water damaged leather

How to Salvage Water-Damaged Leather Items

Mold Restoration

It’s not the end of the world if your leather goods get wet. Whether it’s from a spill, rain, or flood, there are ways to salvage your water-damaged leather apparel, furniture, and other items. First, let’s take a look at what kinds of leathers exist.

Types of Leather

There are four main types of leather:

  • Top-grain — This is the highest quality leather. It is made from the outermost layer of the hide and has been sanded and buffed to remove any imperfections.
  • Full-grain — This is also high-quality leather. It is made from the outermost layer of the hide. It has not been sanded or buffed, however, so it retains its natural grain.
  • Split-grain — This is lower-quality leather. It is made from the inner layers of the hide and is generally not as durable as top or full-grain leather.
  • Bonded — This is the lowest quality leather. It is made from bits and pieces of leather that have been glued or bonded together.

Grain leather is the highest quality leather. There are three basic kinds of grain leathers:

  • Aniline — Aniline leather is the most natural and expensive type of leather. It is dyed with soluble dyes and has no surface coating. This process makes it very soft and comfortable but more susceptible to water damage.
  • Semi-aniline — Semi-aniline leather is similar to aniline leather but with a thin layer of pigment or other sealant applied to the surface. This aspect makes it less likely to suffer water damage, yet it’s less breathable.
  • Protected — Protected leather has a thick layer of pigment or sealant applied to the surface. This makes it the most resistant leather to water damage, but it can also make the leather less comfortable and more prone to cracking.

How Sensitive Is Leather to Water?

Leather is a natural product, and as such, it is very water-sensitive. Even the slightest bit of moisture can cause the leather to swell and change shape.

The problem exists because leathers naturally bind to water molecules. As the water evaporates, natural oils also evaporate, making it stiff. Sometimes, the bacteria or other contaminants in the water are responsible for the leather damage. For example, mold growth is a common issue when dealing with wet leather.

If you have ever seen leather apparel, leather shoes, or other items that have been damaged by water, you know how unsightly they can be. The good news is that with the proper treatment and conditioner, most water-damaged leather can be repaired.

water damaged leather
Mold can grow on all types of leather items, even on shoes.

How to Restore Water-Damaged Grain Leather

If your wet leather furniture is aniline or semi-aniline, extra care is required when cleaning and drying it. These types of leather are more susceptible to staining and fading, so repairing it in time matters. 

Blot the water with a clean, dry cloth, and then let the leather air dry. Once it’s dry, you can condition it with a leather conditioner to help restore its natural oils.

If your water-damaged leather furniture is protected, you have a little more leeway. You can clean it with a mild soap and water solution, followed by a leather conditioner. Protected leather is less likely to stain or fade, so you don’t have to be as worried about acting quickly.

No matter what type of leather furniture you have, acting fast when it gets wet is critical. The sooner you start the repair process, the better your chances of restoring your furniture to its former glory.

How to Fix Water-Damaged Leather Furniture

If you have a water-damaged leather couch or sofa, the first thing you need to do is assess the damage. If the leather is cracked or flaking, repairing it will be more difficult. If the damage is limited to discoloration or water spots, you may be able to salvage the piece of furniture. Here are key tips:

  • Remove any excess water from the surface of the leather. This can be done with a soft fabric or a vacuum cleaner.
  • Dry the leather thoroughly. This can be done using a hairdryer on the low setting or by placing the leather in a sunny spot.
  • Once the leather is dry, repair any cracks or damage that has been caused by the water.
  • For small cracks, you can use a leather repair kit. These kits contain everything you need to make small repairs to your furniture.
  • For bigger cracks or damage, you may need to take your furniture to a professional for repair.

How to Remove Mold From Leather

Wet leather is the perfect environment for mold to grow. If you find mold on your leather furniture, it is important to remove it as quickly as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Remove any excess water from the surface of the leather. This can be done with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner.
  • Pour a small amount of distilled water on a dry cloth and then use the damp cloth to gently wipe the moldy areas.
  • Dry the leather thoroughly. This can be done with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner.
  • If the mold persists, mix equal parts distilled water and vinegar in a spray bottle and mist the affected areas. Let the solution sit for half an hour, and then wipe the moldy surface again with a damp cloth.
  • Dry the leather again by placing it in a sunny spot to help prevent future mold growth.

Does Insurance Cover Water-Damaged Leather?

If your leather furniture has been damaged by water, you may be wondering if your insurance will cover the damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have a provision for water damage, but it is important to check with your insurer to be sure.

Some insurers require that you take action to prevent further damage before they will cover the cost of repairs. For example, if your leather couch has been soaked by a broken pipe, your insurer may require that you have the couch professionally cleaned and treated before they will pay for the repairs.

water damaged leather cleaning
You can easily maintain leather couches by using a good leather conditioner.

How to Prevent Leather Furniture From Getting Wet

Take preventative steps to avoid water damage to your leather furniture by doing the following:

  • Identify any potential sources of water in your home, such as leaky pipes or windows. Once you have found the source of the problem, you can take steps to fix it.
  • Keep a clean and lint-free cloth on hand to wipe up any water that may spill on your furniture.
  • Place your furniture away from potential sources of water, such as windows or doors.
  • Invest in a good quality leather conditioner. This will help to create a barrier between your furniture and any potential water damage.
  • Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight. This can cause the leather to dry out and become cracked and damaged.
  • If you do have to clean your furniture, be sure to use a gentle cleanser and avoid scrubbing at the leather. This can cause water stains and further damage.

For Furniture Damage Restoration, Call the PuroClean Professionals!

If you have wet leather furniture, it is important to act quickly to repair the damage. PuroClean offers a wide range of services to help you restore your furniture to its original condition.

Our team of professionals will work with you to assess the damage and come up with a plan of action. We use the latest technologies and techniques to restore your furniture and minimize any further damage.

Call us today to learn more about our furniture damage restoration services! We are here to help you salvage your water-damaged leather furniture.

Last edited on 17th of June 2022