7 Common Ways Patent Leather Change Color (Plus 4 Easy Fix)

Patent leather is a type of leather that has been made shiny and glossy. The patent coating is largely due to the use of plastic, which creates an even shinier surface but why does patent leather change color?

Patent leather may change color due to;

  1. Extended Exposure To Sunlight
  2. Color Transfer
  3. Constant Exposure Moisture And Humidity
  4. A Chemical Reaction Or Using Harsh Chemical Cleaners
  5. Extended Exposure To Dirt And Stains
  6. Low-Quality Patent Leather Will Change Color Faster
  7. Aging

While some of the above causes of color change in patent leather are possible, a lot of the color changes that occur in patent leather goods are irreversible.

For example, while color changes resulting from dirt and stains on patent leather can be cleaned to some degree, color changes from extended exposure to sunlight are often irreparable.

Keep reading this article to find out more details about the possible causes of color change in patent leather and how to prevent it.

1. Extended Exposure To Sunlight

One of the main reasons why patent leathers change color is due to the extended exposure to sunlight.

The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause the plastic coating on patent leather to break down and change color. The discoloration may be uneven, which can create a patchy look.

This can be as a result of how the patent leather is stored, dried, or used. If it is not protected from the sun, then it will fade and change color over time.

So you want to do your best to properly store your patent leather items like shoes, and jackets properly by keeping them in a cool dry place to minimize the amount of sun exposure among other things.

You can check out my Step-by-Step guide on how to properly store patent leather so it doesn’t change color or get damaged.

2. Color Transfer Causes Patent Leather To Change Color

Another explanation of why patent leather changes color has to do with a phenomenon known as “color transfer.”

When an object comes into contact with another, it can leave behind particles that are darker in color than the original material. This happens when two objects rub against each other repeatedly and exchange colors through friction.

In the case of patent leather, when a light-colored patent leather item like a bag or shoes is stored close to a colored item like jeans, this can cause the patent leather to change color.

What usually happens is the color of the object gets transferred onto the patent leather, and it will start to look discolored.

In most cases, this would even happen when the patent leather item is not touching the other dark-colored item. Yet, color transfer is still possible.

So when storing patent leather items, you want to make sure there is enough distance between them to eliminate any chance of color transfer.

3. Exposure To Too Much Water Can Cause Patent Leather To Change Color

Another common reason why patent leathers change color is due to exposure to too much moisture.

When patent leather constantly comes into contact with water and is not properly dried, this can cause the patent leather to develop mold or mildew.

The mold and mildew will cause the patent leather to discolor or change color, and in some cases, it will start to look faded and discolored.

This will often lead to a deterioration in the overall appearance of the patent leather. For this to happen the chemical structure of the plastic coating can change and it will not be as durable.

In order to prevent this from happening, you want to make sure patent leather is completely dry before storage. If the item gets wet, then you should try to air-dry it as soon as possible.

Also, when the flesh side of your patent leather items constantly gets wet, it could seep through the coating and cause the color to change.

4. Chemical Reaction Can Cause Patent Leather To Change Color

As hinted before sometimes a chemical reaction can take place that is not moisture-related and can lead to a change in color.

One such chemical reaction can happen when patent leather comes into contact with harsh cleaners or other types of chemical-based cleaners.

For example, if you have patent leather shoes and it accidentally comes into contact with bleach or any other chemical cleaner, then this can cause the color to change.

This is because most chemicals are made of acid which will break down the plastic coating on patent leather reducing its durability in terms of abrasion resistance.

So it is important you use leather cleaners or care products that are suitable for patent leather. Or if you’re not sure what to use, then contact the manufacturer of your product.

What most people forget is although patent leather has a high gloss finish, it is still porous. So you should avoid using any harsh chemicals or cleaning products when trying to clean patent leather as it can lead to irreversible damage.

5. Aging Can Cause Patent Leather To Change Color

As patent leather items age, it is not uncommon for them to start to change color.

This happens because as the plastic coating on patent leather starts to break down with time, it will allow the colors of the dye underneath to show through.

So over time, you might start to see a gradual change in the color of your patent leather item.

It’s important to note that this change is usually quite gradual and subtle, so it might not be immediately noticeable.

However, as time goes on, you will start to see a more significant change in color. There is not much you can do to prevent this from happening, but it is something to be aware of.

6. Low-Quality Patent Leather Will Change Color Faster

One thing to keep in mind is that low-quality patent leather will change color faster than high-quality patent leather.

This is because the quality of the plastic coating on lower-quality items is usually not as good as those found on high-quality items.

So over time, you might see a more significant change in color. As the name suggests, patent leather is a type of leather that has been coated with a shiny and durable finish.

This coating can come in different types, each with its own unique way of causing color changes.

So if you have a patent leather item that is changing color, then this is what you need to check for.

7. Extended Exposure To Dirt And Stains Causes Patent Leather To Change Color

Finally, another reason why patent leather changes color is due to extended exposure to dirt and stains.

This is because when you allow your dirt and stains to buildup on your patent leather items over a long period of time, it can start to discolor.

In some cases, the dirt and stains will be so bad that it will be impossible to restore the patent leather back to its original condition.

To prevent this from happening, you want to clean your patent leather on a regular basis. This means taking care of any spills or stains right away before they have a chance to set in and cause damage.

So when you notice any dirt or stains on your patent leather, then be sure to take care of them as soon as possible by cleaning the item thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and water.

It is important that you do not use too much pressure while trying to remove the dirt and stains as it can cause more damage. Patience and a gentle touch are key when cleaning patent leather.

How To Fix Color Change In Patent Leather

Now that we know why patent leather changes color, the next question is how you can fix a change in the color of your patent leather after it occurs.

To restore a faded or discolored patent leather item to its original condition, there are a few different ways that you could go about doing this depending on what caused the damage in the first place.

So if you’re not sure how to fix the color change in your patent leather, then below are a few methods that you can try.

Before we head over to some of the methods, it’s important to note that not all of these methods will work for every type of change in color.

Each method has its own set of pros and cons, so you’ll need to decide which one is best for your specific situation based on the type of change and the severity of it.

Method 1: Dry Cleaning

If your patent leather has started to change color due to dirt or stains, then one method you can try is dry cleaning.

This is a process where you or a professional will use a special solvent to clean your item.

The great thing about this method is that it can be used for a wide range of different types of dirt and stains.

However, the downside is that it can be quite costly if you get a professional to work on it for you. So if you’re on a tight budget, then this might not be the best option for you.

Method 2: Mild Dish Soap And Warm Water

If the change in color on your patent leather is due to stubborn stains and dirt, then you might be able to fix it using mild dish soap and warm water.

This is a relatively easy method that doesn’t require any special tools or skills.

However, there are some things to keep in mind before trying this. First, the dish soap needs to be a gentle one that is meant for cleaning delicate surfaces.

Second, you need to make sure that the water is warm and not hot. Hot water can cause further damage to your patent leather item.

Once you have the right supplies, all you need to do is mix the dish soap with the warm water in a bowl or cup. Then take a soft cloth and dip it into the mixture.

Gently rub the cloth against the stained or dirty areas of your patent leather until the dirt and stains start to come off.

Be sure to rinse the area with warm water afterward and dry it off completely before putting it back into use.

Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol

If the change in color on your patent leather is due to a chemical reaction, then you might be able to fix it using rubbing alcohol.

This method works by dissolving the chemicals that are causing the change in color.

However, there are some things to keep in mind before trying this. First, you need to make sure that the rubbing alcohol is 100% pure.

Second, you need to test a small area of your patent leather item first to make sure that the rubbing alcohol doesn’t cause any damage.

Once you have the right supplies, all you need to do is mix the rubbing alcohol with some water in a bowl or cup. Using a ratio of about 50/50, mix the two ingredients together.

Next, take a soft cloth and dip it into the mixture. Gently rub the cloth against the stained or dirty areas of your patent leather until the dirt and stains start to come off.

Be sure to rinse the area with warm water afterward and dry it off completely before putting it back into use.

Method 4: Nail Polish Remover

If the change in color on your patent leather is due to a chemical reaction, you can also use a nail polish remover.

This method works by dissolving the chemicals that are causing the change in color.

Start by putting some nail polish remover on a clean white cloth or cotton swab.

Then, apply the nail polish remover to your patent leather item and allow it to sit for a few seconds.

After a minute has passed, wipe off any excess dirt with another clean portion of the cloth or swab that you had previously used.

Make sure that you thoroughly rinse the area with warm water afterward and dry it off completely before putting it back into use.

To learn more about how to fix color changes or color transfer on patent leather items, check out this article – where I highlight a lot of different methods that you can try.

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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