Help Please! Leather Peeled

Discussion in 'Leather Cleaning & Restoration' started by Michael Cheng, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Michael Cheng

    Michael Cheng Member

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    Happy new year to everyone
    I'm in a bit of trouble, I went and cleaned a customers house a few weeks ago and they asked me if I clean leather seats as had done plenty from the past.
    So. I offered them to clean and condition it.
    Half way through when I was scrubbing the leather cushion, it started to peel like a film of rubber skin substance. I have cleaned well over 10 leather suites but never came across anything like this. I always use the same leather cleaning solution throughout my time, The actual same gallon of cleaning solution I used to clean previous leather sofas with half left. I also use a proper soft brush.
    The cushion was showing a slightly lighter shade when the film like skin came off.
    She is now wanting to claim my insurance and wrote bad comments on my social media.
    I would say it was my fault if it was my first leather clean or a brand new product I was using.
    Please any advice
    Thanks
     
  2. Daniel Darlow

    Daniel Darlow Member

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    Sounds like the Finish has been damaged, which can be replaced, but if the pigment has been damaged then remedial work will be needed if the pigment has been cleaned off slightly as well. As it sounds that you have not had a restorative training I would leave well alone and request professional help from someone in your area. You have an unsatisfied customer though and either way will need sorting. I would suggest to contact LTT leather and see if there are any technicians your way that could be of assistance.
     
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  3. Steven Wildman

    Steven Wildman Member

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    I've had this happen on a number of occasions on contact areas of protected leather. I stopped cleaning as soon as the nitrocellulose finish started to peel, leaving the leather underneath unprotected which may explain the lighter shade. On questioning the clients it became apparent that they had used inappropriate cleaning products i.e. cream cleaner, wet wipes, and anything that came to hand from under the kitchen sink. On the non-contact areas, there was not a problem as they had not deemed it necessary to "clean" these areas. In future it is a wise precaution when surveying the suite, to ask your clients about the cleaning regime they have adopted as this may elicit answers that may set off alarm bells. Other causes of this problem may be that suite was in direct contact with sunlight, lack of cleaning, low humidity or even a previous cleaner using the wrong products.
     
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  4. Steve Porter

    Steve Porter Moderator

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    Hi Michael
    With your vast experience on leather, what is your normal procedure for identifying type of leather & its condition including procedure tests prior to committing to the clean? How did you arrive at the conclusion that your old faithful was the correct solution & scrubbing was the correct method?
    Whilst I am nowhere near as experienced or competent as many of the leather experts on this forum I must have cleaned hundreds of suites, coats & handbags & I probably spent 15 minutes on each item before I committed to cleaning it with one or two of the many leather cleaners & protectors that we use (all from LTT Leathercare). Sadly rules are rules & unless you've noted with the client the damage to the finish prior to cleaning or you had not asked questions to find out if they'd cleaned it themselves or how they've cared for it or you'd not carried out normal inspection then as damage has been caused (or at least now visible) as a direct action of your cleaning then how you address their problem is very much down to you.
    You may find that Judy Bass or Alby Gill (to name but 2) would be able to advise you & give you a solution to restore it or dare I say, if it's of reasonably lower value than restoring costs then replacement may be an option?
    Not a nice position to be in mate, probably why I always take so long on leather & only work in small sections so that I can stop if the slightest problem arises
     
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  5. Stewart Cowie

    Stewart Cowie Member

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    Was this a red sofa by any chance? If it was, then she has already contacted me for advice.
     
  6. Stewart Cowie

    Stewart Cowie Member

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    I am in no position to say how or when this actually happened. I also don't know what kind of pre clean survey was carried out, but if it was carried out correctly, any damage caused by the customer would have been picked up and discussed with the customer. Also, at this point you would have made the decision to take the job on or not.
     
  7. Mark Sutcliffe

    Mark Sutcliffe Member

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    Ask the customer if it has been repaired or recoloured..

    I'm following this with some interest, bit far out for me to help you out by redoing it..
     
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  8. Alby Gill

    Alby Gill Member

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    Have you any photos that we can see? that way we may be able to help a bit more with identifying the leather.
    Easy to say this from behind a keyboard but Don't panic.

    You may have just removed the seal, this can be easy to put right, even if you have removed some colour that can be fixed as well. Again photos will be a big help.

    I note in your post your customer want's to claim on your insurance. In that case DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY. say nothing. If you have not had training, your insurance may not pay out anyway.

    Assure your customer you will put it right.
    There will be technicians up your way, who may be able to help, they will be cheaper than going down the insurance route.
    What product are you using that require "scrubbing" even with a soft brush.
    LTT products don't need scrubbing they do the work for you.
    Speak to Judy Bass, She will tell you about training at LTT, It will be money well spent and will prevent situations like this occurring again.
    As i said Don't panic.
     
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  9. Alby Gill

    Alby Gill Member

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    We was called out about 12 months ago to repair this couch, which was 18 months old at the time. The customer was still paying for it.
    The person and customer saw the dye transfer straight away on his cloth, but for some unknown reason the person cleaning carried on doing all the seats before stopping.
    This was an easy repair. If i can find the after photo I'll post later.
     

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  10. Michael Cheng

    Michael Cheng Member

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    Thank you to everyone that has replied to this thread very prompt, really appreciate for all your advices especially some of you actually came across this situation. Here's my reply to everyone.

    Hi Alby Gill, I did took several pictures as well as the customer but you cannot see any difference or shades from photos as it was only a very slight difference of a shade. No colour from leather has been removed, just the seal. I did told her I will contact a specialist to have it remedied from start but she kept on stating to take me to court. Reason for the scrubbing the couch was quite dirty. I'm using the Rodeo leather cleaner sprayed onto a cloth, wipe on leather but some parts were really dirty on the creases, thats why I used the brush.
    Thanks again for your help, your advice eased me a little LOL

    Hi Mark Sutcliffe, thanks for your advice, can't get any answers from her apart from "get it professionally repaired or I will sue you and take you to court" !

    Hi Stewart Cowie, yes it was indeed, thanks

    Hi Steve Porter, thank you for your great advice, I never actually spent too long inspecting it but just looked out for any scratches or scrapes. In future I will spend more time as what you've advised me on, thanks again.

    Hi Steve Wildman, first thank you for your advice and help. What was your reaction when this happened to you ? mine was " F**K whats happening and I started having cold sweat.
    At this point, they will deny that they had used any cleaning products on the couch as previous, blame is all on me. In future I will definitely take your advice and Steve Porter to have a long thorough inspection.

    Hi Daniel Darlow, thank you for the reply and advice, yes I'm seeking a specialist to have it recoloured and sealed. Hopefully this would not cost me a weeks of earning.

    Thanks again guys
     
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  11. Daniel Darlow

    Daniel Darlow Member

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    Thank you Michael for your reply, I am sure the other commentees will reciprocate.
    You have the right to make things good before Insurance gets involved so hold fast and assure that it will be rectified. I would also get a belt and braces approach to this next stage of a professional report saying that it is only the finish that has been damaged, and can be easily rectified. The finish could have been weakened by previous cleaning attempts.
    LTT Leather are not a million miles away from you, and after this episode further training I am sure would addd another string to your bow and a lot less stressful assurance on your next leather clean, if you decide to under take?!
     
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  12. Judy Bass

    Judy Bass Moderator

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    Hello Michael

    This sounds like a classic case of baby wipes as this reaction exactly describes the damage they cause.

    Pre clean surveys are essential and part of this is to ascertain what has been used by the customer. Warnings can then be addressed prior to beginning your clean.

    Seat areas will also react differently to other areas on the furniture due to wear etc. and although the damage may not be easily evident details of what has been used can flag up potential problems.

    You will be liable for putting this right but if it is only the finish this should be a straightforward process for a trained technician.

    There has been a lot of good advice given on here but if I can help in any way (training, reports, advice) please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

    Cheers
    Judy
     
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