Can You Use Wood Stain On Leather? (8 Pros & Cons)

Wood stain is a great way to add color to unfinished wood furniture. But what about leather? Can you use wood stain on your leather items? In this article, I will answer this question as to whether you should use wood stains on your leather items.

So can you use wood stain on leather? You can be able to use wood stain to darken or add a distinctive look to your leather items but there will be a lot of downsides to its use.

Wood stain can harden your leather and can also cause your leather to become dull. The wood stain may also contain harsh chemicals that can dry leather and make it brittle.

To learn more about using wood stain on leather, keep reading this article.

Reasons Why You Should Not Use Wood Stain On Your Leather

1. Wood Stain May Harden The Leather

The wood stain may harden your leather. It can form a barrier on the surface of the leather, which could cause it to become brittle and crack.

When you use wood stain on leather, you may be sealing it from the essential oils and moisture. This can cause the leather to dry out and become brittle.

You will notice your leather will begin to lose its flexibility and give in to wear and tear very easily.

2. Requires More Work To Buff Out Wood Stain On Leather

Wood stain can be a difficult product to work with when it comes to leather. The wood stain needs to be buffed out after its application, and this requires more work than using regular leather dye.

When you apply dyes on leather the dyes are supposed to sink into the leather fibers and no dyes are supposed to be left of the surface of the leather.

Meaning after dying your leather, all dye residues are supposed to be removed after dying process is complete.

But when you use wood stain a lot of the wood stain sits on top of the leather and it will take you a whole lot of tissue paper or rags to be able to buff those wood stain residue out.

3. Wood Stain May Take Longer To Dry 

When you use wood stain on leather it is going to take longer for the product to dry. The reason is that the dye will not be sinking into the leather fibers like it is supposed to do due to its poor absorbency.

Also, most wood stains contain a lot of water and this will take longer to dry. If the leather is not able to dry properly or on time, it can cause the leather to have mold and mildew growth.

What complicates this process further is the fact that the leather has to air dry. Meaning you will need to let your leather dry for several days.

As you can imagine this will mean that your leather will be sitting out in the open for several days with wood dye on it which is a big no-no.

If you want to speed up the process of air drying your wood-stained leather items then put them in front of a fan.

4. Wood Stain May Contain Harsh Solvents

Another problem with using wood stain on leather is that it may contain harsh solvents which can not only damage the leather in the long term but also be harmful to your health.

Basically, wood stain is a dye that has been mixed with solvents to help with its coloring process. But these same solvents can eventually damage the leather and cause it to dry out, crack, and dry.

In cases where the solvents in the wood stain are not strong enough to damage your health or your leather, they will cause your leather to have a dull finish.

5. It Can Make Leather Dull Or Change The Color

When you use wood stain on leather, the resulting color is not something you will always want. One common effect is it can make the color of your leather item dull.

The reason for this is that one of these wood stains when used instead of using leather dyes does not sink into the leather fibers.

So after dying and the leather has to be buffed or cleaned most of the wood stain gets removed from the surface of the leather leaving the leather surface with a dull finish.

6. Wood Stain Does Not Absorb As Well Into The Leather

As mentioned before, when you use wood stains on leather, it doesn’t soak into the leather well as a leather dye would.

This means that the wood stain will simply sit on top of your leather item. This is not only unattractive but also can cause other problems.

For example, when the wood stain just sits on top of your leather and you start to use the leather item, some of that dye can rub off onto your clothing or furniture.

Possible Benefits To Using Wood Stain On Leather

Protects The Leather Surface

When you add some wood stains like the one from Minmax wood Stain to your leather, it provides a barrier between the surface and any moisture that comes into contact with the leather. This can be helpful if you live in a humid area or want to protect your leather from fading over time.

It also makes the surface more durable and resistant to damage from scratches and stains. This is because these types of wood stains contain a sealant that is used to help protect and treat unfinished wood furniture.

So if you’re looking for a way to color, stain, or protect your leather surface and you do not have the budget to purchase a leather dye, then this is an effective way of maintaining the surface.

Wood Stain Adds A Distinctive Look To Leather

Another benefit to using wood stain as an alternative to leather dye is that wood stain can add a distinctive look to your leather. This is because wood stains come in a variety of colors and shades that you cannot find with other types of leather dyes.

This means that you will be able to make your leather unique and add a special touch to your items. Just as the name implies, the wood stain will stain most smooth leathers and give unfinished leather much better staining.

Because wood stain is not made specifically for leather you can expect to have unique results every time you use it on different types of leather materials.

So make sure to test your item first, before applying the wood stain to your entire leather surface.

Can You Use Wood Stain On Leather? – Summary

Cons Of Using Wood Stain On LeatherPros Of Using Wood Stain On Leather
Wood Stain May Harden The LeatherProtects The Leather Surface
Requires More Work To Buff Out Wood Stain On LeatherWood Stain Adds A Distinctive Look To Leather
Wood Stain May Take Longer To Dry
Wood Stain May Contain Harsh Solvents
It Can Make Leather Dull Or Change The Color
Wood Stain Does Not Absorb As Well Into The Leather

Macwilliam K. Appianing

Hi! I’m Macwilliam, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leatherwork enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day!

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