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How to bleach leather

Updated November 21, 2016

Lots of people like leather, but not everyone wants the darker colours. If you have found a leather piece that you like, such as a wallet or even a stool, but you would prefer it in a lighter shade, then you can bleach it a couple of different ways to tone it down. This allows you to get the object you want and change it to the appropriate colour.

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  1. Leave the leather piece in the sun. If you have the time, this is the most natural way to lighten the leather, and it adds no harmful chemicals. Place the leather outside on sunny days and monitor its progress. Once it has lightened enough, keep it out of the sun. This process is slow and can take several weeks or months, depending on how light you want the leather.

  2. Mix leather bleach with water, if you don't want to wait for the sun to do the bleaching. Leather bleach is safe for the material, unlike chlorine bleach. Follow the instructions on the container. Start with a diluted mixture of 29.6ml. bleach to 2 cups of water. If this doesn't lighten the leather enough for you, then you can make a more concentrated mixture and apply a second application.

  3. Brush on the leather bleach mixture with a small, soft brush.

  4. Leave the bleach on until it dries, and then wipe with a lightly damp rag. Too much water might darken the leather. You only want to remove the residue.

  5. Tip

    Wear gloves when working with the bleach.

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Things You'll Need

  • Leather bleach
  • Bowl
  • Brush
  • Rags

About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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