8 Easy Ways To Protect Your Leather From Fading

Does Leather Shoes Expire?

Leather is a popular choice for furniture, clothing, and accessories. It’s not only fashionable but also durable. However, leather can easily fade from exposure to certain environmental factors and some basic daily activities.

If you want your leather to maintain its look and last as long as possible, follow these 8 easy tips on how to protect your leather from fading.

So, how do you protect leather from fading? You can protect leather from fading by;

  1. Avoiding Direct Sunlight On Your Leather Goods
  2. Using A Leather Conditioner
  3. Avoiding Prolonged Exposure To Moisture
  4. Using pH-Suitable Leather Cleaners
  5. Not Cleaning Leather Items Too Frequently
  6. Avoiding Too Much Friction On The Leather Surface
  7. Not Putting Leather Items Close To Any Heat Source
  8. Investing In A Good Quality Leather Protector

In the rest of this article, I will be discussing each of the top tips on how to protect leather from fading in detail and share with you what to do when your leather fades.

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight On Your Leather Goods

One of the primary ways to protect your leather from fading is to avoid placing items in direct sunlight.

Sunlight contains harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause color changes and/or cracking in your leather items. It can also drastically fade the leather material as a whole, making it look old and worn out.

Therefore, try to avoid placing items directly under the sun or near windows with direct sunlight exposure if you want them to maintain their original appearance for as long as possible.

In addition, be sure to store your leather goods in a cool, dark place when they’re not in use. This will help to minimize the amount of fading that takes place.

You should also never clean your leather item in the sunlight as it will dry it out and fade it prematurely.

2. Use A Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioners are essential for maintaining the appearance and quality of leather furniture, clothing, car interiors, and so on.

Leather conditioners contain special ingredients that help to nourish the leather, keeping it looking healthy and new.

So when you apply a leather conditioner to your leather items you’re actually rejuvenating and protecting the leather at the same time.

This is a must-do step for anyone who wants to keep their leather looking great for years to come while maintaining a pristine look.

If you want to protect your leather from fading, it’s a good idea to use a conditioner at least once a month (more often if the item is subjected to a lot of wear and tear).

There are many different types of leather conditioners on the market and the good news is some of the leather conditioners have UV protection, so be sure to do your research and find one that’s best suited for your needs.

You can check out an article I wrote earlier on the best leather conditioner with UV protection which highlights the creme de la creme of leather conditioners.

Be sure to read the directions on the bottle and then apply the conditioner as instructed.

3. Avoid Prolonged Exposure To Moisture

Leather is a natural material and, as such, it’s prone to absorbing moisture.

If your leather absorbs too much moisture, it can cause the material to swell up and become soft. This will then make it susceptible to fading and other types of damage.

This happens by moisture eroding the dye that is used to color the leather. As this dye starts to wear away, it can cause the natural color of the leather to show through.

In order to protect your leather from fading, you should try to avoid exposing it to excessive amounts of moisture.

This means keeping leather furniture away from sources of water (sinks, showers, etc.), avoiding contact with rain and snow, and not leaving items outside in the elements for extended periods of time.

If you live in a humid climate, you may want to consider investing in a dehumidifier to help keep the moisture levels in your home under control.

This will help to protect all of your belongings, not just your leather furniture and accessories.

Another way to do this is by using a water-repellent product on your leather items. This will create a protective barrier against moisture and help to keep it looking new for longer.

4. Do Not Use Harsh Cleaners On Your Leather (pH Appropriate Cleaners)

Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals. These can strip away the protective layer of your leather, leaving it vulnerable to fading and other types of damage.

Harsh cleaners like bleach can, in addition to stripping the finish from your leather, cause the natural color of the leather to fade.

If you want to clean your leather items, it’s best just to use a gentle soap and warm water (or conditioner).

You can also wipe down your items with a lightly damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and smudges.

However, if you find that your leather is extremely dirty (and it’s safe to do so), then there are products like saddle soap on the market that can be used as a deep cleaning agent for more heavy-duty jobs.

There are also many pH-appropriate cleaners available today which will not strip away any of the natural protection your leather has.

Be sure to do your research and find a cleaner that is best suited for your needs before proceeding with any cleaning.

5. Do Not Clean Your Leather Items Too Frequently

You could have a good leather cleaner that is pH suitable for your leather but if you use them too often or frequently, you are not just going to be removing the natural or essential oils of the leather but also stripping it of its coloring – causing the leather to fade.

This is one of the main reasons why leather loses its color and takes on a dull, faded look over time because it was either never conditioned properly or cleaned too frequently.

This not only causes your leather to fade but also leaves the surface of the material dry and brittle which makes it susceptible to cracking and tearing (which further leads to fading).

This begs the question of how often should you clean your leather items? Well, based on how use your leather items, you can clean them once or twice every year.

This way, you’re still removing any dirt or dust that has built up over time, but you’re not stripping away the dyes, natural oils, and protection of your leather.

6. Avoid Too Much Friction On The Leather Surface

Friction is one of the main contributors to wearing away (and thus fading) your leather. So essentially, leather items that get rubbed on a lot during their use can easily get faded.

This includes leather car seats, couches, chairs, headrests, armrests, to mention a few. All these leather items take on a lot of friction which does not only cause them to wrinkle but also prematurely fade.

So if you’re someone who spends a lot of time in their car, be sure to use seat covers or protect your leather.

Leather handbags and backpacks are also another common culprits of fading due to the constant friction they face on a daily basis.

Lastly, try as much as possible to avoid direct skin contact on your leather items as our body oils is too acidic and can over a period of time cause leather items to fade.

All in all, make sure your leather items do not get too much friction during their use to avoid premature fading.

7. Do Not Put Leather Items Close To Any Heat Source

A lot of people have the habit of drying their leather items close to some type of heat source. This ranges from leaving it on a radiator, to using a hairdryer on it.

Heat is one of the archenemies of leather and will do nothing but cause the leather to crack and fade.

To prolong the life of your leather items, avoid putting them too close to any heat source at all cost as they will only serve to dry out and weaken it over time – leading to cracks and eventually fading.

A good rule of thumb is to only air-dry your leather items when they come into contact with water.

Leather is an organic material and as such, when heated up, will expand. This expansion will cause the material to buckle, stretch, and warp – and also lead to fading over time.

8. Invest In A Good Quality Leather Protector

Leather protectors are a life-saver when it comes to keeping your leather items in good condition and preventing them from fading.

There are many different types of leather protectors in the market – some that come as a spray while others come as a cream or wax. So it is important to do your research before investing in one.

Make sure you get a protector that is specifically designed for your type of leather, as not all protectors are created equal.

Once you have applied the protector, make sure you let it dry before using your leather items.

A good tip is to apply the protector twice a year or once every six months at least – depending on how much you use them of course.

By applying the right type of protector, you are not only going to increase the lifespan of your leather but also prevent it from fading too quickly.

What To Do If Your Leather Is Faded?

It is important to note that leather is a natural material and some fading is inevitable.

While all of the above can help to protect your leather from fading, if you do start to notice your leather items fading, there are certain steps you can take to help restore the original color and appearance.

You Can Re-dye The Leather

One option is to use a commercial leather dye or recoloring kit. However, this should only be done by a professional as it can be tricky to get the desired results.

But if you’re good with your hands and have the patience, then this may be a viable option for you.

You can also try dyeing the item with different colors to give it a new look instead of trying to imitate the original color.

This really helps to manage the expectation. All you need to do is to make sure the color of the leather is compatible with the dye you are using.

By Polishing The Leather

Another way to help restore faded leather is by polishing it.

You can use a polish that is specifically designed for leather to restore the original luster of your item over time, depending on how badly faded they are – this usually takes about two weeks or so.

Polishing leather that has faded is a great way to restore the original color and appearance, but this should only be done if your leather is not too badly faded.

The reason for this is that polishing dried-out leather can cause it to crack over time – so always do a test patch first before doing an all-over application.

Using A Leather Cleaner And Conditioner

There are leather cleaners and conditioners that you can use to help restore your faded leather items.

While the leather cleaner cleans the item, the conditioner helps to moisturize and nourish the leather – which is especially important if it has been exposed to sunlight for a long time.

Some leather conditioners also contain some amounts of pigments, which can help to restore the color of your leather.

Make sure you read the instructions carefully before using any type of cleaner or conditioner and always test in an inconspicuous area first.

Professional Restoration

Finally, if you have a very faded item and none of the above methods seem to work, you may need to consider having it professionally restored. This is a more expensive option but can be worth it if the item is very sentimental to you.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are many different ways that you can protect your leather from fading.

By using the right protector, polishing, cleaner, and conditioner – as well as taking care not to expose it to too much sunlight – you can help to extend the life of your leather items.

If they do start to fade, however, there are still steps that you can take to restore their original color and appearance.

Thanks for visiting our blog and we hope this article was helpful to you.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft 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 about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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