This guide will explain how to clean aniline leather. Aniline leather is a very soft and natural type of leather, as it is only dyed and contains no pigmented surface coating. As such, it soaks in stains and dirt very easily. To identify if your leather is aniline leather put a small drop of water onto the leather and if it soaks in, you'll need to follow this guide explaining how to clean it. If the water sits on the surface, read this guide to clean the leather.
Because aniline and other absorbant types of leather soak up liquids and stains very easily, it is more imporant to protect the leather from new, than to simply clean them. The leather protection cream adds a protective barrier to the leather, which helps prevent staining as it stops the liquids soaking into the leather. This in turn, makes the leather easier to clean. Watch the two videos below illustrating the benefits of protecting leather.
PROTECTION CREAM APPLIED
The video named 'unprotected leather' shows a piece of aniline leather in its natural state. You can see how quickly (instantly) the leather absorbs the spray on cleaner. If this was tea, coffee, wine or any other liquid the leather would be ruined. However, we let the leather dry out, put two coats of protection cream on and then sprayed the same cleaner on as shown in the video called 'protection cream applied'. You can see that the cleaner is held on the surface, stopping it from staining the leather.
For the benefit of those who cannot watch the videos, here is a before & after photo.
You can see thathe cleaner has soaked into the unprotected leather, but sits on the surface of the protected leather.
This is a photo of some aniline leather. As you now know from the above information, aniline leather is very absorbant and so you shouldn't spray the leather ultra clean directly onto it. The leather would just soak it up preventing it from working.
Instead, we'll turn the cleaner into a foam to make it clean easier. If your aniline leather is brand new and doesn't need cleaned, make sure you apply the leather protection cream.
To overcome the problem of the leather soaking the liquid in, pour the leather ultra clean into a foaming bottle and screw the lid on.
This turns the cleaner into a foam and so it is less likely to soak into the leather. This gives you more time to clean the surface and so makes cleaning aniline leather very effective.
Also, because aniline is unprotected it means all the dirt and grime gets into the leather, rather than just sitting on the surface.
So, inorder to clean the leather effectively, you must use a tampico brush to clean into the leather fibres and loosen the dirt. Using a sponge or cloth will not be as effective as you would only been cleaning the dirt off the surface, not from within the leather.
The Cleaning Process
Although you will be cleaning with a foam, the aniline leather can and probably still will absorb the cleaner - it will just take longer to do so. Because of this, it is difficult to see how effective your cleaning is until the leather dries out.
My advice is to divide the leather up and tackle one panel at a time. Give one panel a thorough clean and then move onto the next. When you have foam on the tampico brush, rub it into the leather in a circular motion and then as the foam absorbs the dirt wipe it off with a terry towel.
You may need to clean the aniline leather 2 or 3 times to see a good difference. This is because as you clean some dirt off, more can surface from within the leather. However, if you have protected the leather from new, you won't get this problem and it will be easy to clean.
As we are dealing with an absorbant type of leather, it is very common that the leather absorbs body oils and grease in the areas where you rest your head and arms. This noticeable by a dark patch in those areas. Using the leather ultra clean will not remove this type of stain, instead, you need to use the leather degreaser.