Friday, July 17, 2009

How a supposed leather expert be so wrong?

The web can be a source of excellent information. However, there is also hype, myths and misinformation that can have serious consequences.

Recently, a purportedly knowledgeable leather craftsman wrote the following as part of a guideline for painting leather. This is in an article that has been scattered throughout the Internet.

He wrote:

“You can clean the leather by mixing equal parts of warm water and bleach…”

Did he actually say bleach?

I have to set the record straight. Bleach has a ridiculously high alkalinity (base substance). It registers 12.6 on the pH scale. The only household item more alkaline is lye. On the other hand, leather is acidic. Leather comes in around 4.5 to 5.0 on the pH scale.

A brief chemistry lesson: The pH scale is logarithmic with pure distilled water registering 7.0, the mid-point between 1 --- the acidic peak and 14 --- maximum alkalinity. So a measure of 8.0 is 10 times more alkaline than 7.0 (water) and 9.0 is 100 times for alkaline than 7.0, etc.

When an alkaline (base) substance and an acidic substance are introduced to each other, a chemical reaction occurs as the two attempt to neutralize each other. The bigger the differential, the more dramatic the reaction. Mix bleach with an acid and watch the fireworks!

The magnitude of differential between bleach and leather is millions fold. Put bleach on leather and the reaction will cause severe damage, accelerating its demise. This is basic chemistry 101. Bleach will destroy leather, turning it to mush, like wet cardboard.

This simple understanding of basic chemistry is what sets Advanced Leather Solutions apart. We understand these fundamentals and have constructed our SG series of leather performance products from this foundation. All SG Series leather care products (both cleaners and conditioners) are pH balanced to leather. We’re not about a “seek and destroy mission,” rather we’re about prolonging the life of a valuable asset --- your fine leather. Whether it’s leather in your car, or your leather furniture, Advanced Leather Solutions has the right chemical engineering built in our products to extend the useful life of your leather, not destroy it.

Copyright 2009 Kevin Gillan

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