London restaurant leather restoration

A leading London restaurant chain asked us for help in tackling stains on their leather seating caused by food, drink and candlewax. Wear and tear had also taken its toll and the colour had faded.  

All premises in the chain were open 14 -15 hours a day, 7 days a week. Staff were extremely busy, especially at weekends and holidays, and were understandably unaware of the differences in leather and how to clean and maintain it on a daily basis. 

First we identified the seat coverings were made from Aniline leather. While Aniline leather develops a lovely patina over time, it is very sensitive which means it’s not the ideal choice for a busy restaurant. 

Why? Aniline leather is classed as premium-priced, high-grade leather. The hide is aniline dyed in a vat but has no colour coating added to the surface. This means the leather ‘breathes’ more easily and has a more natural, soft warm feel. 

Aniline Leather detail

Aniline Leather pores under the microscope

Aniline Leather water resistance

Aniline Leather water resistance drop test

Aniline Leather damages

Common aniline leather damages

The disadvantages are that it will bleach and fade under direct sunlight. Also, and more importantly, it is porous and absorbent, making it virtually impossible to remove stains by general cleaning.

Below, we have shown some examples of damage on the restaurant seating area.

Restoration Process

Most stains were stubborn and impossible to remove, even with our stain removal products. The only option was to spray a layer of pigmentation on the surface to hide the stains. We were conscious that by doing this we would essentially be altering the character of the leather. The challenge was to restore and refresh the colour but also to maintain the look and feel of this beautiful leather. Spraying colour and top coats can also make the surface feel extremely rough. The restaurant opening hours meant we could only carry out the work at night. This was particularly difficult because colour matching is best done in daylight. The restaurant also needed all the seating to be available during opening. We knew we had our work cut out to deliver this in time. 

  • Step 1 - Degrease using COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Spirit
  • Step 2 - Treat water stains with COLOURLOCK Aniline Water Stain Remover
  • Step 3 - Spray COLOURLOCK Primer Plus to ensure the colour adheres to the surface(Specially formulated for Aniline leather)
  • Step 4 - Spray a very thin layer of colour at specific angles to hide the stains yet maintain the look.
  • Step 5 - Gently sand the surface using COLOURLOCK Sanding Pad to remove any roughness and even out the finish
  • Step 6 - Spray COLOURLOCK Top Coat Gloss mixed with Crosslinker IC2 to seal the treatment. 
  • Step 7 - Certain areas where still rough and were treated with specialist products to provide a smooth finish when the customers of the restaurants touch the leather.  

It took us roughly 5 nights per restaurant but at the end of it we were happy with the results and more importantly, so were the owners! 

London restaurant leather restoration
London restaurant leather before & after