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How to clean and protect PU leather or Bicast leather

PU leather is also called “bicast leather” and “bycast 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 film with a grain structure is glued on top of the split leather to make it look more expensive. Such leather is mostly glossy, is more or less brown in colour or has brown tones and has an antique optic. The same is also available as synthetic leather.

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 damages most polyurethane coatings. PU leather is very sensitive in skin and hair-contact areas. In such areas, the 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 COLOURLOCK PU Protector 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 under the sofa. The scratches should also not be too deep.

PU coatings are sensitive to waxes and oils. Therefore classic leather care products should never be used. Especially contact areas to skin and hair should regularly be cleaned and protected with PU Protector. Where possible and desired contact areas should be protected by 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.


typical PU leather when new

Common PU leather colours

cracked and brittle

skin/hair contact area, dull and sticky

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