How to clean and protect PU leather or bicast leather
PU leather is also called “bicast leather” and “bycast leather”. Not to be mistaken with Pull Up Leather. If you have pull-up leather (usually has a waxy/oily touch on the surface), refer to our dedicated article for cleaning and protecting Pull-Up Leather.
Coming back to PU Leather. These are polyurethane coated split leathers. Split leather is the flesh side (it is the less stable suede leather when leather is split into grain side leather and flesh side leather). An artificial foil containing a leather-like grain structure is glued on top of the split leather to make it look more expensive and genuine. Such leather is mostly glossy, brown in colour or has brown tones and has an antique look.
PU, Bicast or Bycast leather is cheaper, but not durable. The polyurethane coating ensures the leather is stable but this material is significantly less breathable compared to high quality leather. Due to the heavy coating, the leather feels colder than uncoated leather and sticks more to the skin.
This material does not respond to other “Leather Care” treatments and requires a very different care product and treatment. The polyurethane coating requires special treatment and normal leather care products and treatments don’t penetrate the polyurethane coating and the main problems of PU leather relates to the coating. Classic leather care is based on waxes and oils which damage most polyurethane coatings. PU leather is very sensitive in skin and hair-contact areas. In such areas, PU leather starts cracking and becomes sticky. Therefore, regular cleaning and maintenance is very important.
When required, PU leather should be dusted with a dry or slightly damp lint free cloth. PU surfaces should be cleaned and protected with Geist. PU protector once every 3 to 6 months. Take some of the PU-Protector on a soft cloth and gently wipe the surface. Soiling will be removed, the surface stays smooth and the gloss is preserved.
Deep scratches and abrasions are difficult to treat. Sometimes scratches can be removed by heating with a hair dryer. The PU coating has to be heated well to remove the scratches. In most cases, the scratches disappear almost completely. But this has to be done with extreme caution as excessive heating can damage the coating irreparably. Always test first by creating a comparable scratch on a hidden area like under the sofa. Ensure scratches are not too deep.
PU coatings are sensitive to waxes and oils and you should avoid using standard or classic leather care products. Especially, areas of the leather that come in direct contact with skin and hair should regularly be cleaned and protected with PU Protector. Where possible and desired, protect contact areas using pillows and blankets. Already damaged PU coatings (matt, sticky, rough, cracked) can rarely be repaired. Mostly the PU leather has to be replaced by an upholsterer or new furniture has to be bought.