Artificial leather crumbles, becomes brittle and flakes off

Unfortunately, with a serious evaluation, there can be no other judgment than the artificial leather, which crumbles, can no longer be saved. The surface is made of plastic that contains plasticizers. These ingredients escape over time and allow the plastic to return to its originally board-hard consistency. Sealing can delay the process.

Top layer will harden over time

Artificial leather consists of a, usually textile, carrier layer on which a cover layer made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) is applied. These plastics are as hard as a board in their original state. Chemical plasticizers give this layer its malleability and elasticity. These substances escape more or less quickly over time and limit the shelf life and service life.

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When a certain amount of plasticizer has escaped, the top layer becomes brittle. The lower the tension on the surface, the earlier the artificial leather begins to crumble. This is a breaking of the hard top layer. Depending on the shape of the cover and the intensity of use of the elasticity, flaking can occur at the same time or with a short delay.

Use as a substructure and seal

If peeling or crumbling has already started, the cover of an artificial leather sofa can no longer be saved. A new cover is possible, which is glued over the entire surface and covers the existing surfaces and uses it as a support surface. This can skillfully and with suitable materials avoid the permanent dissolution of the sofa.

Caring for the synthetic leather sofa can slow down the volatilization of the plasticizers. Special sealants cover the surface with an airtight film and prevent it from escaping for a certain period of time.

Individual break lines, which cause the edges to crumble due to fraying, can be fixed with synthetic leather or adhesives. If the sofa is then only used with a throw, the crumbling can be further delayed. After the beginning of the crumbling, future periods of use of more than one year are only possible in exceptional cases.

Tips & Tricks If your artificial leather crumbles, you should immediately take countermeasures, especially if you have children or pets in your household. The "crumbs" are made of plastic and correspond to inhaled or orally ingested particles that correspond to those of plastic bottles and shopping bags.