We have all heard or seen the unsightly way faux leather can peel. But is it all faux leather that peels? In this article, I’m going explore the answer to this question and also take a closer look at the reasons why faux leather can peel and how to prevent it.
So, does all faux leather peel? Sadly, the answer is a definitive yes. But not always for the same reason. Some will do so more than others. Even if you have high-quality faux leather it can still peel mainly because faux leather is a synthetic material and also other factors such as improper care or exposure to certain environmental factors.
To be able to bring a lot more clarity to the question above, we first need to define what faux leather actually is, what they are made of, the different types there are, why they peel, and how to prevent them from peeling.
What Is Faux Leather?
Faux leather is known for its durability, but like all materials, it has its limitations. Faux leather is made of synthetic materials that are designed to mimic the appearance and texture of real leather.
It is often used in furniture, clothing, accessories, and even automotive applications.
Faux leather can be made from a variety of materials such as vinyl, polyurethane, or PVC. It is usually created by bonding a fabric backing to a synthetic plastic coating.
The main reason why faux leather can peel is that the bond between the fabric and the plastic coating is not very strong. This weak bond can be caused by a variety of reasons and one such reason has to do with the adhesive’s quality.
The glue used to create faux leather needs to have certain qualities in order for it to give good results over time, such as having proper adhesion or heat resistance.
If these qualities are compromised then you are most likely going to end up with a faux leather material that peels.
The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent faux leather from peeling. In the next section, I will go over some tips on how to properly care for your faux leather furniture and accessories so they last longer without peeling.
Types Of Faux Leather And Which Onces Peel Easily?
There are several types of faux leather and not all of them are created equal. Some will peel more than others, but generally speaking, all faux leathers have the potential to peel if not properly taken care of.
The main types of faux leather are vinyl, polyurethane, PVC, and microfiber. Out of these four types, vinyl and polyurethane are the most commonly used. And while they both have a propensity to peel, vinyl is more likely to do so than polyurethane.
PVC and microfiber faux leathers are less prone to peeling but this does not mean that they are immune to it. In fact, any type of faux leather can peel if not properly taken care of.
Let’s get into each one of these different types of faux leather in more detail.
1. Polyvinyl Faux Leather
This is a synthetic material that looks very similar to genuine leather. It can be easily stained and it will peel quite quickly if the proper care isn’t taken.
For best results, use non-acetone polish products like Lexol for faux vinyl maintenance or even for cleaning faux leather car seats.
If you’re looking for a vinyl cleaner, I will recommend using the 303 Aerospace Protectant.
These products are specifically designed to clean and protect vinyl surfaces and they tend to help prolong their lifespan while preventing them from peeling.
2. Polyurethane Faux Leather
This is a more durable type of faux leather and it is also less likely to peel than PVC vinyl.
However, if it’s not cared for properly, polyurethane faux leather can still start to peel over time.
Polyurethane faux leather also has better stain resistance than PVC faux leather but it can still peel if not properly taken care of.
This is a popular type of faux leather that is used in furniture, clothing, and accessories.
It has a higher quality than PVC vinyl and as mentioned before they usually hold up well and don’t peel as easily.
It is not foolproof as peeling can still happen with prolonged exposure to conditions like direct sunlight.
For this reason, it is recommended that you regularly dust your polyurethane furniture and accessories with a non-toxic duster or even just with your hands to keep them free of dirt and debris.
3. Flame Retardant Faux Leather
This type of faux leather has flame-resistant properties and it is also less likely to peel than other types of faux leather.
However, if it’s not taken care of properly, flame retardant faux leather can still start to peel over time.
This type of faux leather is usually used in automotive applications or in furniture that will be exposed to outdoor conditions.
They are usually made of flame-retardant PVC synthetic fabric and they are bonded with a solid backing.
As mentioned before, if it’s not cared for properly (and when I say taking care of furniture or accessories that have been exposed to the elements – this includes using them) then you can end up with peeling faux leather.
4. Microfiber Faux Leather
This is a newer type of faux leather and it’s made from synthetic fibers.
It is the most durable type of faux leather and it doesn’t usually peel even if it’s not taken care of properly.
Microfiber faux leather also has better stain resistance than other types of faux leathers.
However, microfiber faux leather can still peel. This type of faux leather is also breathable and soft, making it a popular choice for furniture or clothing.
In terms of maintenance, you should vacuum your microfiber furniture at least once every two weeks to ensure that they are free of dirt and debris.
Why Does Faux Leather Peel?
There are several reasons why faux leather can start to peel. Below are a few of the most common reasons why faux leather might peel.
- Poor Quality Faux Leather Peel
It may suffice to say that all faux leather materials peel but not all of them peel in the same way. Some faux leather fabrics start to peel because they are made with poor-quality faux leather fabric (of poorer quality materials).
In this case, your faux leather will not only peel but it will peel relatively faster compared to other types of faux leather that are made using good quality faux leather materials.
- Faux Leather Chemical Resistance Quality Is Poor
Although a very large component of faux leather is chemicals, there are some faux leather materials that have poor resistance to chemicals.
For this reason, if you start using harsh cleaning products on your furniture or accessories that are made with these faux leather materials, you can end up causing the surface of your furniture or accessory to start peeling.
This is usually the case with faux leather materials that are made of Polyvinyl.
- Frequent Use
Faux leather materials are not durable enough to withstand too much regular or frequent use without showing some type of wear and tear.
For this reason, if you’re someone who likes to put your items to a lot of use, you might find that your faux leather starts to peel over time.
This is often a result of the constant friction that is caused by the frequent use of these materials.
- Lack Of Proper Maintenance
Also, the lack of proper care and maintenance can cause your faux leather to start peeling.
Typically, all you need to do is dust off and use a damp microfiber cloth to clean your faux leather furniture and accessories once – while avoiding harsh chemical cleaners.
But if you don’t do this, then the dirt and debris will build up on the surface of your furniture or accessories and this will cause it to start peeling.
- Using Abrasive Scrubbers
Similar to the point I just made above, if you use abrasive scrubbers or cleaners on your furniture and accessories that are made with faux leather then this can also cause it to start peeling.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you avoid using abrasive scrubbers such as steel wires, magic erasers, sharp knives, etc.
Instead, what you want to use is a horse hairbrush, a vacuum cleaner, or microfiber cloth whenever you have to clean your faux leather products.
This will help to prevent your faux leather from peeling due to the non-abrasive nature of the scrubbers or applicators mentioned above.
- Exposure To Heat
Just like with any other type of material or fabric, you should avoid exposing your faux leather to extreme temperatures.
This is because if you expose your faux leather to too much heat, then this can cause it to dry out.
And when the material dries out (especially in hot temperatures) – that’s when peeling is likely going to occur.
So if you have outdoor faux leather furniture or a faux leather car interior, then you need to be extra careful about exposing your furniture/accessories to too much heat.
- Exposure To Too Much Moisture
Last but not least, you should also avoid exposing your faux leather material to too much moisture.
This is because if the item has been exposed to excessive amounts of water (due to being left out in the rain, humidity, or any situation that causes too much moisture), then you can expect it to start peeling.
This becomes worse if there isn’t enough time for the faux leather item to dry. This can cause peeling as well.
So always try to make sure that your faux leather items are properly dried off before you put them away.
And if the item doesn’t dry within a reasonable amount of time, then it’s best to just take it back inside and let it air out instead (keeping in mind where I mentioned exposing too much heat).
Tips On How To Prevent Faux Leather From Peeling
- Always try to keep it away from excessive amounts of moisture, heat and chemicals
- Ensure that you dust, clean, or vacuum your faux leather itens on a regular basis (at least 2-3 times per year) so as to prevent any debris build up on the surface.
- Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or cleaners on your faux leather furniture and accessories.
- If you have an outdoor faux leather furniture, then be careful about exposing it to too much direct heat.
- Do not position or store your faux leather items next to the radiator.
- Make sure that your faux leather products are properly dried off before storing them away.
- If the item doesn’t dry within a reasonable amount of time, take it back inside and let it air out instead.
- If peeling does occur due to poor maintenance, then all is not lost because I have some helpful tips here to help your restore your faux leather items.
To conclude, one thing that remains apparent is that all faux leather does peel eventually as time goes by.
This is because all types of faux leather are made of synthetic materials that aren’t designed to withstand long periods without proper care or maintenance.
But if you do pay attention to the tips that I have mentioned here in this blog post, then it will go a long way toward helping prevent your faux leather items from peeling – at least too quickly.
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