Bang For Buck: How Durable Are Vegan Leather Couches?

What picture comes to mind when you think of comfy space to relax in? Plush living rooms with comfy armchairs and oversized couches, mellow rec rooms with Lazy Boy recliners and sleeper beds, or simply a day lounger in your bedroom? Whatever your idea of luxury is, it generally involves furniture to relax on.

Vegan leather couches have a lifespan of around two to five years, making vegan leather products less durable than animal leather products. The most durable vegan leather is made from cork. Cork is ethically harvested from living trees and is used to manufacture many products, including couches.

If a sustainable, vegan lifestyle appeals to you, buying vegan leather furniture should be a natural progression. Did you know that you can buy all types of furniture that have been manufactured using vegan leather upholstery? Or that vegan leather products look as good as products made from animal leather and are just as comfortable?

What Is The Most Durable Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather is made from a variety of materials like pineapple leaves, apple peels, cactus plants, gazed cotton, and recycled plastic. The most commonly used material is polyurethane.

Polyurethane is soft and bendy, making it very easy to work with. It can be used to make anything from designer clothes and your little black dress to belts, purses, wallets, backpacks, sneakers, and even leather seating in cars!

When choosing furniture and sofas, make sure that the products are manufactured and upholstered using vegan leather. If the manufacturer is producing ethical furniture, they should also use sustainable materials for the frames and cushions.

To ensure that you are getting a sustainable sofa, choose natural or recycled fabrics from responsibly managed companies.

The most durable alternative to animal leather on the market at the moment is Cork.

Cork leather is manufactured from material derived from the bark of cork trees. The tree is not harmed during the harvesting of the bark, making cork an extremely sustainable product.

Not only is cork leather durable as a vegan product, but it also has the following essential qualities:

  • Waterproof – no damage from water
  • Hypoallergenic – will not affect people prone to allergies
  • Anti-fungal – no damage from damp
  • Fire and flame resistant
  • Easy to maintain – no special products needed
  • Easy to clean – stain-resistant, clean with soap and water
  • No smell – unlike animal leather
  • Eco-friendly – recyclable and biodegradable
  • A very unique pattern

Does Vegan Leather Look Cheap?

Vegan leather does not look cheap! Unless you check the labels on the product, you probably won’t know whether the products are manufactured from animal leather or vegan leather!

Vegan leather is often free from the blemishes that you would find on animal leather products.

One way to check if the leather is animal or vegan is to look at the underside of the product.

A product manufactured from animal leather will have animal leather underneath, whereas a product manufactured from vegan leather will have some type of artificial material underneath.

As with animal leather, vegan leather has different standards, so the better the quality, the longer it will last.  Most vegan leathers have a life span of around two to five years if it is well cared for.

The shorter lifespan of vegan leather makes it more disposable than animal leather. Vegan leather costs less than animal leather because it is a cheaper product to manufacture.

It’s easier to throw away a damaged or worn-out vegan leather product that didn’t cost a fortune than an animal leather product which can be a costly investment product.

For the vegan leather to have the appearance of genuine animal leather, a texture is stamped into it, giving it a realistic leather look and feel.

Depending on the material used, vegan leathers can imitate Ostrich leather, distressed sturdy boot leather, and various leather styles used to make upholstery.

Many well-known designers and high-end fashion houses only use vegan leather alternatives for their creations instead of using animal leather.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Vegan Leather?

While many people choose vegan leather furniture for ethical reasons and as part of a vegan lifestyle, there can be some disadvantages to using vegan leather. Before selecting any vegan leather products, you should be aware of the product’s weaknesses.

Changing from animal to vegan leather products is a big step, especially for those beginning the vegan lifestyle journey. You need to research what is available and know why you are buying the products.

If you are planning to buy a new plant base foam mattress then here we have an article that will give you some more info before you buy it.

Unfortunately, vegan leather has some disadvantages that could keep you from buying a couch using alternative, sustainable materials.

  • Vegan leather is not as durable as animal leather and won’t last as long
  • Vegan leather is made with layers of material that could fall apart
  • The vegan leather used on the couch could develop splits in the seams and edges and would eventually need to be reupholstered
  • It does not have the distinctive leather smell that animal leather has
  • Vegan leather does not feel like animal leather. It often feels more like plastic than animal leather
  • Some of the synthetics used in vegan leathers like PVC are not fully biodegradable and can release toxic particles

Does Vegan Leather Crack?

Although durable, vegan leather is a lot thinner and a lot less durable than animal leather. Over time, it can crack, scuff or tear and peel.

Vegan leather should be treated and maintained differently than animal leather.

Never try to iron out the wrinkles on vegan leather; only use steam!

Although some vegan leather products are fire retardant, they can get ruined by heat if iron is placed directly on them. Instead, protect the item with a thick sheet or a towel if you need to use steam to remove the wrinkles on it.

The best way to keep your vegan leather products looking good and lasting longer is to look after them! Follow these steps to preserve your vegan leather couches:

  • Brush away dust or hair on the surface with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Wipe away stains or spills immediately using a damp cloth.
  • For deeper stains and spots, scrub lightly using a soft-bristled brush and a solution of warm water and dish soap.
  • Remove excess soap and water with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Apply moisturizers designed for vegan leathers to dry and cracking areas.
  • Keep furniture away from direct sunlight to keep the leather from drying out and cracking.


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