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PROTECTED LEATHERS VS PURE ANILINE LEATHERS... WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Whats the Difference in Leather?


All protected leathers have some sort of topcoat protection while pure aniline leathers are pure natural hides without any degree of protection. 

Protected leathers are leathers that have either a top-coat or additives added during the dying process.  When something is spilled on the surface it will bubble or bead up allowing you time to get something to wipe it up.  These types of leathers are also easy to wipe clean with water.

Pure aniline leathers do not have any degree of protection to the surface or otherwise.  They are only dyed using transparent dyes.  These hides are left in their most natural state.  Exposed to the elements. 

To appreciate these natural luxurious pure aniline leathers, you must be prepared for your new leather sofa to change with use.  As your body oils work through the hide it will begin to darken.  As you scratch it on the surface with your nail the color will lighten then as the oils work back into the surface it will again darken.  Luxurious beauty only found in these natural premium leather hides mostly of European origin.

Cleaning Leather Sofas

Cleaning Leather Furniture


There are cleaning and conditioning products that are endorsed by the tanneries and will work both on pure aniline leather furniture as well as protected leathers.  Although they are endorsed by the tanneries, they are not guaranteed to remove all spills.   

The leather conditioner is good to have around the house.  Using this on occasion will help your new leather chair stay soft and supple through the years.  These excellent products will also help extend the life of your new leather furniture.

We use the conditioner and cleaner for everything leather.  I use it more for my car’s leather seats than I do my leather furniture.  They are good products that will extend the life of anything leather.

Protected Leathers

Protected Leathers

These durable, easy to clean leathers are an excellent choice for active households.  Cleanable and still soft and supple.  Other names for protected leathers include protective topcoat, semi aniline or a finished leather.

Protected leathers come in all finishes and colors.  Some may be very consistent in color shading while others offer more interest that includes shade variations throughout the hides.  These durable leathers can be corrected top grain hides or full grain hides.

Corrected grain hides will have a consistent grain pattern to the surface because it has been embossed to hide blemishes.  While a full grain leather is in its most natural state, the surface has not been altered at all.

Grain pattern has no bearing on the durability of any leather.  If a leather is protected, then it will be good for active families.

Pure Aniline Leathers

Pure Aniline Leathers

These leather hides are considered premium.  You can expect pure aniline hides to show natural markings that occurred over the life of the animal.  These markings can include insect bites, barb wiring scratches or even wind burn. 

Although, some pure aniline leathers display no natural markings at all, they are smooth and considered a diamond in the ruff.

Pure aniline leathers are considered natural and ever changing.  Unlike a protected leather that will not change with use, pure aniline leathers will have a wear story.  They will change as you spill, scratch and as body oils penetrate through the hide.

Pure aniline leathers are for those folks that like natural beauty and are not afraid of variation in colors and spill markings.

Sun Exposure to Leather Furniture

Sun Exposure on Leather


I love the look and feel of a pure aniline hide but would never use that type of leather in my home.  I have a continually active household with dogs, kids, grandchildren, and lots of sunlight.  Living in South Carolina we have a lot of sunshine and windows to let the light in.

Pure aniline leathers will fade with UV rays much faster than a protected leather will.  UV rays should not be a concern unless you will have direct or reflective sunlight that shines onto your new leather sofa.  If that is going to be the case, then I would strongly encourage you to buy a protected leather unless you like change over longevity.

Protected or semi aniline leathers handle sunlight far better than a pure aniline over time.

Genuine leather is strong, easy to care for and so luxurious.  There is no doubt that you will find a leather for your new leather furniture that will be perfect for your lifestyle.

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