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Types of Leather

The leather used to cover furniture, auto interiors, and personal items such as clothing, shoes, handbags, belts, etc., is usually always one of three basic categories:

Aniline Leather

Aniline Leather is top quality natural leather which shows the surface grain markings of the hide from which it is made. Aniline leather does not have protective treatment applied to it's surface. These types of leathers are often referred to as "natural" or "pure" leather products, and they are given different colors with the use of transparent penetrating dyes. Their use in automobiles is somewhat limited to very high end vehicles, and, as rather expensive options in vehicles such as the Ford "King Ranch" series trucks. Aniline types of leathers is typically prone to sun fading. Water will darken the leather's color but it will dry to it's original color in most cases. In some instances a dark ring around the wet area will remain after drying.

Top coated Leather

Top Coated Leather is the most commonly used leather in furniture and automobile interiors, (90% of those items are top coated leather). These types of leathers are also referred to as "smooth" "pigmented" and "protected" leather because it has intense color and grain. No natural leather markings can be seen through the coated surface because a pigmented "non-penetrating" dye is used to "paint" the leather's surface. Top coated leather is very durable and will provide excellent wear characteristics if maintained properly. Water will not stain this leather nor does it scratch easily.

Suede and NuBuck Leather 

For Suede and NuBuck, the natural leather has been brushed or buffed to produce a texture similar to velvet. This process substantially increases the surface area of the leather and makes it very receptive to stains and spotting. It is difficult to clean properly and should only be cleaned with products that are specifically designed to use on Suede and NuBuck. These types of leathers, while very soft to the touch, will scratch and scuff quite easily. Water will darken this leather but it normally dries back to it's original color.