If you haven’t heard of Gathre yet, then don’t worry, you will soon. The company has been making headlines for its cool materials and appealing aesthetic. This article will be a review of the company’s wonderful mats based on experience with a Gathre Micro infant changing mat and a Mini highchair mat, but Gathre has a whole range of products outside of the world of baby gear.
What Is Gathre?
Gathre, in case you haven’t “gathered,” is a maker of a very cool vegan leather product. It seems like the company developed or found this leather-like material and then crafted a number of uses for it, but that’s just my take.
Their vegan leather is quite difficult tell from a real leather, with the only real differences being that its thinner, much cheaper, and has a greater variety of colors. But if you just were look at it or touch it, you’d thin its leather because of the feel of the material, the suede back, the water-resistance, and the sturdy nature.
I’m not a vegan, so why use vegan leather? Obviously the price is one reason, as is the simple fact that vegan leather is cruelty-free. But what else? Gathre’s material is wipeable, non-toxic, waterproof, doesn’t damage when folded (so its easy to pack), and it feels great. It also won’t ever get cracked and craggy like old leather.
On the downside, it won’t age like leather, but it isn’t a natural material like leather (well, as natural as leather can be after the tanning process).
But also, let’s face it, few of us are able to willing to give our baby’s leather changing mats, so this is a viable option where leather simply is not.
Gathre Leather Dos and Don’ts
The top surface (the leather) is water-resistant and can be wiped down with a wet rag or lightly soapy water. Avoid harsh cleaners, but I have used Lysol wipes with no problems.
The underside (the suede) is meant to be used against all sorts of surfaces so its OK if it gets a bit dirty. If the stains are really bothering you, a spot cleaner is OK, but use caution.
- Gathre leather can be stained by oil and mineral sunscreens
- Gathre is not dye-resistant, so watch out for markers
- Gathre cannot be machined washed
- Ironing can damage the mats, so don’t do it!
- Don’t store wet
If your mat is wrinkled, try to use it for a few hours and the wrinkles will generally release. If you want to speed the process along, just tumble dry the mat on low for 5 minutes.
Thoughts On Gathre
Having used Gathre mats for over six months now, I have to say I’m a fan. The mats aren’t cheap, but the prices aren’t bad, especially if you don’t need anything too big. The colors are really classy and the mats are durable.
I’ve had two and used a few others (friends, family, etc.) and haven’t had any issues. They really don’t stain, mine have never smelled poorly, and they hold up nicely.
I have found that the normal, single-ply version to be a bit flimsy, to the ends to flip up a lot, which can be a trip hazard if you are using the mat under a high chair or just a bit annoying if you are using it on a changing table. This is my biggest issue with the mat though, and while they aren’t as cheap as cotton backed with plastic, I think Gathre is much, much nicer. Gathre mats also make a really nice gift.