Why Does Leather Turn Blue?

why does leather turn blue

There are a lot of color changes leather will go through throughout its lifetime. For this article, I decided to narrow it down to why leather will turn blue. I spent my time over the weekend researching why leather turns blue and I’m ready to share with you all that I found.

So, why does leather turn blue? Leather will mainly turn blue through color transfer especially from jeans (mainly through physical contact). However, there are some chemical reactions that can also cause the leather to turn blue. Anything metal with copper like brass, in the form of leather hardware such as zippers, rivets, etc, will turn leather into a greenish-blue color.

To find out more about how leather turns blue, continue reading this article.

Color Transfer on Leather

White or light-colored leather goods are very classy and usually have this special appeal to most leather lovers.

But most of the time when it comes down to it and we have to make a choice, many of us would go for something which is color-safe like browns, blacks, and other darker shade colors.

This is due to the kind of dirt, stains, and color transfer light-colored leather, in particular, takes on.

The primary way leather will turn blue is through color transfer. While there are many chemical reactions that can also change the appearance of leather to blue or something similar, the major reasons why leather will turn blue will be due to physical factors.

Something as basic as the clothes we wear can have its colors transferred onto our leather items even with the least amount of friction.

The worse part is while many leather care products on the market will claim the ability to totally remove the color transfer, you would want to keep your expectations to being able to only lighten the color transferred on your leather.

Jeans Staining

As mentioned before in this article, jeans stains are the most common cause of leather turning blue. The indigo ink color from some blue jeans can get transferred onto your shoes, bags, furniture, car seats, etc.

This is why most people like myself will opt for dark-colored leather items. There are a couple of things you can do to weather the storm when it comes to jeans blue-staining your leather.

One important tip is to keep up with cleaning the leather quickly and immediately after the jeans staining happens. Doing this will help prevent or decrease the chances of your leather getting stained permanently.

But hey, this is not an easy thing to keep up with! The fundamental truth remains that all leather stains and after all, that’s how they got the leather color to have some form of hue in the first place. This is certainly going to be the biggest caveats to using leather.

If you don’t have the stomach for having to see your thousands of dollars worth of leather goods getting ugly stains then you might want to change your wardrobe to only light-colored clothes, buy very cheap synthetic leather items (that you can easily dispose of), or simply stick to dark-colored leather goods.

How to Deal With Jean Staining on Leather

There are a couple of things you can do to ultimately ensure your jeans do not leather a blue or indigo stain on your leather goods. This will mainly include preventing those ugly jeans stains, protecting your leather goods, and effectively removing the jeans stains.

Preventing Jeans Stains From Leather

My first instinct will be for you to try as much as possible to prevent the blue jeans stains from happening. Below is a step by step guide on how to prevent jeans stains from your leather.

The best way I have found to help prevent jeans stains on the leather which will mainly require you to do nothing on your leather is by setting the dyes on your jeans when they are new. Here’s how you do it with simple household items!


Step 1: Depending on how many jeans you would want to apply this method to, fill a bucket with cold water and add  1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and a pinch of salt. The vinegar together with the cold water will help to set the dyes on the jeans while the salt acts as a softener.

Step 2: Load your jeans into the solution and allow it to sit and soak overnight. Just to be safe, you can first test out this process on just a single pair of jeans first.

Step 3: After the jeans have soaked overnight, wring them out and dry. You do not have to add any detergent before or after. Voila!

Doing these 3 simple steps will help to lock the dyes in and your leather items should be free from turning blue.

There are a couple of tips I have included below to help you tread carefully so you do not get those ugly blue jeans stains on your leather. However, if your leather has already seen some blue stains from your denim or jeans, here are a couple of things you can do to solve the issue.

Related Article: Guide On How To Prevent Jeans Stains From Leather

Removing Jeans Stains From Leather

Removing blue jeans stains can be tough, but with the right kind of products and processes, you should be able to significantly improve the look of your leather or remove the blue stain completely.

Using Leather Wipes

This will particularly work if the blue stain from the jeans or denim is pretty fresh. But hey, I’m not ruling out the chances of leather wipes working on old blue stains as well. Just give it a shot!

For most natural leathers and some types of faux leathers like vinyl leather goods, I found that leather wipes like Armor All Leather Wipes do a great job of removing blue dye transfer. It will clean and help to ensure the blue stain doesn’t resurface.

All you need is to rub gently the entire surface of the leather and the blue stain should be gone after a couple of treatments.

You can check out an article I wrote earlier on the 6 Best Leather Wipes

Using Special Leather Cleaners

There are also a lot of leather products you can use to effectively remove blue jeans stains from your leather. You can visit your local store and ask for leather cleaners for removing dye stains.

It has been a while since I tried working on jeans stains on my leather item because I do more of the prevention than actually treating a bad blue jeans stain situation.

But if I have to, my go-to product is usually Leatherique Pristine Clean. It will help to remove all kinds of stains from your leather.

Helpful Tips on Jeans Staining Leather Goods
  • If you’re a fan of fancy leather goods then you might have to take a critical look at your wardrobe.
  • Washing your jeans inside-out in cold water and air-drying it will help to maintain the dark color of your jeans but will in no way minimize how much dye transfer you’re going to have.
  • Washing all of your jeans, both old and new, will not completely fix the dye transfer issue but will just go a long way to minimize how much dye transfer you will normally have.
  • Another pretty helpful approach will be to use Scotchgard which is a fabric protector to help stop the jeans from color transfer. This will, however, not be a permanent solution as washing the jeans will eventually wash out the fabric protector.
  • When buying jeans, you can do a quick test to find out if the jeans will transfer their color onto your leather and other surfaces that come into contact with it. One way is to dampen a white cloth and firmly rub on the jeans. If you notice any color transfer on the white cloth then this is a sign of worse things to come. You can also do this test on your old jeans including other dark colored clothes as well.
  • If you find your jeans or dark-colored clothes will color transfer, you can wash them a couple of times with a detergent that protects or preserves colored fabrics before wearing them. You would want to do the white cloth test after each wash before wearing it.
  • Hopefully, if you have the old-style denim then you can as well try washing them in a solution of salt and vinegar. This method may likely not work on the very latest denim materials as it will have no effect on the type of dyes they use now.
  • You can as well use Magic Eraser to remove blue jeans stains from leather be it your car seats, furniture, bags, etc.

Lack of Proper Storage

Your leather can suddenly turn blue when not properly stored. Not magically though, but by another form of color transfer. This will generally happen with a type of leather called patent leather.

Related Article: 4 Reasons Why Patent Leather Stain Plus Tips & A Quick Fix

Patent leather is a type of leather that is finished with a nice glossy surface. Because of its glossy surface, they tend to be highly resistant to a lot of things especially water and many other form of moisture.

But one of patent leather’s main weakness is color or dye transfer. Patent leather can catch color or dye transfer by simply being in close poximity to another colored item.

While color transfer can happen when the patent leather item is in use, it’s more likely to occur during storage.

Because of this, one of the biggest tips anyone will give you when it comes to storing patent leather will be to make sure you leave spaces between patent leather items.

You wouldn’t want to pile all of your patent leather goods in a tiny wardrobe or draw.

The best practice will be to shelve your patent leather items, make sure they are well spaced out, and frequently check and see if no parts including handles are touching any other colored item you might have stored.

Not doing this can cause your leather to turn all sorts of rainbow colors including all shades of blue.

Metal Hardware Reacting With The Leather

Leather can turn blue if the leather item has some metal components in the form of hardware like a zipper, eyelet, rivet, ring, etc that are made up of large amounts of copper such as brass (copper and zinc) and bronzes (copper and tin).

These types of metals do not react so well with leather and can turn your leather green or sometimes greeenish-blue. This is usually not a very fun thing to see happen to your leather items worth thousands of dollars.

This is why you would want to go for leather goods that are made only using copper free hardware like nickel.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this simple chemical reaction occurs between copper-based metals and leather, how to prevent it’s from turning your leather green or bluish, and how to effectively deal with it, you can click here to check out an article I wrote earlier.


In this article, I research on some of the things that causes leather to turn blue.

While the primary way leather will turn blue is pretty simply straightforward (as discussed in this article), this article is by no means a complete list of reasons as to why your leather has turned blue.

My intention was to give you some helpful tips that can help give you some ideas as to what factors to look out for or evaluate when you are analyzing why your leather has turned or is turning blue.

In many cases, leather will turn blue or any other color based on your specific lifestyle and environment.

I hope this article has been a piece to the puzzle on why leather turns blue. Thanks for sticking around and see you in the next one!


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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