Synthetic leather basically refers to any type of leather that doesn’t have anything to do with real leather or animal hide. It can also refer to faux, imitation, artificial, vegan, or PU leather. This type of leather is made from a synthetic material that holds the appearance of leather and is deceptively good at it but is not made from animal skin or hide like real leather. It may look just like real leather but when it comes to characteristics and qualities, it comes nowhere near to animal hide. There’s a reason why real leather is so expensive and needs exclusive care. On the other hand, synthetic leather has a shorter lifespan and goes without any special care or treatment. Just like anything else, synthetic leather also comes with a number of pros and cons but before getting deep into that, let's get to know the basics of synthetic leather, what is it made of and what's the difference between synthetic and real leather.
What Is Synthetic Leather Made Of?
Synthetic leather is a material that is designed to look like natural leather and is often made from plastic. The synthetic leather material consists of synthetic fibers that are sometimes mixed with the natural material, coated with a plastic polymer or similar. Synthetic material for the leather is made from chemicals such as polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or textile-polymer composite microfibers. These elements are damaging to the environment and contain some toxic chemicals. However, as far as the appearance is concerned, synthetic leather is often similar to natural leather, it is soft and wear-resistant. Depending on the type of covering, you can pick your favorite type that is suited to your requirements such as synthetic leather for shoes, synthetic leather for luggage, synthetic leather for furniture, or home accessories.
How To Clean Synthetic Leather?
To keep your synthetic leather looking good for a long time, it is important that you keep an eye out for any kind of stains or spills. It's better if you maintain a regular cleaning schedule such as cleaning your synthetic leather accessories once every two weeks. Unlike real leather, synthetic leather items do not need any conditioning or moisturizing as it doesn’t have anything to do with animal hide and is actually made from plastic elements. While cleaning, make sure to use the right kind of detergent in order to avoid any permanent damage. Don't leave any excess water or soap on the surface and use a clean piece of cloth or paper towel to wipe it. The cleaners that contain abrasives.
Is Synthetic Leather Better Than Real Leather?
Real leather is produced from an organic material hence it has a greater capacity to biodegrade at the end of product life. Synthetic leather on the other hand is made from plastic which makes it rigid and uncomfortable to wear sometimes. It is not as breathable as real leather and has a much shorter life so if you’re looking for a long-term investment, synthetic leather is not the ideal fit for your needs. Synthetic leather is man-made hence comes with a more versatile material and can be found in a much wider range of colors, finishes, and patterns as compared to real leather. However, real leather has a specific smell that most people find luxurious and the symbol of elegance that cannot be found in synthetic leather. And that particular smell makes up for the limited coloring options.
Is Synthetic Leather Waterproof?
Synthetic leather is all about plastic and other chemical elements which make it waterproof. Unlike real leather, it is not much affected by water and any liquid can just slip right off its surface. All you need to do is wipe the excess liquid off of it using a paper towel. However, real leather can be seriously damaged if exposed to water. It can actually lead to dryness and cracking. That’s the reason why some people prefer synthetic leather over real one. You can wear a synthetic leather jacket or carry a bag to the office during the rainy season without having to worry about their maintenance.
What Lasts Longer Leather Or Synthetic?
That’s a tricky one. Synthetic leather comes nowhere near the durability of real leather but having said that, if you don't care properly for your real leather, it will be damaged beyond repair. Such as, water or too much heat exposure can lead to severe damage that can cause tearing, cracking, stiffness and fading. However, fake leather is not affected by these elements to that extent except for too much heat, it can burn the plastic in your synthetic leather. So basically, the lifespan of either of these types of leather depends on how you take care of them.
Will Synthetic Leather Stretch?
Synthetic leather does not stretch. Unlike real leather, it is not made from animal hide that has characteristics like stretching. This quality of real leather makes your leather jacket a perfect fit for your body as it adjusts as per your size after regular wear. Fake leather might look like real leather but the qualities are totally different. The plastic used in the making of synthetic leather does not stretch.
Overall, synthetic leather does have some benefits but the advantages of real leather overcome anything that is good about fake leather. So for a long-term investment, go for real leather even if you have to pay an extra few bucks.