Vegan Leather: What is it and How Do You Care for it?

Vegan Leather What is it and How Do You Care for it

When shopping for leather, you might have noticed a tag stating “Vegan Leather” on some of the products. Have you ever thought to yourself: what exactly vegan leather is? it is not some new, luxurious, fancy, real leather variant, but rather a variant of faux leather. Faux leather is a leather that is man-made and composed of synthetic materials. In a similar fashion, vegan leather is also man-made product that is either made from polymers like polyurethane, plant-based materials, or from sustainable biomaterials. Just like faux leather, vegan leather is void of animal products and is considered more ethical. Given below is a brief description of this leather, read it if you wish to know more.

Production Process

Production of Vegan Leather

Naturally this type of leather consists of a plastic base. This plastic base is then combined with other chemicals that allow the leather to mimic the appearance and feel of real leather. The plastic base that makes up the leather is either composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or polyurethane (PU). These plastic bases are first mixed together and then added to either a paper or a fabric backing. Even though leathers made of PVC and PU look similar, the main difference between them is that PVC leather is stiffer as compared to PU leather. 

Plant-Based Vegan Leather

Plant based vegan leather

Leathers that are plant-based consist of about 30% to 80% of plant products. Plant-based leathers can be made from cactus, grape, cork, pineapple, and mushroom. Among tese types, grape leather is considered to be the softest and smoothest, while mushroom leather is lauded for its durability. 


Appearance – This type of leather possesses a smooth and uniform appearance, almost similar to that of real leather. However, despite the similarity in appearance even though real leather develops a patina over time, vegan leather does not. 

Odor – As this leather is composed of chemicals and plastics, a strong, artificial odor wafts from it. However, there are some vegan leather products in which is added a real leather scent, so that they smell and look more like real leather.

Criteria for Maintenance and Care

As vegan leather is composed of plastics, it is a lot easier to clean and is also waterproof. To clean vegan leather all you have to do is apply a small amount of leather cleaner on a lint-free cloth and then wipe the surface of leather with the cloth. Once you are done cleaning allow the leather to dry naturally. Unlike real leather, vegan leather does not need conditioning as it is not absorbent and won’t dry out like real leather. 

Vegan Leather vs Real Leather 

Real leather vs vegan leather
Vegan Leather Real Leather 
Emits an artificial odorPossesses a strong, natural smell
Degrades quickly and lasts for only a few years Is quite durable and can last for decades if taken care of properly 
Is non-absorbentHighly absorbent and therefore can stain quickly
Is not costly Tends to be quite expensive
Has a uniform appearance Lacks uniformity
Does not age gracefully Ages gracefully, developing a beautiful patina with time

Which One is Worth the Investment?

Even though vegan leather is affordable as compared to real leather it does not possess the durability of real leather and hence is not a wise investment. It can only last for a few years, while real leather possesses the ability to last for decades if proper care is given. 


This type of leather presents a wide range of cons as compared to real lather, first of all, it is not durable and does not possess the longevity of real leather. Secondly, as vegan leather is composed of plastics, it is not biodegradable and hence contributes to pollution. Moreover, PVC vegan leather can be toxic to produce, posing health threats to workers. 

Also Read

Ultimate Guide to Leather Care 

Ultimate Guide to 5 Types of Leather

6 Major Causes of Leather Damage


About Whites Pearl

Whites Pearl is a Texas based company that specializes in making Natural Leather Conditioner and Sneaker Cleaner from non-toxic and 100% organic ingredients. We also Prioritize our environment that's why our products are packaged using eco-Friendly packaging.

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