The thing about having dogs is that you must be at peace with them destroying everything you love. You will never own a white duvet cover ever again. Like to leave your shoes by the door when you come in? Not anymore. Enjoy a home that smells like it was recently cleaned? Too bad. I took a huge risk and bought a Very Expensive Couch two years ago, knowing my two 90-pound German Shepherds could wreck it, but it was time for an upgrade. I figured leather is a lot easier to clean than cloth or velvet fabric (which I previously owned, and wow, does it absorb dog smell really well), so it felt like a worthy investment.
A supple leather sectional from West Elm, this piece of furniture is gorgeous—it's the best thing I've ever purchased, and I will love it forever. You know who else loves it? My dogs. They sleep on it, drool on it, stretch on it, eat on it—and they scratch it up with their gigantic
wolf dog nails, even though I carefully cover it with a special, dog-friendly throw blanket when guests aren't over. The first time it happened, I panicked, Googling "how to fix a leather couch when your dogs have confirmed you make bad shopping decisions by scratching your thousands-of-dollars sectional oh my god why am I so dumb."
Luckily, I found a cheap and effective solution: Furniture Clinic Leather Re-Coloring Balm ($30).
- Easy color match
- Covers surface-level scratches and marks
- Simple to use
- Comes with two sponges to apply solution
- One tub will last you years
- No odor
- It won’t permanently cover scratches and marks
- You may have to try different colors before finding the exact one
- It won’t work if you don’t have absorbent leather (if liquids slide right off, you don’t have absorbent leather)
My honest review of Furniture Clinic Leather Re-Coloring Balm
It's not a permanent solution, but it will easily hide scratched leather. The balm, which comes in 16 different colors, applies like a thick paint: You take one of the two sponges that are included, and you simply apply a small amount to the part of the leather that's damaged. I'll apply a coat of the balm to my entire couch a couple of hours before I have company (it's quick-drying, but I like to give it some time, just in case people are wearing light clothing—I've never had an issue with the balm rubbing off on anyone), and the re-coloring effect will last for a few weeks.
It's designed to be versatile, too. You can use the re-coloring balm on furniture, shoes, car seats—anything made with absorbent leather is game. What I really love about it is that it's super easy to use (you don't need a masters in reupholstery), and it's pretty mess-free. If you get some on your hands or clothes, the dye isn't permanent, so it comes right off with water (although I would highly recommend wearing gloves and an outfit you don't that much about to be on the safe side).
And it really, really works. I'm honestly shocked by how well it masks scratches and makes my couch look near-new. It restores my couch's rich, cognac-brown leather so that the surface looks cleaner, more vibrant, and most importantly, scratch-free. The color balm I have is "medium brown" and it's supposed to match three shades. Another nice thing is that you don't have to apply the balm to the entire couch—you can spot treat, and the color blends right in.
I mean, it's pretty dang impressive.
The Furniture Clinic balm has over 11,000 5-star review on Amazon, which isn't surprising. "My couches are VERY scratched and worn from the dogs and kids. I bought this stuff in an effort to get these to last a little longer before we have to purchase new couches. I figured it's worth a try, they can't get any worse. This stuff works amazingly well," one shopper says.
Another says, "We have a wonderful high-quality leather sofa. The dog and kids over 15 years created scratches, liquid spills and just sitting wear marks. I love the couch and quality-wise it was still in like new great physical shape. It just (understandably) didn't look new any more and really I was going to buy a new one. I thought, what harm could it do to try this fix. I was shocked. It looks like it was when first purchased. I'm not kidding in the least."
Me and my dogs give Furniture Clinic an A+ and two thumbs (and paws) up.
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