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Article: What is Bonded Leather? A Comprehensive Guide

What is Bonded Leather? A Comprehensive Guide

What is Bonded Leather? A Comprehensive Guide

Bonded leather is a mystery for many as it blends in fake ones with the real one. Many can't specify the difference as they are unfamiliar with the fact. But you can say it is partially genuine. Pretty confusing!

That's why we are here with a comprehensive guide on bonded leather. We'll tell you everything, from its manufacturing to its uniqueness. You will also know how great it is and why you should avoid it. Moreover, we will also answer some important questions. So without further ado, let's begin!

What’s Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather comprises real leather scraps that have a coating of polyurethane. It contains only about 10 to 20% of the genuine hide, mixed with the polyurethane binder and adhered to the paper backing. Since it includes some scraps from animal hides, it still falls under the category.

How is it Made?

The manufacturing is somewhat similar to the making of paper. The scraps from different leftovers and low-grade hides are mixed with polyurethane plastic. The mixture is commonly referred to as pulp. The next step is extrusion, where the mixture is spread over a flat backing.

Here, the fibers and plastic adhere and dry off. After drying, the leather is colored with a suitable dye. The dye only colors the surface rather than penetrating inside, unlike genuine leather. Then, the embossing process gives it a natural texture and a legit feel. Lastly, the finishers provide a shiny layer, and it is ready to make the products of desire.

How Can You Differentiate Bonded Leather With Others?

The most obvious difference is the price. These hide products tend to be cheaper than the real ones. If it costs way less than others on display, the leather is more likely the type in question. But you can also ensure by the touch as it feels thin.

However, an experienced eye and hand can also distinguish between authentic and synthetic nature. You can even tell by the texture as it will be consistent due to machine embossing compared to the irregular one in genuine.

How to Maintain Bonded Leather?

The bonded leather is less durable due to the scraps and requires attention and care. Use proper conditioners regularly to keep the surface soft and new. Clean off body oils and dirt as soon as possible.

Never use harsh chemicals or any cleaning liquid other than the recommended ones. Also, avoid contact with direct sunlight. Likewise, prevent heating for drying any moisture. Any heating source will dry the surface and accelerate the peeling process.

Perks of Using Bonded Leather

The first benefit of using this type is affordability. As it costs way less than real ones, it is an excellent option for budget-friendly users who want a premium and aesthetic looking product. And by only using less than 20% of scraps, people consider it more environment friendly, limiting farming and landfills.

The bonded leather is also highly versatile and comes in various colors, designs, textures, and styles. The synthetic nature makes it possible to form large sheets that a hide may not be enough. So you get a variety of products from one piece. Moreover, it still feels and smells like natural ones.

Drawbacks of Bonded Leather

On the downside, it is not a durable option as it peels, flakes, fades and scratches in a couple of years (or sometimes even earlier). Since it is technically scraps adhered with polyurethane, it is not a solid surface and is more likely to peel.

If you use any of its wearable products or something that you carry like a handbag, it will fade soon due to continuous exposure to sunlight. Although it is easy to clean, you always need to be careful about the process and cleaning agents. And in the end, it can release chemical fumes that many people may be allergic to or cause adverse effects like headaches or sneezing.


  1. How Long Bonded Leather Last?

Bonded leather is not durable and has a short lifespan. If you are not careful, it will peel off and tear easily. But with proper maintenance, it will last up to only 2-3 years. So you need to prepare your mind to spend money on this product every three years or so.

  1. Is Bonded Leather Real?

Although it feels and smells like real leather, it is partially genuine (only up to 20%). The method is also not similar to the manufacturing of the real one. But you can use it as a cheaper alternative to the reals.

  1. How to Clean Bonded Leather?

The cleaning process is easy as you only need a damp cloth and a separate one to swipe it dry. However, the cleaner selection is complicated as you can't use an alkaline solution or anything with harsh chemicals. Also, the detergents are a big NO. You also need to confirm it won't affect the colour or texture.

  1. Can You Fix Bonded Leather?

Yes, you can repair any scratch or damage to the surface. Many repair kits are available in the market, making the process easy and DIY. You can follow the user manuals or instructions to complete it in 10-20 minutes.

  1. Is Bonded Leather Cheap?

Of course, it is among the cheapest leathers that you can buy. The reason it's not a pure one, instead of doped with polyurethane plastic, the price drops a lot. It is a fantastic option for low-income users or temporary usage.

  1. Where is Bonded Leather Used?

The most common use of it is in furniture upholstery. It makes furniture purchases affordable due to its low cost. It includes stools, seats, couches, sofas, and lounge chairs. It is also commonly used to make book covers and binding. A not so convincing usage is in wearables or carrying items like jackets, hats, belts, wallets, keychains, handbags, etc. Since they start peeling soon, they will look awful.

The Bottom Line

Many manufacturers claim bonded leather is 100% pure with a low cost. But it has only 10-20% of scraps mixed with polyurethane plastic. It is less durable but a cheap and effective temporary alternative to genuine leathers. You can differentiate it from others by price, thickness, and an expert hand that can feel the artificialness. In the end, it is not a bad deal as it looks and smells almost like real ones.

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