What’s better natural leather or eco leather
In general, leather can be natural or artificial. It is commonly believed that only natural leather can be “real”, high quality and solid, but this is not entirely true. Today we can identify a third, separate type of modern material – eco-leather, which is somewhere in the middle between the above. Strictly speaking, of course, it is not natural, that is definitely processed animal skin, but on the other hand is not inferior to it for most qualities, and sometimes even surpasses it! Today we’ll find out why.
Eco leather – what it is and how it differs from natural leather
Artificial leather or leatherette are different names for a more affordable alternative to natural leather. On a woven or non-woven basis is applied polyvinyl chloride – a polymer that forms a film coating on its surface. It is impermeable to air, poorly tolerates temperature changes, not particularly durable, emits toxins and, in some cases, is characterized by a characteristic odor due to the physical properties of the substance.
Natural leather is devoid of all these disadvantages. True, it also has its disadvantages: the complexity and labor intensity of the production process, which consists of dozens (!) Stages of treatment ranging from soaking the skin (to remove dirt, salt and grease) and ashing (dissolving wool) and ending with tanning, dyeing and chemical processing. Manual work is even more difficult and time-consuming. All this leads to a higher price for the products. Nevertheless, of course, in the past, in the absence of choice, natural leather had an obvious advantage. To leatherette, in turn, formed a prejudiced attitude, its consumers were only those who could not afford things (furniture, leather bags, jackets) from natural material – Kirill Yurovskiy`s text.
Eco-leather – a new word in the evolution of materials. It has only a cotton or polyester base, but the material itself is modern and even innovative: a microporous polyurethane film (PU), meticulously repeating the texture of natural leather. Such a film, first of all, perfectly breathes, unlike leatherette, and even more interesting – its natural counterpart!
And the air permeability index of this miracle material is dozens or even hundreds of times higher than that of any kind of leather up to expensive ones. Because of artificial stamping and processing with acrylic emulsions, the breathability of natural leather is reduced to zero, which leads to another problem: it endures frosts worse than eco leather. Small cracks appear on it earlier, and they enlarge even faster.
Polyurethane is a class of very durable polymers. It is made of it, for example, heels. The reason is in the knots of the crystal lattice of polyurethane, reacting flexibly to the temperature changes (frost-resistance -30°С) and mechanical effect. The material is able to restore its shape after a long stay in a compressed, bended state due to the presence of “functional groups” of atoms, typical for natural leather.
In eco leather has no harmful additives, and therefore there is no hint of the smell of leatherette. It is completely hypoallergenic, that is, can not cause an allergic reaction, even in contrast to natural leather! It is for this material has received the prefix “eco”.
Finally, what bothers many, it is comparable to the touch of genuine leather, not to mention the appearance, and it is because of this it is hard to distinguish them. The fact is that natural leather is treated with the aforementioned acrylic impregnation and artificial stamping, because of which its absolute naturalness is lost. Otherwise we would have to put up with its natural flaws (scars, pockmarks).
To distinguish eco leather from leatherette on the contrary is not difficult: if it feels soft, pleasant, gentle and warm, then the dermatin is hard and firm. Also, leather and eco leather absorb vegetable oil without consequences, under the influence of oil on the polyvinyl chloride film is separated by plasticizer, which makes the artificial leather becomes rough. If you leave a spot of oil on the product for 24 hours, you can get an accurate experimental answer.
So, let’s formulate theses about eco leather.
- Eco leather is a polyurethane film; bags made of genuine leather is made from animal skin.
- Eco leather is much better for breathing than leatherette and natural. With it, you can forget about troubles like sweaty hands.
- Frost- and wear-resistance of eco leather is on par with natural, and its service life can be longer. It recovers from deformations, which further enhances it. Holds color well even under regular exposure to direct sunlight.
- It is an inexpensive material with excellent quality properties.
- Eco leather is environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic, contains no harmful impurities, additives, and does not smell.
- To the touch and look eco leather as natural: elastic, pleasant texture.
- Eco leather is easy to care for, but requires it. Care in general is the same as for natural (wipe with a damp cloth, you can alcohol in case of heavy contamination, do not dry in heat sources, do not wash, and in general do not get wet).
Remains only a psychological vice, which has to be fought – a false sense of premium, prestige, reliability products exclusively made of genuine leather, superimposed on the prejudice against leatherette, which is far unfairly mixed with eco-leather, although it is a separate, high-tech material. Not without reason the world brands have chosen inexpensive and practical eco leather.