Heat and sun can fade and dry leather, creating a dull, chalky surface that may look beyond repair. For burnt or badly weathered leather, the most you may hope for is improvement. However, for heat bleached or dried out finishes, shoe-care products are an inexpensive and effective means of restoring most leather finishes to like-new condition. Most leathers are dyed in common colours that can be matched with shoe polish. Always test an inconspicuous section of your leather before committing to a colour.
Use a soft brush to clean excess dust and grime from the surface of the leather.
Rub a moist cloth over the surface of leather soap, also called saddle soap, to develop a lather. Rub the lather into the leather, wiping the excess off with a clean damp cloth. Allow it to dry, and rub the surface to buff the moisturiser in.
Rub a soft cloth on the surface of a shoe polish that most closely resembles your leather in colour. Rub the polish on an inconspicuous spot, and rub it in. Wait for 20 minutes, then compare to the original colour.
Apply colour to the damaged, faded area with a soft clean rag. Buff the colour into the leather with a circular motion, feathering the new colour into the surrounding existing finish. Allow the polish to dry, then buff the leather with a soft shoe brush to a shine.
Apply clear polish on top of colour coat for furniture or other fabric that may come in contact with clothing to ensure that no colour transfers. Allow the leather to cure for 24 hours before exposing it to heat or moisture.
- "Leather Care Technician Manual"; Lonnie McDonald; 2004
- "Taking Care of Clothes: An Owner's Manual"; Mablen Jones; 1982
- Shoe repair stores typically have a colour chart and can match colours for you.
- Most polishes darken slightly as they dry.
- If the entire piece is scuffed, polish the entire surface for a sure match.