What is Bonded Leather? Definition, Types, and Facts

What is Bonded Leather? Definition, Types, and Facts


    Introduction to Bonded Leather

    With the rise of environmentally conscious consumerism, bonded leather has emerged as a cost-effective type of leather relative to traditional animal-based leathers. As demand for expensive 100% genuine leather options such as horse leather, alligator leather, and other similar quality leather materials decreases, the demand for bonded leather has increased in the recent years. This comprehensive guide explores the vast world of bonded leather by discussing its composite materials - which consist of blended scraps mixed with either latex or polyurethane in order to create a cohesive material highly susceptible to cuts and tears- as well as detailing its various advantages and disadvantages. In creating bonded leather, discarded leather scraps are reduced to fibers and combined with a binding agent to form a pulp. 

    The resultant mixture is applied onto a backing material and given a texture akin to genuine leather before being coated with protective topcoat - imparting it with uniformity, durability, and affordability ideal for purpose.

    What is bonded leather?

    Bonded leather is a near-synthetic leather product made up of scrap leather and polyurethane, incorporating scraps of leather remnants. This material, consisting of leather fibers and binders, offers an affordable and uniform alternative to real leather.

    What is Bonded Leather

    What is another name for bonded leather?

    Bonded leather is also known as reconstituted or blended leather.

    What is bonded leather made from?

    Bonded leather is made from a combination of leather scraps and fibers, mixed with a binding agent like polyurethane or latex. This process results in a material that incorporates some leather elements but is not considered genuine leather.

    Is bonded leather considered real leather? 

    Although bonded leather contains genuine leather fibers, it is not classified as authentic leather due to its composition and manufacturing process.

    Is bonded leather 100% leather?

    No, bonded leather is not 100% leather. It is made from a small amount of leather scraps and fibers combined with a binding agent, like polyurethane or latex. 

    What is the difference between standard leather and bonded leather?

    Leather is a natural material made from animal hides, while bonded leather is a composite material made from leather fibers and binders. Bonded leather is more affordable but generally less durable and breathable than genuine leather.

    How durable is bonded leather? 

    The durability of bonded leather hinges on its quality and care. Properly maintained bonded leather can endure several years but may not be as long-lasting as genuine leather.

    How long does bonded leather last?

    The lifespan of bonded leather varies depending on its quality and care. With proper leather care, bonded leather products can last several years, but they may not be as long-lasting as genuine leather items.

    How do you keep bonded leather from cracking?

    To prevent bonded leather from cracking, maintain it properly by keeping it out of direct sunlight, avoiding extreme temperatures, and treating the surface with a water-repellent spray. Regular cleaning with a damp cloth and using a bonded leather-specific conditioner can also help preserve its appearance and durability.

    What happens when bonded leather gets wet?

    When bonded leather gets wet, it can become susceptible to damage, such as peeling or cracking. To protect bonded leather from moisture, treat it with a water-repellent spray and avoid exposing it to excessive moisture or water.

    Does bonded leather absorb water?

    Bonded leather does not absorb water as readily as natural materials, but it is not entirely impervious to moisture. It is advisable to treat bonded leather with a ecowater-repellent spray for added protection.

    Why is my bonded leather peeling?

    Bonded leather may peel due to wear and tear or exposure to extreme temperatures, sunlight, or moisture. Proper care and maintenance can help minimize peeling and prolong the life of bonded leather products.

    Can you fix peeling bonded leather?

    Fixing peeling bonded leather can be challenging. In some cases, a leather repair kit or touch-up pen designed for bonded leather may help address minor issues. However, significant damage may require professional repair or replacement.

    Re-envisioning Bonded Leather: Material Definition and Composition

    Also known as reconstituted or blended leather, bonded leather is created by fusing leather fragments and fibers with a binding agent such as polyurethane or latex. This technique yields a consistent, resilient, and cost-effective counterpart to full-grain and top-grain leathers.

    What is Polyurethane bonded leather and what does it look like?

    Polyurethane bonded leather is a material consisting of leather fibers and polyurethane binders, creating a product that resembles genuine leather in texture and appearance. It offers affordability, eco-friendliness, and a uniform look.

    Bonded Leather Manufacturing Process

    While fabricating bonded leather, leather remnants and offcuts are pulverized into fibers. These fibers are subsequently combined with a binding agent to generate a pulp-like substance. This blend is then dispersed onto a support material and embossed with a leather-like texture before being finished with a protective topcoat.

    Step-by-step Bonded Leather Manufacturing Process Explained:

    1. Collection of leather remnants: Leather scraps and offcuts are gathered from various sources during the leather manufacturing process.
    2. Pulverization: Specialized machinery is used to grind the collected leather scraps into fine fibers.
    3. Mixing with a binding agent: The ground leather fibers are combined with a binding agent, such as polyurethane or latex, resulting in a pulp-like substance.
    4. Application onto a backing material: The pulp mixture is spread evenly onto a support material, which is typically a fabric or paper-based substrate.
    5. Embossing and texturing: An embossing roller or plate with a leather-like pattern is pressed onto the surface of the mixture, creating a texture that resembles genuine leather.
    6. Drying and curing: The bonded leather is allowed to dry and cure, ensuring the binding agent hardens and holds the fibers together.
    7. Application of a protective topcoat: A protective topcoat is applied to the surface of the bonded leather to enhance its durability, resistance to wear and tear, and overall appearance.
    8. Cutting and finishing: The bonded leather material is cut into desired shapes and sizes for use in various applications, such as furniture upholstery, fashion items, and automotive interiors.
    9. Quality control: The final bonded leather products undergo inspection to ensure they meet quality standards and are free from defects before distribution and sale.

    Reasons to Opt for Bonded Leather:


    Bonded leather presents several merits that might render it an attractive option for certain consumers:

    • Affordability: Bonded leather items typically boast a more budget-friendly price tag compared to genuine leather products.
    • Eco-friendliness: The utilization of leather scraps and offcuts in bonded leather production bolsters sustainability and diminishes waste within the leather industry.
    • Uniform appearance: The bonded leather manufacturing process culminates in a consistent texture and hue, appealing to those who favor a more uniform aesthetic.


    As with any material, bonded leather possesses certain disadvantages, including:

    • Durability concerns: Bonded leather is generally less hard-wearing than genuine leather and may exhibit signs of wear and tear more rapidly.
    • Breathability and comfort: The synthetic components of bonded leather can render it less breathable than genuine leather, potentially causing discomfort during prolonged usage.
    • Potential for bonded leather to crack: Bonded leather may be more susceptible to peeling and cracking over time in comparison to genuine leather.
    • Contrasting Bonded Leather with Other Leather Varieties

    To gain a deeper understanding of bonded leather, it is useful to contrast it with other leather types, such as genuine leather (full-grain leather, top-grain leather, split leather), fake leather (synthetic materials), and suede and Nubuck leather.

    Is bonded leather as good as real leather?

    Bonded leather is generally not as durable or high-quality as real quality leather. However, it offers a more consistent look and can be more budget-friendly than genuine leather, making it a suitable choice for certain products and uses.

    Which is better bonded leather or faux leather?

    The choice between bonded leather and faux leather depends on personal preferences and intended use. Bonded leather contains real leather fibers, making it more eco-friendly, while faux leather is typically more durable and vegan-friendly.

    Multifaceted Applications of Bonded Leather:

    Due to its affordability and uniform appearance, bonded leather is employed across a diverse range of industries. Common uses include:

    • Bonded Leather Furniture: Sofas, chairs, and ottomans often showcase bonded leather upholstery.
    • Fashion: Bonded leather is employed in jackets, shoes, belts, and bags.
    • Automotive: Car seating and steering wheel covers can be fashioned from bonded leather.

    What are the most common applications for bonded Leather?

    Bonded leather is commonly used in furniture upholstery, fashion items such as jackets and bags, and automotive applications like car seats and steering wheel covers due to its affordability and uniform appearance.

    How can I tell if a product is made of bonded leather?

    To determine if a product is made of bonded leather, check for labels, tags, or embossed markings indicating its composition. Bonded leather typically has a more uniform appearance and slick feel without too much texture, unlike genuine leather. If unsure, ask the manufacturer or retailer for further information about the material used.

    Appropriate Care for Bonded Leather

    Preserving your bonded leather items is crucial for extending their lifespan. Adhere to these tips for optimal care:

    How do you clean bonded leather?

    Regular cleaning can help maintain the appearance and prolong the life of bonded leather products, here are out bonded leather cleaning guidelines:

    • Cleaning methods: Gently wipe with a damp cloth to eliminate dirt and dust. Refrain from using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.
    • Protection and maintenance: Keep your items away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, and apply a bonded leather-specific conditioner.
    • Repairing scratches and scuffs: Utilize a leather repair kit or touch-up pen designed for bonded leather.

    Is bonded leather easy to clean?

    Yes, bonded leather is relatively easy to clean. Simply use a damp cloth to gently wipe the surface, avoiding harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. Regular cleaning can help maintain the appearance and prolong the life of bonded leather products.

    Can bonded leather be repaired? 

    Minor scratches and scuffs on bonded leather can often be remedied using a repair kit or touch-up pen specifically devised for bonded leather. However, significant damage may prove more difficult to repair, necessitating replacement.

    How do you protect bonded leather?

    To protect bonded leather, keep products out of direct sunlight, avoid extreme temperatures, and treat the surface with a water-repellent spray. Regular cleaning with a damp cloth can also help maintain bonded leather's appearance.

    Factors to Consider When Purchasing Bonded Leather Products

    When shopping for bonded leather goods, bear these factors in mind:

    • Quality indicators: Inspect the item's construction, stitching, and overall finish to ensure it aligns with your expectations.
    • Price comparisons: Contrast the prices of bonded leather products with genuine leather alternatives to determine if the cost savings outweigh the potential trade-offs.
    • Environmental impact: Contemplate the eco-friendliness of bonded leather and its role in reducing waste in the leather industry.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Bonded Leather

    To further dispel any misconceptions about bonded leather, let's address some prevalent queries:

    Is bonded leather waterproof? 

    Bonded leather is not inherently waterproof but can be treated with a water-repellent spray to enhance its resistance to moisture.

    Is bonded leather vegan?

    Bonded leather is not vegan, as it incorporates scraps of leather remnants. However, it is more eco-friendly than genuine leather, as it repurposes leather waste.

    Is bonded leather pet friendly?

    Bonded leather may not be as pet-friendly as genuine leather due to its lower durability. Pets' claws and teeth can damage bonded leather more easily than genuine leather products.

    How thick is bonded leather?

    The thickness of bonded leather can vary depending on the product and manufacturer. Generally, bonded leather is thinner than full grain leathers but thicker than some faux leather options.

    My Opinion on Bonded Leather

    In conclusion, bonded leather is a versatile and affordable alternative to 100% genuine leather, offering a uniform appearance for various products and uses. However, it is essential to understand its properties, advantages, and disadvantages when considering bonded leather items. Proper care and maintenance can help prolong the life of bonded leather products, ensuring their continued enjoyment for years to come.