How to Clean and Maintain Faux Leather

Faux leather no longer has the reputation of being just a cheap alternative to real leather. But remember: just because it looks like genuine leather, doesn’t mean you can treat it the same way.

Faux leather goes by a few different names: synthetic leather, pleather or artificial leather. Some companies even have their own proprietary name for it. At the start of the 20th century, as more and more cost-efficient leather alternatives started to be developed, faux leather became the first choice for many designer goods as well as ever more popular vegan shoes and clothing.

What’s the difference between faux leather and genuine leather?

Genuine leather is a natural material made from tanned animal hide. Faux leather, on the other hand, is comprised of a textile base that is coated with a PVC or polyurethane outer layer. You’ll often find faux leather being used for seat cushions in public transport even though it is less durable than genuine leather. While genuine leather isn’t as easy to clean, it handles scratches and signs of wear better – they simply add to its character.

In comparison, faux leather is more likely to tear or flake. Many synthetic leathers also lack in breathability, meaning your feet are more likely to sweat when they’re tucked into faux leather shoes. If the option is available, try to purchase microperforated faux leather shoes, which are much more breathable.

One of the biggest advantages of faux leather is its lack of water sensitivity. Some types can even be thrown into the washing machine, whereas genuine leather would be ruined in the wash. Faux leather shoes are also naturally more water resistant than genuine leather shoes, even before you apply waterproofing treatments, and they retain their true colour better.

Faux leather care

Surface-level dirt can be removed with a soft bristle brush like the CLEANING BRUSH. But what should you do for a more substantial clean? It’s often not enough to simply wipe faux leather with a damp cloth and household cleaner or washing up liquid; a faux leather cleaner, which cleans and conditions, is much better suited. If you don’t take care of your faux leather shoes or boots, they’ll likely break down much faster.

Residues from your skin, creams and lotions can damage the plasticiser, or softener, in the synthetic coating. If you don’t remove the residue, the faux leather will become brittle and less flexible. SYNCARE CLASSIC conditioning foam conditions the faux leather and helps maintain its elasticity. Treating your faux leather boots or shoes with CARBON PRO will also help prevent water and dirt from soaking into the material. If you regularly clean and condition your faux leather footwear, you’ll enjoy a much longer life together.