How to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Leather

Leather is a timeless fabric that is used in many different ways. It can be found in clothing, furniture, and even cars. There are many different types of leather with varying levels of quality. So, how can you tell the difference between real and fake leather? Unfortunately, it's not always as easy as you might think.

If you're looking to buy a leather couch, you might be wondering how to tell the difference between real and fake leather. Just because a product is labeled as "genuine leather" doesn't necessarily mean that it's made from real animal hide. In fact, most "leather" products on the market are actually made from synthetic materials designed to mimic the look and feel of real leather. So, how can you tell the difference? Keep reading to find out.

Here at Hat Creek Interiors, we specialize in high-quality, western-style furniture. Whether you're looking for a rustic coffee table or a comfortable armchair, Hat Creek Interiors has something to suit your needs. In addition to offering a wide range of furniture, Hat Creek Interiors also provides home decor items and accessories. From rugs and lamps to bedding, and outdoor furniture, Hat Creek Interiors has everything you need to bring the west into your home. So if you're looking for stylish, high-quality furniture with a western flair, be sure to check out Hat Creek Interiors.

What is "Genuine Leather"?

Let's start by clarifying what genuine leather is. Genuine leather is made from the hide of an animal. It is then tanned and treated to create a durable and long-lasting fabric. Genuine leather can be smooth or rough, depending on the type of animal it came from and the tanning process that was used.

One important thing to keep in mind is that genuine leather does not necessarily mean that the leather is real. Genuine leather can be made from both real and artificial materials.

How is "Genuine Leather" made?

Companies can get away with calling their synthetic leather "genuine leather" because of the way it is processed. "Genuine leather" is a common label found on products made from animal skin, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the leather is real.

So what is the truth behind that "Genuine Leather" stamp or tag that you see on leather products? Products marked as "genuine leather" will actually be several layers of low-quality leather bonded together with glue and then painted to look uniform. In other words, "genuine leather" is made from the leftover scraps of high-quality leather that go into 100% leather products.

What is Pleather?

Pleather is a type of fake leather. It is made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and polyurethane, which are synthetic materials. The PVC is the base material and the polyurethane is applied to the top to give it a leather-like finish. Pleather is cheaper than real leather, but it does not last as long. It is also not as breathable as real leather, so it can be uncomfortable to wear in warm weather. However, leather does not require any special care or cleaning, and it is vegan-friendly. As a result, it has become a popular choice for clothing, furniture, and other household items. This does not mean it is quality though. Pleather degrades very quickly into microplastics that are harmful to the environment.

real vs fake leather

Genuine Leather vs. Pleather

The difference between genuine leather and pleather is that one has some real leather and the other is entirely fake.

Pleather is a man-made material that is cheaper than products that contain any real leather. Genuine leather, on the other hand, is made from the skin of an animal. The skin is treated with chemicals and then tanned to preserve it. Once it has been tanned, the skin can be used to make a variety of products, including shoes, purses, and belts. Genuine leather, although it may not be 100% leather

What are the types of 100% Quality Leather?

Top-grain leather

Top-grain leather is the grade of leather you'll find in "fine" leather goods and can be considered the mid-tier quality of leather.

It's made by splitting a piece of full-grain leather and sanding away any imperfections in the hide and stamping a fake grain on it. Usually, it's then treated and colored to provide a completely uniform look. 

Full-grain leather

Full-grain leather is made of the entire grade of animal hide. All of the imperfections are kept to ensure the high durability and resilience of the leather product. It's often used for heavy-duty leather items, like weapon holsters and utility belts.

How to Tell if Leather is Real

There are a few things that you can look for to determine if the leather is real or not.  

Natural Markings

First, check to see if the fabric has any imperfections. Real leather will often have scars, wrinkles, or other marks that show that it is natural. High-quality leather will have very few natural markings. Some common markings are brands, case hardening, fleshing, wrinkles, and stretch marks. These markings occur during the animal's life and exist on the hide before it is turned into leather. They add character to the leather and make each piece unique. Natural markings give leather its distinctive grain pattern, which is one of the main ways to identify high-quality leather. If you're looking for a piece of furniture or clothing made of high-quality leather, be sure to examine it closely for natural markings. These markings are proof that the leather is of the highest caliber.

real vs fake leather

Surface Appearance

Second, take a close look at the surface of the leather. If it looks too perfect or seems to be coated in plastic, it's likely not real leather. Take a close look at the edge of the material where it's been cut; genuine leather should have a slightly raised edge known as the "mill edge," while fake options will generally have a straight across the edge with no raise


Finally, real leather will usually have a subtle scent. If there isn't a scent or if the scent is too strong, it's probably not real leather. Real leather has a unique smell that is often described as being pleasant and inviting. There are a few reasons why real leather smells so nice. First, real leather is made from animal skin, which contains natural oils. These oils help to keep the leather soft and supple. In addition, the tanning process used to prepare real leather also contributes to its pleasant smell. Tanning helps to remove any unwanted odors from the skin, and it also helps to preserve natural oils. As a result, real leather typically has a much nicer smell than other materials, such as synthetic leather.


The quality of the leather is most greatly noticed as reflected in the price of the item. Genuine leather products are quite affordable more times than not, whereas 100% real leather products have a steeper price tag. This is because if the quality that goes into manufacturing leather at the highest level, and the amount of real leather you get when you buy that product versus a blend or no real leather at all!

real vs fake leather

How to care for 100% real leather products

If you're wondering how to care for your 100% real leather products, we wrote a blog post on that! We go into extensive detail on everything you need to know about caring for your high-quality leather products.

A brief overview of our top tips to care for your leather goods:

  1. You should clean your leather products regularly with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners as they can damage the leather.

  1. If your leather product gets wet, you should dry it off immediately with a soft cloth. Avoid using heat to dry the leather as this can cause it to crack or warp.

  1. You should condition your leather product every few months with a quality leather conditioner. This will help to keep the leather supple and prevent it from cracking or drying out.

  1. You should store your leather product in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or in a humid environment as this can damage the leather.

real vs fake leather

The Best Quality Leather From Hat Creek Interiors

At Hat Creek Interiors, we only sell the best quality leather. We guarantee that our products are made from 100% real leather. We believe that our customers deserve nothing but the best, so we only sell products that we would use in our own homes.

When shopping for leather goods, it's important to know how to tell the difference between real and fake leather. Real leather is made from animal hide and is often imperfect with marks that show it is natural. Fake leather usually looks too perfect and may be coated in plastic or have a strong scent. At Hat Creek Interiors, we only sell products made from 100% real leather because we believe our customers deserve nothing but the best quality products!

Hat Creek Interiors is committed to high-quality furniture that will last for generations. We use only the finest materials, including leather and wood, and our furniture is built to withstand everyday wear and tear. Our meticulous attention to detail ensures that each piece of furniture meets our high standards for quality and craftsmanship.

 In addition, we offer a wide range of customizations so that you can create the perfect piece of furniture for your home. Whether you're looking for a new sofa or dining table, you can be confident that Hat Creek Interiors will provide you with the highest quality furniture that will stand the test of time.

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