Does seeing white seats in a business jet give you a small heart attack? I used to cringe every time my clients wanted a light color seat, and I would do my best to explain why that may not be the best idea. Enter The Leather Institute. 

Think of The Leather Institute as your leather experts. They’ve been taking care of the leather on business jets—as well as other industries—for 25 years. Providing solutions to all your leather needs is their specialty, but as a designer, I most appreciate the freedom it gives me to create for my clients. I know my clients (and designs) are in good hands with their protection and maintenance services. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Sutton of the Leather Institute about their company and am delighted for the opportunity to share a bit of his knowledge and expertise!

Share with us about The Leather Institute for those who aren’t familiar. 

The Leather Institute is a FAA 145 Certified Repair Station specializing in Interior Care, Maintenance, and Restoration. Interior Services include Ink Removal, Ink/Denim Resist, Color touchups, Repairs, Full Leather Refinishing, and most importantly, Proactive Maintenance Programs. In addition to the leather services we offer Fabric/Carpet Cleaning and Protection as well as being the Exclusive Aviation Distributor for ClearCabin Antimicrobial. We operate three mobile service locations – our HQ located 45 minutes south of TEB that services the entire Northeast from Boston to Washington DC, South Florida located at FLL that services all of Florida and Georgia including Gulfstream SAV and Brunswick, and the Midwest in the Chicago area that’s services all of Illinois, Wisconsin, St Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, etc. In addition, our services are offered nationwide via our mobile service teams dispatched from our headquarters in NJ.





What’s your best advice for clients to protect their interior?

When a client has a new or recently refurbished interior, taking a proactive approach to the care of the interior is imperative to extend the life of your materials. Not only will this extend the life of the leather, but it will retain its original beauty throughout the useful life. Our recommendations include having additional protective (aviation approved) coatings applied, ie Ink/Denim Resist, Fabric/Carpet protection, etc. In addition, become familiar with what the recommend cleaning procedures are by each of your interior components manufacturer’s. Once the aircraft starts flying, get onboard with the Leather Institute Maintenance Program. This program proactively treats your interior through scheduled cleaning/touchups and preventative maintenance.

What are a few common leather mistake you see aircraft owners making?

Improper cleaning is probably the biggest mistake we see. Some “leather cleaners” can cause more harm then good. One improper cleaning can have an instant negative effect on the top coat protection and even prove detrimental to the fibers of the leather causing it to accelerate the breakdown of the leather. Using a cleaner that is both safe and effective will help to extend the life of your leather. In addition to improper cleaning we see a lot of owners get their leather refinished by non-aviation approved companies, thus risking their compliance with FAA regulations and potentially hurting residual value down the road.





What sort of regular maintenance should owners be doing for the leather in their cabin? 

Daily dusting of the leather to remove contaminants that have landed on the surface, cleaning of the leather with a safe and effective cleaner like The Leather Institutes Finished Leather Cleaner, and getting onboard the Leather Institute Maintenance Program – a proactive program to keep the interior looking new.

Because of COVID, there’s extra attention in making sure the cabin is sanitized and safe for the passengers. Harsh chemicals are obviously not safe to use on your leather, so what are some alternatives?

While harsh chemicals will remove germs, they will also damage the leather very quickly. We are the Exclusive Aviation Supplier of ClearCabin – Antimicrobial Treatment. One application and the components are protected for up to 90 days. We would recommend cleaning the leather with our standard leather cleaner or safe disinfectant to remove existing germs and prep the surface for application of the ClearCabin. Once the leather is clean, apply the ClearCabin Antimicrobial which then provides ongoing protection for up to 90 days.

What do you love most about your job?

I love working in the aviation industry and being able to indirectly offer a solution to some of the worlds most influential people. Our company has gone the extra mile to become FAA/EASA approved and to ensure we are aviation compliant in everything we do. We take the time to research, develop, and improve our own products so we can offer the best solutions to our clients. Every day offers something new and exciting whether it’s a Director of Maintenance for a single owner looking to get an ink mark removed, a Chief Pilot for a Fortune 500 company looking to put together a Maintenance Program so his/her clients consistently see a perfect interior, or a Director of Aviation for a multiple aircraft 135 operation looking to keep their interiors perfect so they can impress client after client. It never ceases to amaze me when that phone rings.

What’s the single most important takeaway you’d like readers to have?

In the customer’s eyes, the condition of your interior tells a bigger story about the aircraft . A customer boards an aircraft and sees a perfect interior, they assume the best – that all maintenance in top notch and all is well with the rest of the aircraft. If a customer boards an aircraft and sees a worn and discolored interior, what do they think? A lot of people are flying for the first time ever on private aircraft. Don’t let that first impression ruin the chance for a lifetime client.

To learn more about The Leather Institute visit or contact Jeff Sutton at 732.749.2705