There is a great deal of conflicting information on leather care being put out by leather experts themselves who use baffling pseudo scientific techno speak as another marketing ploy, which makes it difficult to find a definitive, unbiased answer. Here is one definitive truth -you are dealing with the leathers finish, not the hide itself. The use of oils, replacement of fat liquor, oil-based conditioning, proteins or the adjustment of pH levels is totally unnecessary; the surface is a urethane that contains pigmentation (colour) it neither needs or benefits from any of the above
The idea of applying the conditioner, allowing time for it to work in a heated environment, before it can be cleaned off which is then rewarded by the rather odd fact that you have to then clean the leather in a secondary stage is really rather odd, and is reminiscent of the Saddle Soap process, used in the equine saddle and bridle industry, before it can begin to clean it must first dissolve its own oils, which limits its capacity to dissolve dirt and oils in the leather, and I can see no technical reason for applying a product in this way. Introducing solvent-based conditioners accelerates aging in leather upholstery and trim.
Top-grain premium leather is mostly used in prestige European automobiles; Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, and Rolls Royce, US Cadillac and high-end German automobiles such as; Audi, BMW, Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, for most of these vehicles premium leather is standard OEM specified equipment, but for most it's a 'premium' package that costs upwards of 2,000 USD . This is the niche market sector both Leatherique and Connolly were originally formulated for.
Unless a Premium Leather option was purchased Isocyanate based ethyl carbamate (urethane) finished leather upholstery is used by 95% as OEM in modern (post '95) automobiles. It comprises a multi stratum acrylic and polyurethane resin binder system covering over the leather hide; the top strata are the surface pigmentation (colour) and an abrasion resistant urethane is used to improve flexibility, fastness and adhesion to the leather.
Oils and soft plastics i.e. polymers, acrylics and urethanes are not compatible; repeated application on to finished leather can cause the break-down of cross-linking and binding agents. Oil accelerates the deterioration of urethane over time. After extended use the condition of the finished leathers pigmentation (colour) will be removed by the oil causing the urethane protection to become delaminated
Any leather conditioner is likely to make urethane feel softer as they all tend to soften up the polymer (urethane) coating; the problem is that due to their molecular size they cannot permeate the urethane, although oils can seep through the stitching.
These so called conditioners act to trap dirt, perspiration, and anything else within the coating that commercial products leave behind and are then absorbed onto clothing. The only thing that can evenly permeate finished leather is water vapour
I have always thought that the more facts and information you have at hand the easier it is to judge what information you are being given. After all, how can you fully understand and properly use any product unless you have all the facts? In the final analysis; itís your vehicle, your hard earned money and your choice.
But if you feel $50 and approx 4 hours work is a worthwhile investment of time / money to clean finished leather with a thin urethane pigmented covering, thatís your choice
Last edited by TOGWT; 10-26-2012 at 05:02 AM.