Making the switch to a vegan lifestyle isn’t always easy, and one of the things people question is whether or not switching from regular leather products to vegan leather products will actually make a difference.
Questions about how tough it is, what kind of quality it provides, even if they can take on spills like regular leather – these all run through potential buyer’s minds.
Today we’ll answer some of those questions by examining just how durable and Can Vegan Leather Get Wet- does it hold up when exposed to moisture? Let’s find out!
What is vegan leather and how is it made?
Vegan leather, also known as faux leather or pleather, is a type of synthetic material that imitates the appearance and texture of real animal leather. Unlike traditional leather, which is made from the skin of animals such as cows, sheep, or goats, vegan faux leather is made without any animal products.
There are various methods used to produce vegan leather, but one popular method is through the use of polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coatings on a fabric base.
These coatings give vegan leather its characteristic smooth and shiny surface, similar to that of real leather. Another method of synthetic leather involves using natural materials such as cork, pineapple leaves, or mushrooms to create a plant-based leather alternative.
The production of vegan leather not only stops the harm done to animals, but also has a lower impact on the environment. The traditional leather tanning process however, involves the use of toxic chemicals that are harmful to both humans and the environment.
Additionally, raising and slaughtering animals for their skin contributes to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and is horrifically cruel. On the other hand, vegan leather production utilizes more sustainable materials and eliminates the need for animal farming.
Can Vegan Leather Get Wet?
Yes, vegan leather can get wet. However, not all types of vegan leather are waterproof or water-resistant. It depends on the specific materials used in its production of vegan shoes and vegan leather jackets etc.
Polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are two common materials used in most vegan leathers that are not inherently waterproof. These materials have a tendency to absorb water and can become damaged when exposed to excessive moisture.
On the other hand, there are some types of vegan leather that are designed to be water-resistant. This is achieved by treating the material with a waterproof coating or using natural fibres like leather waterproof cork, which have inherent water-resistant properties.
It’s important to note that even though vegan leather varies widely it’s always best to check the care instructions for your specific vegan leather waterproof product and avoid exposing it to excessive moisture.
The pros and cons of vegan leather when it comes to getting wet
- Vegan leather is more resistant to water stains compared to traditional leather. This makes it a great option for everyday use, especially in rainy or humid climates.
- It is easier to clean and maintain. Unlike traditional leather, vegan leather can be wiped down with a damp cloth without worrying about damaging the material.
- Vegan leather does not absorb water, so it dries faster and is less likely to develop mould or mildew.
- It is a more eco-friendly option as it does not involve the use of animal products.
- Not all faux leather is waterproof, so you need to be follow manufacturer’s instructions if using them in wet conditions.
- Suitable vegan leather can have the same level of durability as traditional leather, especially when it comes to heavy use and exposure to moisture.
- The plastic coating on some vegan leather could crack or peel over time, affecting its water-resistant properties, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- The production of vegan leather still requires the use of chemicals and energy, which can have a negative impact on the environment – although it is nowhere near as harmful as animal-derived leather.
How to care for vegan leather
- Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer before cleaning your product.
- Usually for light stains, wipe the affected area with a damp cloth and mild soap or detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the surface of the vegan leather.
- For tougher stains, you can use a specialized cleaner designed specifically for vegan leather. Make sure to spot test it on a small, inconspicuous area first before using it on the entire product.
- To prevent cracking or peeling of the plastic coating, avoid exposing your vegan leather products to excessive heat or direct sunlight.
- When not in use, store your vegan leather items in a cool and dry place to prevent mildew or mould growth.
- If your vegan leather product gets wet, wipe it down with a cloth and let it air-dry naturally. Avoid using heat sources such as hairdryers or heaters, as they can damage the material.
- For bags or shoes made of vegan leather, stuff them with tissue paper or newspaper when not in use to help them keep their shape.
- Regularly clean your vegan leather products to prevent dirt and grime build up, which can lead to the material deteriorating faster.
Alternatives to vegan leather
If you’re looking for a more sustainable and durable alternative to traditional faux leather fabric, there are other fantastic options available that may suit your needs better. Some alternatives to consider include:
- Cork leather: Made from the bark of cork oak trees, this material is eco-friendly, water-resistant, and has a similar texture to animal leather.
- Pineapple leaf leather: This innovative material is made from the leaves of pineapple plants, making it a sustainable and biodegradable option. It also has similar properties to animal leather, such as durability and water-resistance.
- Mushroom leather: Made from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, this material is durable, biodegradable, and can even be grown into specific shapes and sizes.
- Recycled leather: This material is made from scraps of traditional leather that are then processed to create a new material. It reduces waste and has a similar look and feel to animal leather.
Where to find quality vegan leather products
With the rise in popularity of vegan leather, there are now many brands and retailers offering a variety of products made from this material.
Should I avoid getting my vegan leather products wet?
While some types of vegan leather may have water-resistant properties, it’s best to avoid exposing them to excessive moisture, unless it’s specifically designed for that use (i.e. raincoats).
Check the care instructions for your specific vegan leather plastic product and make sure to dry it off if it gets wet. It’s also a good idea to regularly clean and condition your vegan leather items to maintain it’s water-resistance.
Is vegan leather better for the environment?
Absolutely! While vegan leather does not involve the use of animal products, its production still requires some energy and chemicals but it has significantly less negative impact on the environment. It is also considered more eco-friendly as it does not contribute to the demand for animal agriculture.
Additionally, clever innovations in sustainable materials like cork and pineapple leaf, to create vegan leather are continuously being developed, making vegan leather an increasingly environmentally-friendly option. It is a step towards a more sustainable fashion choice.
Can vegan leather be recycled?
Some types of vegan leather can be recycled, depending on the materials used to make them. For example, cork and mushroom plant leathers are biodegradable and compostable, while recycled leather can be decomposed into its original materials.
However, some types of vegan leather made from plastic or polyurethane can be recycled but not quite as easily. It’s best to research the specific type of vegan leather you have and see if it can be recycled in your area.
Are there any animal-derived materials used in vegan leather?
No, vegan leather does not contain any animal products or by-products. It is entirely plant based made from either synthetic materials such as plastic or natural materials like plant fibres. If you want to ensure your plant based leather product is completely free of any animal-based ingredients, look for brands that use only plant-based adhesives and it has a well known vegan certification.
In conclusion, vegan leather is a viable and more sustainable alternative to traditional leather. By following proper care instructions and considering other factors such as water-resistance and eco-friendliness, you can ensure your vegan leather products last longer and have a positive impact on the environment.
Remember to do your research and support brands that align with your values when shopping for vegan leather items.