In the 1930s, a type of artificial leather was created called Naugahyde. When you’re buying vintage mid-century modern furniture, you’ll deal with Naugahyde upholstery quite a bit. Naugahyde was cheaper than leather, durable and relatively easy to clean. Since it could be manufactured in large rolls, it also allowed furniture to be covered without visible seams.
In promotional materials, there was a definite tongue-in-cheek campaign suggesting that Naugahyde was the hide of an animal called a Nauga. If you’re interested, you can snag one of these very cute Nauga doll promotional items on eBay.
Although Naugahyde is generally easier to keep clean than leather, it can still show age and wear. Here are a few tips on how to clean vintage Naugahyde furniture.
Dust Naugahyde With a Microfiber Cloth
If the Naugahyde upholstery looks like it is free from damage, the best place to start is with a good dusting. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe up any dust. If the Naugahyde furniture has been stored in a dusty place but unused, this might be enough.
Clean Naugahyde With Soap and Water
When Naugahyde was sold in the mid century, it was advertised as being very easy to clean. One of the original suggested cleaning methods was to mix a solution of liquid dish soap and water. Use a white dish cloth to clean the affected area, and then be sure to dry the area with another cloth. Leaving Naugahyde wet for a prolonged period of time is best avoided, if possible. If your dish cloth isn’t getting into the cracks, seams or around buttons, then use an old toothbrush in these hard-to-reach spots.
Clean Naugahyde With Magic Eraser
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are small sponges that can work wonders when it comes to cleaning just about anything. We use them around the house, and they can also remove some stains on Naugahyde furniture. The key is to be as gentle as possible. If you scrub away with reckless abandon, you might lighten the color of the Naugahyde. The key here is going slowly and drying the upholstery frequently to check on progress. If at all possible, use the magic eraser on an inconspicuous area of the upholstery such as underneath the piece where the fabric is attached. That is the best way to determine whether there is any risk of discoloration.
Clean Naugahyde With Leather Automotive Wipes
It is generally not a good idea to clean leather upholstery with products designed for vinyl. However, it is perfectly fine to do the reverse. If you want to give your Naugahyde upholstery a shine, try out leather automotive cleaning wipes. This is our favorite approach, and it seems to be universally effective. Since wipes for leather upholstery are very gentle, this approach is a safer bet if you’re trying to preserve vintage material. (If you're looking for a specific brand suggestion, we've had luck with Armor All Cleaning Wipes in the past.)
If you're looking to add to your collection of mid-century modern furniture, you've come to the right place! Head over to the Trystcraft shop to check out our newest items.