Infographic: What distinguishes a leather jacket?

Leatherette is one of the popular upholstery materials. One of the main reasons is the well-known fact that leatherette can perfectly imitate the luxurious look of leather, while being more affordable. In addition, it also has other positives, which we will introduce in more detail in our infographic. We will also look at its typical properties, the difference between leatherette made of polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride, where and what leatherette is most often used for, what special types of leatherette we can encounter, what it needs to be protected from and what principles to follow when cleaning it.

What characterizes leatherette and how to maintain it

the LEATHERETTE > The material created by applying a polymer layer (polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane) to a textile base (fabric, knitted fabric, non-woven fabric)


  • excellent resistance to abrasion
  • can perfectly imitate the appearance of leather
  • it is more affordable than natural leather
  • easy cleaning and maintenance
  • long life
  • Available in many colors, patterns and designs
  • pleasant to the touch
  • It has a regular shape given by a fixed width (140 cm) in contrast to natural leather, which never has a regular shape
  • does not absorb odors

Typical properties of PVC and PU leatherette


  • soft and to the touch like leather
  • the surface is porous and therefore breathable, therefore it adapts to body temperature faster than PVC
  • excellent resistance to abrasion
  • liquid impurities can be easily sucked out of it
  • unsuitable for environments that require the use of aggressive cleaning agents and disinfectants
  • belongs to decomposable waste
  • more flexible than PVC
  • compared to PVC, less resistant to high temperatures and humidity, therefore the top layer can peel off and break under unsuitable conditions of use
  • a lighter material in terms of weight than PVC
  • cleaning usually with soap solution and water
  • it does not release toxins into the air when it burns


  • excellent durability
  • excellent resistance to abrasion, chemicals
  • cleaning usually with soap solution and water
  • less malleable than PU (more difficult to work with in the case of articulated furniture with different edges)
  • it belongs to non-degradable waste
  • resistant to water, moisture and fire, which is why it is especially popular in means of transport (such as boats) and in commercial spaces
  • better resistance to UV radiation than PU
  • it can be disinfected with more aggressive preparations, therefore it is ideal for environments where cleanliness is a priority (laboratories, hospitals...)
  • can release dioxins into the air when it burns

Ecology and Health

PU is considered more ecological in terms of production and use. Unlike PU, PVC contains chemical plasticizers that are not subject to decomposition (they do not decompose in nature). Selected plasticizers (phthalates) and dioxins (produced during the production and burning of PVC) also have a negative impact on human health.

PVC and PU can be produced in different ways, using different additives, in order to achieve the best possible properties of the material. It is therefore important to buy them from trusted manufacturers who guarantee the safety and non-toxicity of the material.

Use for upholstery

  • interior
  • domestic and public spaces
  • sofas, chairs, benches, armchairs, sunbeds , car seats
  • household furniture, catering and medical facilities, means of transport

It is usually necessary to protect it from

  • high temperatures and fire (do not place near fireplaces, heating elements)
  • non-permanent colored clothes and decorations (for example, made of denim)
  • direct sunlight (using blinds, curtains)
  • sharp objects (for example thrown objects on the sofa, claws of domestic animals)
  • excessive moisture and then (in order to prevent the loss of the color shade)
  • spirit and alcohol (these can cause peeling of the polyurethane layer)

The most common damages

  • arise as a result of inappropriate maintenance by the consumer
  • with PU leatherette: cracking and peeling of the surface

Special types

  • with antibacterial treatment and increased resistance to sweat, blood, urine (used mainly in medical facilities)
  • with reduced flammability (used mainly in catering facilities)
  • with increased resistance to staining from clothing (used mainly in public spaces)
  • with increased resistance to UV radiation and salt water (used in areas where exposure to sunlight cannot be prevented, for seat upholstery on boats)

How to clean leatherette

  • regularly remove surface dirt
  • do not use sharp tools for cleaning
  • before you start cleaning, test the cleaning agent on the least visible place
  • after cleaning the leatherette with water and cleaning solutions, let the upholstery dry well before using it again
  • for cleaning, use a slightly moistened cotton cloth, or a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment on a low power level
  • for cleaning, use water and detergent as recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid cleaning agents that contain gasoline, alcohol, trichlorethylene and other solvents.
  • Remove dirt created during the use of the leather product (e.g. contamination by coffee, ketchup, ink, chocolate) as soon as it is created.

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