Leather Discoloration And How To Deal With It

 Knowing what changes the color of leather will allow you to quickly maintain your leather furniture or accessories and keep them in good condition for many years. 

There is no denying the appeal of leather as it is strong, durable, fashionable, and easy to maintain. Leather upholstery in your car is almost royal, and leather furniture in your home adds a sophisticated touch. However, even though leather will last much longer than any other type of material, it is still susceptible to damage. The quality can and does deteriorate if not properly maintained and protected, and the damaged leather does not look very good at all. There are a few basic things that can tarnish the leather.

What causes leather to deteriorate?

Knowing what they are can help you better protect your leather furniture or upholstery and keep it intact for many years to come. Some simple things can damage leather.

Sun exposure

That huge dazzling ball in the sky known as the sun is leather's worst enemy. In addition to affecting the color of your leather, too much exposure to direct sunlight can damage your leather and cause it to look old and worn. So first, consider whether your car windows let in sunlight, or your leather furniture is exposed to the sun daily. Then, consider moving furniture out of direct sunlight and parking it in your garage or shaded areas.

Extreme temperature changes

Moving leather furniture from a place where temperatures are normally warm to a location that is noticeably cooler or warmer can damage the leather—for example, parking your vehicle outside or moving a leather sofa from inside to an outside balcony if it gets too cold at night. Store the leather of your furniture in places with a constant temperature to avoid any damage. Parking your car in the garage overnight will provide better protection for the leather interior against temperature variations.

Not cleaning stains right away

Sometimes you or someone else spills something on your leather. The stain can become permanent if you don't immediately take care to remove it. Since items with harsh chemicals can damage leather, a decent leather restoration kit will include a protectant or other leather cleaning products that can help you remove stains without damaging the leather.

Harsh products

Using harsh soaps, detergents, and chemicals to clean your leather goods can damage the leather instead of cleaning it. Look for specially formulated leather cleaners and restoration kits to ensure you take safe care of your leather. Other products can make the leather dry, cracked, and dull.


A warm home is wonderful and comfortable, but if leather furniture is placed too close to a heating vent, it can damage the leather. Move furniture away from heating ducts and park vehicles in garages or shady areas.

How to remove discoloration from leather

Leather repair kit

If the discoloration is more severe, you may need to use leather color restoration and apply an appropriate leather oil. The leather kit will help revive the color of the leather and remove stains and marks. To ensure that the repair kit you choose is safe to use on leather, test it in a separate area before using it on the entire item.

Isopropyl alcohol

Water-damaged leather can be repaired, brightened, and restored to its original color with isopropyl alcohol. Plus, it helps remove any residue or buildup that may be responsible for fading.

Just pour a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and gently treat the affected area. It's important to remember that rubbing alcohol can also damage leather, so try it on a different spot first. Then, stop rubbing alcohol and try another method if you notice the damage.

Suitable leather cleaner

Knowing the type of leather you are cleaning will help you choose the best cleaner, as there are many different types of leather.

In general, however, abrasive cleaners should not be used on leather, as they can damage the surface, causing it to dry out and crack. To clean leather, many people suggest using Clorox wipes or damp towels. Make sure that whatever product you use is harmless and safe for leather.

Limit sun exposure

Keeping the leather clean, dry, and out of direct sunlight is essential to prevent discoloration. In addition, should avoid the drying of leather goods. Excessive exposure to sun and heat can discolor and even break the leather. Therefore, you can help maintain the color and appearance of your leather goods and extend their useful life by protecting them from the sun.

Understand leather processing

Natural leather is made from the skins of various animals. Over time, leather becomes "aged" or undergoes cosmetic changes due to use and aging. Because it is a sign of high-quality leather and a desirable material characteristic, leather enthusiasts highly seek after the "patina" that develops on high-quality leather.

While most changes to the appearance of leather are desirable, some are less desirable and can often cause problems for leather consumers.

How does leather crack?

The most common problem is cracked leather, which results from dry or neglected leather. The many tiny pores in the surface of the leather release and absorb moisture depending on the relative humidity of the environment. Leather can dry out and crack if the humidity is too low. The leather should be treated to keep it moist and supple, thus avoiding excessive cracking.

How to bleach leather?

On the other end of the spectrum, too much moisture can cause mold to form on the surface of the leather. The mold often appears powdery and blotchy and is green or white in color. It is often confused with spu, also known as "oil bloom," which results from internal fats and oils crystallizing on the surface of the leather when exposed to air. Harsh bleaching can cause an uneven appearance of white or green spots on leather.

Why does leather become green?

If faded dye is the problem, the leather may also discolor and turn green. If black leather fades, which can occur from prolonged exposure to strong sunlight, it often develops green spots.

What makes leather stick?

Another problem that leather consumers may encounter is that the coarse finish of bi-molded and patent leather products can sometimes make the leather sticky. There can be several reasons why leather is sticky:

High humidity

It can make leather feel wet or sticky.


The process of tanning leather involves adding chemicals and removing salt from the hide. If the leather has been improperly prepared or tanned, the waxy residue can clog the natural pores on the surface.

Lack of cleaning

Maintaining a high standard of care and cleanliness for leather is essential, as natural oils and dirt can accumulate on the surface and make it sticky. That said, using the right cleaning products for your item is essential, as using the wrong ones can further damage the surface and leave it sticky.

Leather smell

Due to variations in the tanning process, different types of leather may smell differently or have a stronger "leather" smell than the other. All dyes, treatments, and chemicals seep into the skin's pores and release their fragrance; Some skin doesn't smell at all. Leather gives off a slight smell of animal skin when inhaled.

Since many people love the smell of leather and take it into account when determining the quality of an item, the initial pungent smell of leather should dissipate over time. Cheap and badly tanned leather can have an unpleasant odor because they still contain tanning agents and chemicals that have not been washed properly. Customers may not particularly like the strong natural smell of goat and camel leather. Additionally, leather can absorb pungent odors, such as those caused by mold and mildew, which smell musty.

Can stained leather be repaired?

Darker stains can be removed by diluting a little isopropyl alcohol in the pigmented leather and applying it to the leather with a lint-free cloth. Just do a patch test in a hidden place to ensure it won't stain the leather.

How do Sunlight and UV Rays Affect Leather?

The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage leather, which is an inherently delicate material. Excessive exposure to the sun can damage the texture of the leather and cause it to look worn and neglected. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you do not expose your leather goods to the sun or leave them to dry in the sun for long periods of time. Remember that leather is a product of animal hides containing inherent oils and fats that give it luster and softness.

The main characteristics of leather include these factors. However, if your leather goods are left in the sun for long periods of time, you will begin to see the first signs of aging, cracking, and drying. Contrary to popular belief, ultraviolet radiation is more damaging to leather. This is due to the molecular effect of its intensity on the leather. For example, the leather jacket you wear daily in the sun may look out of place after just a few months. Leather loses its natural preservatives and gradually loses its chemical bonds when exposed to UV rays, either at high intensity or for prolonged periods. This technique can make your leather goods look flaky and faded.

Therefore, prolonged exposure to the sun can accelerate the aging process of your favorite leather bag, jacket, or another accessory. Additionally, leather can dry out and shrink from intense heat and prolonged exposure to the sun, which can be a difficult problem to solve. 

Sunlight on leather

Fading is the most obvious change in sun-damaged leather. While discoloration can help leather develop a beautiful patina, it can also look unsightly if worn or neglected. In addition, leather is a very porous material that can release moisture by absorbing it. The leather becomes brittle due to drying out from the UV rays of the sun and the displacement of essential oils.

Although you can restore leather goods with specialist conditioning chemicals, it is very difficult for the fibrous structure of the material to repair damage caused by excessive sunlight. Your leather goods may look and feel old due to fading and physical drying. Read on to learn more about how UV damage affects leather goods: 


When leather is exposed to the sun for a long time, its color fades. Your leather may lose its shiny color from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.


UV rays have the ability to dry out the natural oils in leather. As a result, the material can dry out and become brittle. 


There is a good chance that the leather will crack if UV rays have severely dried it. You will notice wrinkles and creases starting to form, which can lead to cracking if not properly cared for in time.


When leather is exposed to the sun, premature aging is often observed. Wrinkles, shrinkage, and loss of the skin's natural radiance are signs of aging. 

When do sunlight and UV rays start to damage leather?

Although leather is a porous and delicate material, its conditioning and tanning layer protects it durably from the environment. However, when leather is exposed to the sun for long periods of time and without proper maintenance, the consequences of sun damage can occur very quickly.

You may notice deterioration in the color of your leather item in about 3-6 months, and you may begin to see the first signs of creases, wear and tear in about 1-2 years.

Which leather products are affected by sunlight?

Sun exposure is a common cause of damage to leather furniture, car upholstery, luggage, clothing, purses, purses, and gloves, among others.

Due to the way they are used, these leather products are frequently exposed to the sun and are susceptible to damage over time if not properly cared for. Your leather goods can fade, warp and tarnish if exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

How to protect leather goods from sun damage?

Keeping all your leather goods out of the sun can be a challenge. You can minimize UV damage to your leather item with proper care and even prevent permanent damage.

It is only natural that some leather products, such as leather bags, upholstery, and furniture, cannot be protected from direct sunlight. However, we want to share some nifty tricks and techniques with you. All tips are time-tested, and we are sure they will help leather goods last longer. Therefore, we ask you to study them carefully and use them as much as possible. 

Keep leather goods out of direct sunlight

The easiest strategy to prevent sun damage is to keep your leather goods completely out of the sun whenever possible, for very obvious reasons we covered earlier in our guide.

Of course, this won't always be possible, but if you can, try to keep your car in a garage or some covered place all day so the leather interior doesn't suffer as much damage.

Try to move any product directly exposed to the sun whenever it makes sense. Try tinting windows or drawing curtains to prevent excessive UV exposure in your home. Additionally, you should always try to keep your leather garments from drying out in the sun for long periods of time! Leather can lose its suppleness and vivid color when it dries in the sun.

Treat leather products

Treating leather goods that are frequently exposed to the sun can prevent sun damage while preserving the texture and color of the leather. Some of your essential oils will be restored, giving you a layer of protection.


Leather is one of the most premium products in the world. But it will look very bad if the leather product starts discoloring. Many reasons can be there for discoloration. And can also cure discoloration. In the above article, we have shared some details on the discoloration of articles. If you are interested in leather, then this article is for you.

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