Synthetic leather manufacturer Toyocloth Co has developed a synthetic leather material that is both supple and dirt-resistant.

This new material has the low-sheen, comfortable feel of quality leather for products like sofas and purses. But oily smudges of lipstick, shoe polish and even ink from felt-tip and ball-point pens are readily wiped away with a tissue.

The synthetic leather is made from polyurethane coated with a nanometers-thin layer of fluororesin. The fluororesin contains compounds that resist water and oil and an adhesive compound that firmly attaches the thin coating to the polyurethane.

As the resin dries, the oil-resistant compound naturally migrates toward the surface and the adhesive compound naturally sinks to the bottom because of their relative weights. This adhesive compound has low viscosity, so it fills all the indentations in the polyurethane. When pressure is applied, the coating attaches firmly to the surface of the synthetic leather. According to Toyocloth, the material can be wiped 10,000 times with a cloth and still retain this protective coating.

The company has priced the material around 30% above conventional products. It began selling a material for sofas in July, and products made with the new synthetic leather are expected to hit the stores around September. Later on, Toyocloth will also release versions of the material for other furniture as well as for bags and purses, golf shoes and gloves. It hopes to generate sales of 1 billion yen from the material in fiscal 2007.