Massage and Reiki tables are usually upholstered with PU leather to save on costs. PU leather, also known as faux or synthetic leather, is quite possibly the most practical material to use in this instance. It is reasonably resilient, easy to produce, and does not cost as much as the real thing. More importantly, animals need not be killed for their skin. There are many other reasons why synthetic leather is preferred, but the ones I mentioned are the most well-known.
PU stands for polyurethane. It is a chemical that can transform into many different forms if mixed with other substances. For this reason, it is used in many products that we benefit from on a daily basis. These include the foam used by mattresses and office chairs, the padding found inside the soles of sneakers, and the casing used to protect smart phones. Perhaps our lives will never be the same without polyurethane.
PU vs Genuine Leather: Can You Tell the Difference?
End users often can’t make a distinction between PU leather and animal hide. Some vendors take advantage of this to be able to take in more profits.
As a buyer, arming yourself with the information below will help you make a better decision. Checking the label is the easy part. Making sure that it is what’s in the fine print is the hard part. If you can get hold of the product, do these tests:
Press and Fold
Press into the material with your index finger. If it is real leather, wrinkles will appear around your finger. Next, fold the material ever so slightly. It is natural for animal hide to create creases when folded or bent, just like paper (which came from wood).
Check the Edge
The edges of a product that’s made from real leather are rough. That’s a clear characteristic of dried skin. Faux leather, on the other hand, feel like plastic.
Check the Surface for Patterns
When it comes to genuine leather, imperfection is paramount. You should not see a consistent pattern in the material. If you do, then it most likely came from the factory and is therefore, synthetic.
There’s a huge difference between the smell of genuine leather and the smell of PU leather. Synthetic leather smells like plastic, especially if it just came out of the factory. It’s like the smell of you new TV set the moment you take it out of the box, or the smell of a portable massage table right after delivery. The smell of plastic stays for a few days. In genuine leather, there is no strong chemical smell at all. It still won’t smell like plastic even if it treated with dye.
Drop Water on It
If you’re allowed to thoroughly test the product, then a drop of water will easily detect if the material is genuine leather or not. Real leather absorbs, while synthetic leather doesn’t. The water will stay on top until it evaporates or is wiped with absorbent cloth.
If you’re shopping online and don’t have physical access to the product, there are several options as well:
Shop from a Reputable Brand or Vendor
If you want peace of mind, then you get it straight from the horse’s mouth. There are many brands that have official online stores. Some even have an official representation on Amazon. Think about it. Does the real Gucci, Prada, Burberry, or Harley-Davidson want to sell you fake leather? They may give you a higher price tag, but you’re guaranteed to get what you paid for.
Do note that massage and Reiki tables do not have this issue because almost all brands only sell PU, PVC, or some form of synthetic leather.
Check Online Reviews
A quick Google search of the product you’re after will often yield several results. Look for blog reviews or online store reviews, such as the ones from Amazon. They may seem overwhelming at first, but reading several of them will eventually help you come up with a consensus. After reading a number of them, chances are you’ll have the pros and cons needed to make you decide which one to buy.
PU Leather Maintenance
PU leather is a durable material, but it does not last as long as the real thing. If you don’t know how to take care of it, then it will even have a shorter life.
Massage and Reiki tables are especially vulnerable to wear and tear because of how they are utilized. Massage therapists normally use oil in their sessions. If these oils are neglected for a long period of time, they can combine with synthetic leather chemicals and destroy its composition in the process. The most annoying thing about it is that once a crack develops on a small area of the massage table, it can quickly spread to nearby sections by simply sitting on it, or by stretching it.
So, how do you prolong the lifespan of synthetic leather? Below are some tips:
Any kind of dirt can be damaging to PU leather. It can cause scratches and discoloration that may eventually lead to irreparable damage. If possible, clean immediately after use. This would be easy for massage and Reiki tables since cleaning up after each session is part of the process. However, cleaning an office chair after each and every use is unrealistic. It would make more sense to clean it once a week or twice a month. Use a vacuum to get rid of dirt and dust. Wipe oils and other kinds of moisture with damp cloth.
Avoid Moisture When Possible
A high level of humidity is a major threat to synthetic leather. In places with a tropical climate, PU leather is only going to last for months instead of years if not taken care of properly. Air conditioning or dehumidifiers are recommended in these places, and they can be expensive down the road. If you do not live in these places, make sure to wipe off any kind of liquid the moment you see it.
Use Leather Cleaners
If you want to make sure that your Reiki table or office chair stays in good condition for many years to come, then a leather cleaner is highly advised. Leather cleaners add a layer of coating that protects and conditions leather-based products. mens wash bag