What is Bonded Leather?

If you’ve ever been leather furniture shopping, you’ve probably seen the term bonded leather and wondered if it’s the same thing as faux or genuine leather. The answer: It’s not. Bonded leather is an entirely different type of leather, though it has some of the same characteristics of both faux and real leather. Let's take a look at what bonded leather is and how to care for it.

Bonded Leather Basics

Bonded leather is made from a small amount of leather scraps and fibers. It is mashed into a pulp, then binded to a paper or fiber backing using polyurethane. Bonded leather is also sometimes referred to as composite leather, vinyl and reconstituted leather.

5 Qualities of Bonded Leather

When shopping for a bonded leather product, there are some telltale signs that will show you the item is bonded. Here are some characteristics of bonded leather: 

1. It contains real leather. Bonded leather contains some genuine leather, while faux leather and other leather-like products do not. While bonded leather typically only contains between 10 to 20% real leather, it is there. If you are searching for a non-animal product leather, you should choose faux leather, not bonded leather.

2. It is affordable. Despite containing actual leather bits, bonded leather is typically the most affordable kind of leather. That's because bonded leather is usually quite thin.

3. It is less durable. Because bonded leather is applied to a backing typically made of paper or another thin material, bonded leather cracks and peels after only mild use. If you are shopping for an affordable leather product, we suggest going with faux leather over bonded leather because faux will likely last longer.

4. It has a uniform appearance. Bonded leather looks and feels almost nothing like real leather. Bonded leather has a uniform look, while genuine leather has imperfections. Bonded leather also feels thin and synthetic, while genuine leather is extremely soft and thick. 

5. It has a strong smell. Smell can be a big component to buying leather products. While genuine leather has a gentle, natural odor, bonded leather typically has a strong, artificial odor. 

How to Clean Bonded Leather

Bonded leather can be difficult to clean because of its tendency to crack and peel. However, you can use Leather Honey Leather Cleaner on bonded leather because it is a safe, effective and gentle formula. While genuine leather requires conditioning after cleaning, you do not need to condition bonded leather, as it doesn't dry out the way genuine leather does and won't absorb a leather conditioner.  

More to Know About Bonded Leather

Some common questions people have about bonded leather.

How long does bonded leather last?

Depending on how often your bonded leather product is used, you can expect it to last anywhere from two to five years.

Is bonded leather as good as real leather?

Bonded leather is not as good as real/genuine leather. Bonded leather is thin and thus doesn't last as long as genuine leather. It tends to breakdown quickly, while if you care for genuine leather properly, it can last decades.

Can bonded leather get wet?

Bonded leather can sustain some moisture, but it's best to keep it dry. If your bonded leather does get wet, use a lint-free cloth to soak excess moisture, then allow it air dry. Once it's dry, apply Leather Honey Leather Conditioner


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