DO NOT dry the leather in sunlight or with a hair dryer.
  • DO NOT expose your leather furniture to extreme heat (maintain at least 30cm between your sofa and a radiator or similar heat source).
  • DO NOT place your furniture in direct sunlight. Leathers are light sensitive and will fade over time.
  • DO NOT place sharp or heavy objects on leather furniture as it may damage the leather.

Maintaining Your Recliner

If your new furniture piece includes electric power reclining seats:

  • ALWAYS fully close the footrest BEFORE getting out of the furniture.
  • DO NOT move the furniture unless the footrest is locked in the closed position.
  • DO NOT pull on the seat back arm, or sit on the arms.
  • DO NOT pull or sit on the open foot rest, as this will damage the mechanism.

When operating the mechanism, keep children or body parts clear to avoid injury.

Transformers are supplied with electric power motion furniture, so ensure that power to these is fitted correctly and power cords are safely positioned.

As the recliners contain moving parts, slight noises will be audible when the recliner is operating.

Things to note

  • Unprotected aniline leathers will rapidly absorb spills and stains.
  • These natural finishes require special attention, as well as specific care products. Ask your Freedom consultant for guidance.
  • Some medications may interact with your leather furniture causing damage to your product which is not covered by the Freedom warranty.
  • Do not move the sofa by dragging or lifting by the armrests.
  • Do not move the sofa by pushing or pulling it.
  • Do not jump or throw yourself onto the sofa.
  • Do not sit on the arms and/or the back of the sofa.The correct way to move the sofa is by lifting it from the base, but avoid using the feet as a level to prevent breaking them.

Failing to care properly for your leather product may invalidate your Freedom warranty.

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