Skinning and Cleaning a Leather Couch
About a month ago, I stumbled across this blog post, about skinning a leather couch and turning it into a cool bench, and the idea has lodged itself into my head. So today I was taking out the trash, when right in front of the dumpster, just sitting there, is this dark brown leather couch. What are the odds?
it's didn't take long to realize why is was being thrown out. It reeked of cat urine. Note, I was outside in a well ventilated area, and is stank bad. I can't imagine how bad it would have been indoors in someone's living room.
I didn't let that stop me though, so I just kept cutting away pieces of leather and tossing the scraps and cushion stuffing in the dumpster. I would figure out how to handle the offending stink later.
Overall, it was quick work. Taking a box cutter, I sliced as close to the edges as I could, trying to keep the leather in the biggest pieces possible. The seats went first, they were the worst as far as the smell went too. Then the back cushions, then the arms, and finally the outsides. The outside fabric ended up being fake leather, a.k.a. vinyl, and I debated even taking it, but it was in good shape, so off it came.
With everything salvaged and safely in my apartment, I could assess the damage. It was confined to the edges of the seats and the bottom of one of the back cushions. The more I discovered, the more I started to feel really sad for the household it came from. The smell was from old, dried, cat accidents. There was no way to mask it, and it would have been impossible to clean. I also found one recent accident, so that must have been the last straw.
This was a serious cleaning project, so I skipped the home remedies and headed straight to the store to pick up some Nature's Miracle, leather cleaner, and leather conditioner.
I laid out all the pieces on the floor. I sprayed my small leather test patch with NM first, testing the leather for color fastness. Their website warned that their products should not be used on leather as it can discolor it. Well, it was free, and I didn't care about the color so threw caution to the wind, and, once my test piece ended up perfectly fine, I drowned the rest of the leather.
It worked!!! Mostly... It definitely cleaned the couch of all the mild, indirect odors it had picked up. But the old, dried spots still stank, even the next morning after spending all night outside. Unsure of how to handle the worst pieces, I decided to cut my losses, literally, and just trim the offending material off. No use in trying to save a few square feet of material when it was all free anyway. I then finished it off by cleaning it and conditioning the remaining leather.
After everything is said and done, I have about 38 square feet of soft, supple leather, a pound of leather scraps, and 25 square feet of vinyl. And all it cost me was a bottle of Nature's Miracle, and a day of my time!