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2023 Guide to Bonded Leather Meaning, Real vs Faux, and Differences from Genuine Leather

When it comes to leather, there are a lot of different types available. One of the options you may come across is bonded leather. While some people might assume that this is just another version of faux leather, there are notable differences between the two.

In this guide, we’ll explore what bonded leather is, whether or not it’s real leather, and how it compares to both faux and genuine leather.

2023 Guide to Bonded Leather Meaning, Real vs Faux, and Differences from Genuine Leather
What is Bonded Leather?

What is Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather is a material that’s made by combining small pieces of leather scraps with synthetic materials like polyurethane. These scraps could come from any part of an animal hide and can be leftovers from other leather production processes. The resulting material feels and looks similar to genuine leather, but there are key differences in its durability and composition.

2023 Guide to Bonded Leather Meaning, Real vs Faux, and Differences from Genuine Leather

How is Bonded Leather Made?

To make bonded leather, manufacturers take leather scraps and grind them into a fine powder. They then mix this powder with a binding agent, usually polyurethane, which helps hold everything together. This mixture is then spread out over a fabric backing, dried, and treated with a finishing coat to create a smooth, consistent texture.

👉 Also read: What is Nubuck Leather?

Is Bonded Real Leather?

Technically speaking, bonded is made from actual leather scraps. However, because it’s been processed and combined with other materials, it’s not considered “real” leather in the same way that full-grain or top-grain leathers are.

Bonded Leather vs Faux Leather

While bonded leather is made from scraps of real leather, faux leather is entirely synthetic. This means that no animal products are used in its creation. From an ethical standpoint, this can make faux leather a better choice for those who prefer not to use animal products. However, bonded does offer some advantages over faux leather when it comes to durability and texture.

Real leather, bonded leather and faux leather
Real, bonded and faux leather

Bonded leather is generally more durable than faux leather, thanks to its real leather content. It can withstand more wear and tear before showing signs of cracking or peeling. Additionally, because bonded is made from real leather scraps, it can have a more authentic texture and feel than faux leather.

Bonded Leather vs Genuine Leather

Compared to genuine leather, bonded leather is generally less expensive. However, this lower cost comes at a price: bonded is not as durable as genuine leather. While genuine leather can last for decades with proper care, bonded may start to show signs of wear and tear after just a few years. Additionally, because bonded is made from scraps of varying quality, it can have an inconsistent appearance that some people find unappealing.

Blonded Leather Pros and Cons

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  • Cost-effective: This leather type is generally more affordable compared to genuine leather, making it a budget-friendly option for those who desire a leather-like appearance.
  • Aesthetics: Bonded can have a similar look and feel to genuine leather, providing a visually appealing option for furniture and accessories.
  • Eco-friendly: By utilizing leather scraps and fibers, this leather type helps reduce waste and make use of materials that might otherwise be discarded.
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  • Durability: Bonded is generally less durable than genuine leather. Over time, the bonding agent can deteriorate, leading to peeling, cracking, or flaking of the material.
  • Limited breathability: Bonded tends to be less breathable than genuine leather, which can result in a less comfortable experience, especially in warmer climates.
  • Lower quality: While this leather type can resemble genuine leather, it lacks the same natural characteristics and aging process that give genuine leather its unique patina and character.

It’s important to note that the quality and performance of bonded can vary depending on the specific manufacturing process and the proportion of leather used. It’s advisable to carefully consider your needs and preferences before choosing this leather type as an option.

👉 Also read: What is Nappa Leather?

How to Care Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather carring requires some specific considerations to ensure its longevity and appearance. Here are some tips on how to care for bonded:

2023 Guide to Bonded Leather Meaning, Real vs Faux, and Differences from Genuine Leather
  • Regular cleaning: Dust and dirt can accumulate on bonded leather surfaces, so it’s important to clean it regularly. Use a soft, damp cloth or sponge to gently wipe down the surface, removing any debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the bonded.
  • Avoid excessive moisture: Bonded leather is not as resistant to moisture as genuine leather. Therefore, it’s important to avoid excessive exposure to liquids. Clean up spills immediately using a clean, absorbent cloth, and avoid using water or wet cloths for cleaning.
  • Use a mild cleaner: If you need to remove stains or spills, use a mild soap or leather cleaner specifically designed for bonded. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.
  • Protect from direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause bonded to fade or crack. To prevent this, position your bonded leather furniture or accessories away from direct sunlight or use curtains or blinds to block the UV rays.
  • Avoid sharp objects: Be cautious with sharp objects around bonded to prevent scratches or punctures. Keep pets with sharp claws away from bonded leather furniture to avoid potential damage.
  • Use leather conditioner: While bonded doesn’t require conditioning like genuine leather, using a leather conditioner specifically formulated for bonded can help keep it supple and prevent drying or cracking. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for application.

Remember, bonded leather may not have the same durability as genuine leather, so it’s important to handle it with care and follow these maintenance tips to extend its lifespan and maintain its appearance.


Is bonded leather better than faux leather?

It depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for a material that’s more durable and has a more authentic texture, bonded leather may be a better choice. However, if you prefer to avoid animal products altogether, faux leather is a better option.

How long does bonded leather last?

The lifespan of bonded leather can vary depending on how it’s used and cared for. However, it generally isn’t as durable as genuine leather and may start to show signs of wear and tear after just a few years.

Can bonded leather be repaired?

It can be difficult to repair bonded leather without leaving visible marks or affecting the overall appearance of the piece. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the item.

What’s the difference between bonded leather and genuine leather?

Bonded leather is made from scraps of leather that have been combined with synthetic materials, while genuine leather is made from an animal hide. Genuine leather is generally more durable than bonded and can last for decades with proper care.

Is bonded leather a good choice for furniture?

While this leather type may be less expensive than genuine leather, it isn’t as durable and may start to show signs of wear and tear relatively quickly. If you’re looking for furniture that will last for years, genuine leather may be a better choice.


Bonded leather is a material that offers the look and feel of genuine leather at a lower cost. However, it’s important to understand that bonded is not the same as genuine leather in terms of durability or quality. While it may be a good option for those who want the appearance of leather without the high price tag, it’s important to carefully consider its limitations before making a purchase.

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