How to tell real leather

LybanAugust 4, 2012

I am looking at a loveseat on CL, that they say is leather.

When I go see it is there a way to really tell, if there is no label

I find today there are so many leather look a likes that I am baffled.


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Smell it.....and look for an edge....perhaps in a hidden seam....if the cushions are zippered.
And remember that many lesser grades of "leather" are leather where you sit and plastic on the sides and back....and after a bit the colors don't match.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 4:45PM
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If it looks really smooth and shiny, it may be what they call bonded or bi-cast leather. That is a thin leather layer with a top layer of vinyl. That is called "leather" but it it doesn't wear anything like leather -- it wears like the plastic top coat. If the back and sides have a different grain and feel, they can be vinyl or they could be splits -- the underneath layer of the hide that will not have a natural grain to it. It can be smooth or have a stamped grain.

Think about how leather feels and wears in shoes, a purse, wallet, etc. It will tend to have a little give where it has been used, but be soft and durable.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:57PM
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Linda and Lascatx,
thanks for the info. I will go and take a look and see if I can tell.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Usually there is a tag that says the materials used - and it would say "genuine leather". Look on the bottom where the tag is often stitched into the liner fabric.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 12:15AM
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Open a zipper and look at the back. The back of real leather is suede.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:47AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Pinch it, and if it moos, it's real!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:43PM
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