Pros and Cons of PU Leather

Have you ever wanted to buy a leather item but couldn't afford the real thing? Well, there's an alternative that won't break your bank: PU leather. It may not be the real deal, but it can offer some of the same benefits as genuine leather at a fraction of the price. In this article, we'll look closer at the pros and cons of using PU leather, so you can decide if it's right for you.

But just because something is cheaper doesn't always mean it's better, so what are the advantages and disadvantages of PU leather? Read on to find out!

What is PU Leather Made of?

Leather has been a preferred material for fashion and furniture for centuries. But as people become more concerned about the environment, synthetic materials like PU leather have become more popular.

PU leather, which stands for polyurethane, is a man-made material that looks, feels, and acts like real leather. The process involves applying a layer of polyurethane to a base material. The base material can be made of various fibers, including cotton, polyester, or nylon. The polyurethane coating gives PU leather a genuine leather-like appearance and texture. PU leather can be made in many different colors, textures, and finishes, so it can be used in many different ways in fashion and furniture.

Pros of PU Leather

pros of pu leatherImage by Freepik


PU leather is significantly cheaper than genuine leather. It is an excellent alternative for those who want the look and feel of leather without breaking the bank. PU leather is often used in fast fashion items and furniture pieces that are more affordable than their real leather counterparts.

Easy Maintenance

PU leather is easy to clean and maintain. Unlike real leather, it does not require special cleaning products or conditioning. A simple wipe with a damp cloth can remove most stains and spills.


PU leather is water-resistant, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture and clothing. It does not absorb moisture like real leather, preventing it from getting damaged in wet conditions.


PU leather can be manufactured in a wide range of colors, textures, and finishes, making it versatile for different fashion and furniture applications. It can imitate the look of various types of leather, including crocodile, snakeskin, and suede.

Cons of PU Leather

On the other hand, here are some concerns:

Environmental Concerns

PU leather is a synthetic material made of plastic, which raises environmental concerns. The production of PU leather requires the use of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. PU leather is not biodegradable, and its disposal can contribute to environmental pollution.

Not as Durable as Real Leather

Due to its inflexibility, PU leather eventually peels and cracks, especially after being subjected to heat and sunlight for extended periods. This could have an impact on its overall durability and aesthetic quality. However, PU leather is still the best compared to other types of faux leather.

Not Breathable

PU leather is not breathable, which means that it does not allow air to circulate through it. This can make it uncomfortable to wear for extended periods, especially in warmer weather.

Not as Soft as Real Leather

While PU leather imitates the look and texture of real leather, it is not as soft to the touch. It can have a plastic-like feel and be less comfortable to wear or sit on for long periods of time.


pu leatherImage by Freepik

Is PU leather waterproof?

The degree of water resistance depends on how well the coating or sealant was applied and how often it was maintained.

While PU leather is somewhat resistant to water, neither can be said to be completely waterproof. So, it's important to consider other things, like the weather, when choosing the best material for a given application to ensure it will last and work well for a long time. 

What is the most common use of PU leather?

PU leather is commonly used in furniture, upholstery, and clothing, such as jackets, shoes, and purses. Its durability makes it an ideal option for items likely to experience daily wear and tear. The synthetic material holds up well against scratches and spills, making it a great choice for households with children or pets.

What colors are PU leathers available in?

When it comes to PU leather, color options abound. Whether you're looking for something bold and vibrant or a more subtle hue, you'll find that PU leather is available in an array of colors. There's something for everyone, from classic black and brown to bold reds and blues.

Many people opt for PU leather because of its versatility in colors. With such a wide range of hues, you can easily match the material with your home décor or clothing choices. Moreover, your possibilities are endless because the material is easy to dye and customize. You can even mix different colors to create a unique look!

No matter what style or shade you're looking for, PU leather has something for everyone—and it won't fade with time! Its affordability and customization options make it ideal if you want an affordable option with plenty of color options.

How can PU leather be recycled?

The good news is that PU leather can indeed be recycled. Generally speaking, PU leather must be separated from other materials before it can be recycled, such as fabrics, metals, and plastics, and then sent to a specialized recycling center for processing. From there, the recycling process may involve breaking down the material into small pieces that are then melted and reshaped into new products.

However, there are also some drawbacks to recycling PU leather. For example, because PU leather is made from synthetic materials, it may have chemicals that don't break down well during recycling. This means that any toxins released during the process could ultimately end up polluting the environment if proper safety protocols aren't followed when disposing of them. Also, because it has a complicated chemical makeup, some types of PU leather may not even be allowed to be recycled in some places because of the rules there.

Overall, while you can recycle PU leather in certain circumstances, some risks and challenges are still associated with doing so responsibly and safely. Because of this, people should always look up the recycling rules in their area before trying to recycle this kind of material themselves. Additionally, they should consider looking into other sustainable options as well, since these may provide more benefits than simply trying to recycle an item that was never meant to last forever in the first place.

Is PU leather animal-friendly?

When discussing the animal-friendliness of PU leather, it's important to look at what it actually is. PU leather is a synthetic material made from polyurethane and other components such as plasticizers, pigments, fillers, and stabilizers. As such, it does not involve any animal products or byproducts in its production. This makes it a much more sustainable option than traditional leather, which does use animal hides.

In terms of how it affects the environment, PU leather is known to have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in it. These compounds can be released into the air and are bad for people's health and the environment. However, low-VOC options are now available on the market that can provide the same look and feel as traditional leather without emitting harmful emissions.

While there are some environmental concerns with using PU leather, it remains an animal-friendly alternative to traditional leather products. It does not involve any animal product or byproduct in its production, so it is better for people who want to avoid buying products made from animals. Also, as technology has improved, manufacturers now offer low-VOC options with less chance of hurting people or the environment.

Is PU leather better than real leather?

It depends on individual preferences and requirements. PU leather is more affordable and easy to maintain, while real leather is more luxurious and breathable.

Can you clean PU leather with regular soap and water?

Yes, you can clean PU leather with regular soap and water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.

Is PU leather environmentally friendly?

PU leather is made of plastic and raises environmental concerns. Its production requires the use of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, and it is not biodegradable.

How long does PU leather last?

The durability of PU leather depends on its quality and use. With proper care, it can last for several years.

Can you tell the difference between real leather and PU leather?

While PU leather imitates the look and texture of real leather, it can have a plastic-like feel and be less soft to the touch. An experienced eye can often tell the difference between the two.


PU leather is an outstanding choice when considering the materials for certain items. Its versatility and affordability make it ideal for various uses, so it could be perfect for you. However, it's important to examine all sides before making a decision. This material has advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional leather solutions. Ultimately, deciding if PU leather is right for your needs is up to you.