How to Lighten Leather Guide: 7 Working Methods

This article will teach you how to lighten leather. You can do this at home with common household supplies, and it is a great way to save money on expensive commercial products. Read on for more information about how to lighten your leather!

Methods to Lighten Leather

Re-Dyeing Method

First, you should choose a color lighter than your current shade of leather so that it will be noticeable when applied to darker areas. Then, apply one coat at first and wait for about 15 minutes before applying another layer over it if necessary. When done correctly, this process can lighten up to three shades depending on how dark your initial leather was, to begin with!

For best results, apply two coats of white leather paint instead of only one using this method. Keep in mind that there are two types of dyes used for this process: aniline and pigment.

Aniline dye is a transparent type of dye that will darken with age, but it can be applied in multiple layers without affecting the color underneath.

Pigment dye is more opaque and does not change over time when dried properly, so you should only apply one coat at first to prevent any smudging or streaking on your leather.

Soap And Warm Water Method

You will need to mix one part of warm water with equal parts glycerin soap for this method. Take a sponge and soak it in your mixture before beginning. Then, apply the soapy water on top of whatever leather product you would like to lighten up until it is completely wet. Rinse thoroughly afterward and let dry naturally for 24 hours or more before using again if necessary.

This process can take longer than others listed here but works well depending on how much color needs to be removed from your item of choice! Make sure that any clothing items are not worn while they dry because there may be dye transfer onto other surfaces near them. You should also use only non-bleach detergents when washing out items after applying this method during the process.

Sunlight Method

Many people use this very popular method as the leather will begin to fade over time just from being exposed to the sun’s rays naturally! You can speed up this process and lighten your items quickly if necessary, but make sure that you do not leave them outside for more than three hours at a time during the hottest months of summertime when UV radiation levels are highest. If you live in an area where it does not get particularly warm or sunny, then using other methods works best instead of leaving items out all day long.

Oxalic Acid Method

Oxalic acid is a chemical that you can buy from most hardware stores to lighten leather. It should not be ingested or applied directly on the skin, but it works well when appropriately diluted and used as directed. You will need one part oxalic acid powder mixed with two parts water for this method, so make sure that you do not use more of either than listed here!

Mix the solution together thoroughly before applying it to your item of choice using a sponge or soft cloth afterward. Let dry naturally in direct sunlight if possible without interruption for up to 24 hours at least until fully dried again after washing out any residue later on by hand if necessary. This process may take longer than others, depending on how dark your leather was originally, but it is worth the wait if you want to avoid harsh chemicals and do not mind taking your time!

If other methods such as soap and warm water, sunlight, or other products such as vinegar seem like too much work for how light you would like to make your leather item of choice, you are then using oxalic acid is an easy way to go since it requires little effort. However, it should always be diluted properly before use because concentrated solutions can cause damage to nearby surfaces and objects by corroding them over time. This method works best for neutralizing colors that are already close together but may not remove color completely in some cases, depending on what type was originally used during production.

You will need a pH testing kit available from any hardware store when working with chemical solutions such as this to ensure that your mixture is safe for use.

Neatsfoot Oil or Mineral Salts Method

Neatsfoot oil or mineral salts are safe to use on most leather items and will not cause damage over time. This is an excellent all-natural choice that may be used on any sort of leather or synthetic fabric, such as fake suede, nubuck, and other artificial materials, with the aid of an applicator.

Neatsfoot Oil or Mineral Salts Method

To make it easier to apply on the surface you want, mix one tablespoon of neatsfoot oil or mineral salt in two cups of water. You should keep it at about 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit before application. But when you apply it, it needs to be between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit, or else the leather will dry up and get ruined.

Clean the surface area. Then put the cleaner on it with a cloth. Clean in an even circular motion to make sure the cleaner goes into every part of the surface area.

If you want more lightning power, rub the cloth when it is wet. But, do not brush too hard!

Sandpaper Method

This is an excellent choice if you want to lighten your leather item the most efficiently without having to use too much elbow grease or time. You can purchase lighter colored sandpaper from any hardware store that allows you to have a better grip on it as well, but using darker colors will not cause damage so long as they are not treated with dyes and chemicals beforehand. The process works best when done in sections because of how quickly it removes material during this step, so being patient here is essential!

Dry each section before continuing onto another one until finished for the day; otherwise, damp areas may stick together due to moisture present, which interferes with results overall.

Start by wetting down your entire surface between sheets of newspaper first off. Then cut a single sheet of sandpaper into squares large enough to cover the area you need and fold each section in half for easier application.

Use moderate pressure with your hand or an electric sander if available to avoid tearing through the leather by accident since it is not as durable as others. Work slowly until finished, but do not apply too much water, especially when wetting down first off because this can make surface areas sticky over time which prevents proper results from being achieved overall. Let dry between coats at least before applying another one to prevent damage!

You may also want to wear gloves during this process unless using an electronic tool that allows you control without them due to safety concerns otherwise.

Painting Method

Another fast and easy way to lighten your leather item — paint leather with acrylic paint. This method works best with shoes, sneakers, and items that are not exposed directly to water. Leather paint can be purchased from any hobby or craft store that allows you to select the color you need beforehand, which makes this an excellent option for those who already know what type they want since painting requires precision in order to avoid streaking lines over time.

Simply apply one thin coat every 15-30 minutes until satisfied with overall results; otherwise, streaks may appear as well depending on how many coats are applied, so being patient here is important! Allow paint at least 24 hours before using again because drying times vary by the brand used plus other factors such as humidity present during itself too.

Useful Tips

Treating your leather items with neatsfoot oil or salts is an excellent way to keep them moist and prevent cracking, which causes damage over time. However, it does not work for all types of leathers, so do some research beforehand if you are unsure about how it will affect the item in question before applying anything at all! For boots that take on water easily, using a waterproofing spray prior to wearing can also help prolong their life expectancy.

Useful Tips

When painting leather garments like jackets, use only white shoe polish as a primer first off because darker colors may bleed through when applied otherwise, plus show up every single flaw possible since they contain dyes used already instead of actual paint itself. This makes this step an important preparation procedure despite its tedious nature.

When cleaning leather, do so in small portions at a time while keeping a watch over the entire item carefully to avoid any accidents. Since oil-based cleaners may cause discoloration or staining if not used properly, then use only water and mild soap instead since they are designed specifically for this purpose already!

Alternatively, you can also buy specific products made just for your garments, like saddle soap which is an excellent choice by all accounts too.


Can you bleach leather to make it lighter?

Yes, leather can be bleached if you use a chemical called oxalic acid. This solution is intended to lighten leather and wood.

How do you lighten leather naturally?

First, mix oxalic acid with water to make bleach. Then clean the leather with it. Follow the instructions for cleaning but add more oxalic acid if you want to make the bleach stronger for a lighter look on your leather.

Will hydrogen peroxide lighten leather?

If you have ink on the leather, use a clean cloth to dab it instead of rubbing it. Then, carefully and precisely follow the lines with a paintbrush soaked in hydrogen peroxide. It will remove the ink and cause some minor damage to the leather.

Can you use baking soda on leather?

Baking soda can be really good at removing odors from a variety of leather surfaces. Sprinkle it over the surface and use a dry brush to massage it in while you are sleeping gently.

Useful Video: How to Lighten a Pair of Shoes

Final Words

In conclusion, there are many ways to lighten leather, as mentioned above, and each one has its own unique advantages that you can choose from depending on the situation at hand. Just keep in mind that these methods may not work for all types of leather, so be sure to do your research first before trying out any new techniques, just like I said earlier!