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We provide answers to the important questions in life. Learn how to treat soiled leathers, synthetic leathers, and microfibre materials. How can you remove chewing gum from leather without damaging the fabric? Which detergents are not advisable for cleaning synthetic leathers? How should you treat stains caused by cosmetics?


Leather goes down in history. And it will in the future.

Besides wood, leather is one of the oldest materials of mankind. Vegetable tanning methods were already known in Egypt as early as 4000 BC. 5300-year-old glacier mummy Oetzi wore leather garments as well, individual parts of which were tanned with different procedures involving grease and smoke. Researchers counted as many as five different kinds of fur and leather on his body.

Ever since, leather has become indispensable – be it for shoes, handbags, purses, protective clothing, or seat covers. The only thing that has substantially improved over the past two centuries is the manufacturing process.

CHRONOLOGY
4000 BC
Evidence of vegetable tanning in Egypt
3000 BC
Glacier mummy Oetzi wears five different types of leather
2700 BC
Most ancient findings of written parchment in Egypt
720 BC
Tanning formula on a Babylonian stone tablet
800 - 146 BC
Carthage largely controls the leather trade in the Mediterranean Sea
About 400 BC
Plato reports on the use of leather money in Carthage
800 BC to 700 AD
New tanning techniques developed in the Roman Empire
600 AD to 15th c.
Leather workshops emerge in monasteries & towns, tanners are banished to the outskirts
1800-1890
Times of the Wild West (robust boots, vests, saddles, weapon holsters)
1858
Invention of chrome tanning in Europe, industrial production since 1870
1870 - 1880
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch describes the erotic attraction of leather
Ab 1948
Production of synthetic leathers as a substitute for the then scarce leather

Thanks to stain protection, many leather products are easy to take care of. The foundation for their ideal functional properties is already laid during the manufacturing process: with a high-quality protective film enveloping every single fibre. Nonetheless, leather should be treated regularly in order to maintain the effectiveness of this basic impregnation.

Leather seat covers need sufficient moisture. Their moisture balance can be adequately regulated by wiping them clean with a moist but not wet cloth on a regular basis.

It is advisable to consult a specialist on how to remove stains. Products such as turpentine, stain removers, gasoline, floor polish, solvents, and shoe cream can harm the material. These products should be tested on a non-visible area of the material first.

Tips on how to remove stains

Act quickly. Wipe off light soiling with a mild, lukewarm, and neutral soap solution in distilled water (contains neither lime nor chlorine). Dry with a soft cloth. Treat the stain moving from the outside to the inside to avoid edges. Work extensively from seam to seam, not only on selected spots.

Stain Removal Table Leather

Dried soil:
Wipe off with a moist cloth. Subsequently dry with a wool cloth. Allow to dry thoroughly. Avoid vigorous rubbing.
Liquids:
Immediately dab off with a dry and absorbent cloth, do not rub. Subsequently treat like dried soil.
Foods and grease:
Remove foods and grease immediately. Subsequently treat like dried soil.
Chewing gum:
Stiffen with an ice cube and remove carefully. The cold reduces adhesive forces.

Fire Protection Standard B1

The property of flame retardancy in accordance with B1 is usually achieved by impregnating the material. The effectiveness of this impregnation can be impaired by moisture. Nonetheless, the material can subsequently be treated without problems.

Surface Protection System

SPS are a very high-quality form of surface coating. Leathers with SPS prove to be more resistant to soiling and signs of ageing, and are easier to clean.

Outdoor

This equipment is made of specially tanned leather that is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and free from harmful substances.

The imitation of natural materials such as leather or natural fibres began with the development of synthetic fibres in the mid-19th century. The term “synthetic leather” generally refers to a compound material of textile or non-woven fabrics with a plastic coating.

Synthetic leathers containing PVC

PVC (polyvinylchloride) is per se a very hard material that is also used to produce vinyl records, for instance. The material becomes soft and elastic when harmless plasticizers are added. It will only become porous after these plasticizers have volatilized; in the absence of soiling, the material usually lasts for 15 to 20 years.

Synthetic leathers made from PVC are renowned for their fastness to light, rubbing, and seawater. Their load limit may only be reached when in use on massage tables – if at all – where they are exposed to oils, perspiration, and movement.

Synthetic leathers are better suited for certain purposes than ordinary leathers. As an example, they are used in the outdoor segment because they are more weather-resistant, as well as in the medical segment because they are easier to clean. Moreover, their special coatings restrict the ability of bacteria to proliferate.

Synthetic leathers without PVC

PVC-free synthetic leathers have a different structure to common materials. While they are more costly than synthetic leathers containing PVC, they feel much more like leather to the touch. PVC-free synthetic leathers exhibit a better colour fastness to rubbing. Despite their higher susceptibility, they offer a longer durability than conventional synthetic leathers if they are maintained well.

The material should be cleaned at regular intervals in order to maintain its look and to keep dirt and contaminants from accumulating. Stains, dirt, and any other substance that comes into contact with the material should be removed immediately to avoid permanent staining. Use mild soap water or special care products recommended for vinyl materials / synthetic leathers to clean and remove stains on the surface. Use a white and moist cloth.

Tips on how to clean and care of synthetic leathers with Surface Protection Medical equipment

How to remove common stains:

1. Clean the surface with a mixture of lukewarm water and a neutral soap solution.
2. Moisten a soft cloth with lukewarm soap water and remove stains with circular movements.
3. More resistant stains should be treated with a soft brush. Moisten the brush with lukewarm soap water and remove stains with circular movements.
4. Wipe the soap solution off the material’s surface with a moist cloth that has been dipped into lukewarm water.
5. Dry the surface.
6. For heavier stains, we recommend to apply a 1:1 solution of alcohol and water.
7. Subsequently treat the material as described under points 4 and 5.

Solvents and abrasive detergents must not be used for cleaning. The advice provided above is no guarantee and does not release the users from their duty of care when handling the materials and detergents.

Stain Removal Table Synthetic Leather

Dried soil:
Wipe off with a moist cloth. Subsequently dry with a wool cloth. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Liquids:
Immediately dab off with a dry and absorbent cloth, do not rub. Subsequently treat like dried soil.
Foods and grease:
Remove foods and grease immediately. Subsequently treat like dried soil.
Chewing gum:
Stiffen with an ice cube and remove carefully. The cold reduces adhesive forces.

PERMAGUARD

This patented coating for synthetic leathers protects the material against scratches, abrasions, and soiling. Most stains can be easily wiped off with a moist cloth.

PERMABLOK

Permablok reliably protects vinyl against bacteria, fungi, soiling, abrasions, and scratches. It is essential in the medical segment and for frequently used objects.

SILVERGUARD

Silverguard is a surface coating system that uses silver ions to prevent bacteria and moulds from spreading.

PVC-free

Materials labelled “PVC-free” are manufactured without polyvinylchloride (PVC).

Phthalate-free

Phthalate-free synthetic leathers do not contain esters of phthalic acid which are used as plasticizers.

Surface Protection Easy Clean

This patented coating for synthetic leathers protects the material against scratches, abrasions, and soiling. Most stains can be easily wiped off with a moist cloth.

Surface Protection Medical

Reliably protects vinyl against bacteria, fungi, soiling, abrasions, and scratches. It is essential in the medical segment and for frequently used objects.

Surface Protection Medical Plus S

Surface coating system that uses silver ions to prevent bacteria and mildew from spreading.

Artificial silk was the first artificial fibre to be developed in 1855; the first artificial silk factory opened its doors in 1890. However, the demand for this new material only gained importance on the markets with the development of polyvinylchloride (vinyl), polyurethane (PU), polyamide (Perlon), polyester, and polyacrylic.

The first microfibre was developed during the 1960s in Japan; nonetheless, 15 years went by before it triumphed across the U.S. and Western Europe. After initial attempts to imitate the features of natural fibres, new applications for microfibres were found – for example in high mountain tents, fleece fillings, or clothing for extreme athletes.

The microfibres’ success is due to their outstanding properties, including a soft and pleasant feel and a shiny surface. Moreover, they are crease-free and need no ironing. Despite their fine fibres, they exhibit good airlock characteristics and thus ensure an excellent insulation. Microfibres are approximately three times finer than cotton, about six times finer than wool, and about 60 times finer than a human hair.

Modern microfibres are manufactured from recycled PET bottles (polyethylene phthalate). During the manufacturing process, less harmful substances are emitted, less energy is spent, and no toxic or harmful chemicals are released into the environment. Thanks to 100% recyclable polyester, microfibres are easy to dispose of as well. Nearly all our microfibres are manufactured from recycled materials and are free of harmful substances according to the Oeko Tex 100 standard.

Thanks to their excellent characteristics, microfibres are largely resistant to soiling. Nonetheless, superficial stains should be removed regularly with a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner. Please follow the instructions below for thorough cleaning.

Hand or machine wash

Use lukewarm water (max. 40 C°). Select a washing program for delicates and add a neutral detergent. Do not wring out or spin. Hang up to dry in the shade. Steam iron with a program for rayon / synthetics underneath a moist cloth if necessary. Subsequently loosen the fibrous web with a soft brush. Chemical cleaning: perchloroethylene.

Please refer to the table below on how to remove various types of stains. If you plan to use solvents (which we discourage), please test the microfibre for its colour fastness on a non-visible area of the fabric first.

Tips on how to remove stains

Act quickly. Treat the stain moving from the outside to the inside in order to avoid edges. Identify the type of stain and treat it as described in the stain removal table below. If you use a solvent, please do not apply it directly to the surface but to a clean cloth first. Do not place anything on the treated areas until the material has fully dried.

Stain removal table microfibre

Beverages, alcohol, spirits, wine
Wipe off with a clean cloth, then clean with a mild soap solution and, if necessary, with diluted methyl alcohol.
Ballpoint pen
Dab with a 20% solution of methyl alcohol, perchloroethylene, or trichloroethylene.
Coffee, tea, milk
Dry with a clean cloth and subsequently shampoo with a mild detergent.
Chocolate, sweets
Wipe off with lukewarm water (max. 40 C°).
Colour
Oil paint: Clean with turpentine, subsequently wipe off with mild soap water. Water-based paint: Wipe off with cold soap water. For stains that have already dried, follow the instructions on how to remove shoe cream.
Cosmetics
Clean with mild soap water; for more resistant stains use a 20% solution of methyl alcohol, perchloroethylene, or trichloroethylene.
Grass, vegetables
Wipe off with lukewarm water, subsequently clean with a mild detergent.
Ink
Absorb as much as possible with blotting paper. Wipe off with a 20% solution of methyl alcohol and clean with mild soap water.
Shoe cream
Wipe off with perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, or diluted ammoniac (max. 10%).
Jam, syrup, juice
Remove coarse dirt with a spoon, subsequently wipe off with lukewarm water (max. 40 C°).
Oil, fat, grease
Remove with a clean cloth, subsequently clean with trichloroethylene.
Nail polish
Dab with acetone.