Difference between synthetic leather and faux leather

What is the difference between synthetic leather and faux leather?

At first glance, synthetic leather and man-made leather or faux leather seem to be alike, but they are both different based on fabrics used as materials. They are handled differently and have different product features. In particular, it is important to note that there are differences in the non-slip and shock-absorbing effects of both types of leather, such as in gloves used in factories and workplaces.

Synthetic leather

Synthetic leather is made by coating a nylon or polyester fabric with a polyurethane or other resin layer. The fabric is based on a knitted or woven fabric, and the resin layer is placed on top of it. The wrinkles seen in leather products are artificially created to resemble natural leather.

The product is characterized by its fit and superior grip compared to man-made leather. Another feature is that the base fabric is inexpensive, making it suitable for mass production, and manufacturing of a wide variety of products. 

Faux leather

Faux leather is made to reproduce natural leather artificially, as closely as possible from the structure of the fabric. The fabric is made from a non-woven layer of intertwined nylon and polyester fibers coated with polyurethane resin. A surface resin layer is also created on the surface, which is mainly made of polyurethane resin, and an elaborate structure is designed and processed to resemble natural leather and give it a similar texture.

As a material, nylon or polyester is used to express leather by polyurethane in the same way as synthetic leather, but this one is closer to natural leather. As a result, it is just as durable and soft as natural leather. Synthetic leather is also breathable and fits well, and many products have a stretch functionality that natural leather does not have.

Some products made of man-made leather are so perfect that they are almost indistinguishable from genuine leather. They are easy to use, but they are more expensive than synthetic leather. The number of products for professional use tends to be limited.

Proper care for leather

Although synthetic leather and faux leather differ in manufacturing process and structure, they are both much easier to care for than natural leather. They can be washed with diluted detergent, and many can be dry-cleaned.

On the other hand, however, some man-made products are made with scientific fibers and require careful handling because they are different from natural leather. In particular, because it is made of polyurethane, it must be kept away from moisture and temperature.

For example, leather seems to have no problem with a little moisture, but polyurethane deteriorates quickly. Therefore, when it gets wet in the rain, the water must be frequently wiped away, and after use, it must be dried in the shade.

Furthermore, since the resin melts at high temperatures, it is strictly forbidden to place it near oil heaters or other heating appliances, or to expose it to direct sunlight for long periods of time. Similarly, ironing directly on the coated surface will also cause the resin to melt.

Also, unlike natural leather, these leathers are subject to deterioration over time. Even if they are used with care, the surface may become tattered or cracked. These types of leather can last  approximately for 2 to 3 years, so consider replacing the leather if you find any deterioration at this point.

Summary

Synthetic leather and faux leather share the same material itself, but the way the fabric is made differs, with man-made leather having a structure more similar to natural leather. However, the handling precautions are the same for both types of leather, and they also deteriorate over time. Proper care should be done when using and storing these types of leather. It might be worth considering replacing the product if you find them difficult to use due to deterioration.