Aniline Leather - What is it and How to Care for It?
Aniline Leather is also called Natural, Pure, Naked or Unprotected leather. These leathers are coloured with transparent dye stuff. This means you are able to see the actual surface grain and markings. Its as if you are looking though a Coloured lens. These leathers have very little or no protective treatments applied to them. The most common thing to do is spray a wax finish on the surface that gives short term water repellent. The actual way that the leather is made varies from tannery to tannery.
Comfortable: Aniline leather feels buttery soft and readily adjusts to ambient temperature and moisture. It feels warm in winter, and cool and dry in summer.
Unique style: The natural markings and characteristics of aniline leather are visible, so every piece of aniline leather has a unique look.
Expensive: Aniline leather is made from the best quality hides, so it can be very expensive.
High maintenance: Aniline leather doesn’t have a protective topcoat, so it is highly absorbent and stains easily.
Difficult to repair: Minor damage can be repaired. But, because the repair can’t be covered using leather pigment, there will be a visible scar.
Susceptible to fading: Aniline leather is dyed but doesn’t have pigment or a protective topcoat applied. This makes it more susceptible to fading caused by sunlight and cleaning products.
SEMI ANILINE leather is similar to aniline leather, but it is usually made from lesser quality hides. Unlike aniline leather, semi aniline leather has a thin layer of pigment applied to give a more even colour and cover up any minor imperfections. Some semi-aniline leathers also have a light topcoat applied to provide additional protection. Semi aniline leathers have similar characteristics to aniline leather, but they are slightly easier to clean and maintain.
HOW TO IDENTIFY ANILINE LEATHER
1. Feel the leather. Aniline leather will feel buttery and soft.
2. The scratch test. Lightly scratch the surface of the leather with a finger nail to see if it leaves a scratch mark which is a lighter colour than the leather. If it does, the leather is aniline. A similar effect will be noticed on some nubuck leathers, so this is not the only test.
3. The water test. Wet your finger and lightly rub it into the leather. If the leather darkens slightly, but dries invisibly, it is aniline.