How to Stop Leather Dye From Rubbing Off

If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy the look and feel of leather furniture. Not only is it stylish and comfortable, but it lasts a long time. However, if you’ve ever had leather dye rub off onto your clothes or skin, you know that there can be a downside to this type of furniture.

How to Stop Leather Dye From Rubbing Off

If you have leather seats in your car and dye them a different color, you may be noticing that the dye is rubbing off on everything else in the car. To stop this from happening, you can use a few different methods. First, you can try applying a clear coat to the leather. This will help to seal in the color and prevent it from rubbing off. Another method is to use a leather conditioner. This will help to protect the leather and keep the color from rubbing off.

10 Reasons That Cause Leather Dye to Rub Off

1. Alcohol-based Dyes Dry Quickly and Lead to Dye Rub Off:

When the dye, alcohol, and moisture are still in contact with each other, they form a weak bond. This means that as soon as it is rubbed up against, the dye is easily washed off.

2. Water-based Sealants Cause Water-based Dyes to Rub Off:

Water-based dye forms a weak bond with a water-based sealant, so they easily separate from each other and cause rubbing. In other words, the lighter coloured dye on a black leather lounge can rub off and discolour a cream carpet. Any water-based dye applied to the surface of leather is vulnerable to the transfer of colour onto surfaces that come into contact with it.

3. Leather Protectant Causes Oil-based Dyes to Rub Off:

Oil-based dye will not form a strong bond with the leather protector, making it easier for these two substances to separate and rub off. This makes it more difficult to keep your leather looking its best.

4. Using Too Much Dye Causes the Dye to Rub Off:

Leather Seats in Car

The ink smearing on your leather shoes is most likely caused by the dye being oversaturated with water or oil. This can happen if you use too much dye, or if you don’t rub the dye in well enough. You can avoid this problem by using less dye, or by using a different type of dye.

5. Dyes Are Not Mixed Thoroughly Enough:

This leads to dye components settling out of the solution, which can cause rubbing off if they don’t remain evenly distributed throughout the solution.

6. Dyes Are Not Applied Uniformly Enough:

Rubbing off can occur when dye coats an area unevenly, leaving one part of the leather dyed while another is left undyed. This occurs more frequently on large surfaces, like jackets or sofa cushions.

 Large Surfaces on Sofa Cushions

7. Improper Buffing of Dyed Leather Leads to Rubbing Off:

If excess dye is not removed after the dyeing process, the leather will retain too much moisture, making it rub up easily. The same can happen if buffing is done too quickly or too roughly.

8.Leather Color Fades Over Time:

Leather dyed and left in sunlight for a long time loses its pigment and becomes more transparent. This means that any dye rubbing off the soft leather will be especially visible and take away from the appearance of your leather piece.

9. Most Black Leather Dyes Will Produce Rub Off:

Leathers that are dyed black generally use aniline dyes which contain large quantities of water-soluble components, making them more likely to rub off.

10. Applying Dye to a Topcoat Sealant Will Lead to Rubbing Off:

Topcoat sealants appear to have good adhesion but contain little or no oil. This means that without penetrating the leather, they are unable to protect it from water-based dye rub off.

8 Effective Ways on How to Stop Leather Dye From Rubbing Off

1. Wipe the Leather With a Damp Cloth:

Before doing the dying process, you should wipe the leather with a damp cloth. It will help to remove any loose dirt from the surface and those dust particles that may have been settled over time on the surface of your leather. Once you have done this, you can go ahead with the dying process without any tension, as this simple step has already done half of the job for you.

2. Use a Dye That Has Been Meant Specifically for Leather:

Always use a dye that has been specifically made to die leather. There are many other types of dyes available in the market, but you should avoid them as they can spoil your leather and leave it dull after some time. In order to get the best possible results from the leather dye, you should always use the one that has been made for your specific type of leather.

3. Protect Any Other Parts of the Leather:

After applying any particular colored dye to your desired area, you should protect the leather parts where new dyes might accidentally fall. To avoid this kind of mishap, you should always cover the entire leather with some tape or cloth.

4. Apply Color on Specific Areas of Leather:

You do not have to color your whole piece of leather with one unique dye. Instead, you can apply different dyes on various parts of your leather to get a unique look for each area. This way, you can easily make different parts of your leather look different from each other.

Apply Different Dyes on Various Parts

5. Use Paint Brush for Dyeing Leather:

When applying the dye to your leather, you should always use a paintbrush instead of directly dipping your sponge or cloth into the container that has the dye in it several times. If you pick up some dye on your paintbrush, you can easily apply it to the leather without getting the dye all over.

6. Make Sure Your Cloth is Not Damp:

If you want to prevent any rubbing off or smudging of color, then make sure that your cloth is not damp at all when using it to dry your leather. If your cloth is wet, it can easily pick up and remove some of the dye, and you will not be able to get a uniform look for your leather.

7. Use Paste Dye:

You should always use paste dye instead of liquid dye as it will help in giving you better control over the application process, and also, you can seal the leather pores with it. This will help you to avoid any rubbing off or smudging of color.

8. Use Pigment Sealer:

After applying the leather dye to your piece of leather, you should always use some pigment sealer to protect it from coming off. The more you use the pigmented sealer, the better protection your dyed leather will be.

Some Tips and Suggestions

Here are some tips and suggestions on how to stop leather dye from rubbing off.

1. When you are done dyeing, wash your hands with cold water and dish soap. If there is any dye rubbing on your gloves, this will remove it.

2. If it is on your skin, nothing will remove the dye. Well, nothing short of ruining your garment. Wear gloves or use a brush to apply the coat of dye you want without getting any on yourself.

3. Wash clothes with hot water and cold water in separate loads; always keep dyed items different from other laundry loads until dry.

Wash Clothes With Hot Water and Cold Water

4. Use a color-catching sheet in your dry cleaning machine to prevent the dye from transferring onto other clothes.

5. If you get dye on another item, immediately spot treat and wash that item separately, then it should be just fine.

6. If it bleeds through, you can use a leather color fixative after the garment is completely dry to seal the color in and keep it from bleeding onto anything else.

7. Remove any stencils before dyeing (or dye them too and don’t wash over them).

How to Stop Leather from Bleeding Dye

If your leather product has been dyed, you might be having an issue with the dye rubbing off on other things. Even if the color is still fine, it can still look bad if it rubs off clothes or furniture. However, you can do a few things to stop this from happening.

First, you can give the leather a clear finish to be sealed against water and other liquids. You can also use a wax or pigment dye if your leather is light-colored. These dyes penetrate the leather instead of sitting on top of it. Finally, you can also use a leather spray dye, which is good unless you want to change the entire color of your product.

Once you have finished dying and sealing your product, it’s essential to take care of it after that point so that the dying doesn’t happen again. Be sure not to let anything water-based touch your leather, and try to avoid using it when you know you will be exposed to anything that might rub off onto it.

Try to Avoid Anything Water-based Touch


To ensure the dye stays put, be careful with how you handle and store your leather goods. Avoid hot water and try not to touch it too much while wearing gloves if possible. If any color does come off onto your hands or clothes, clean them as soon as possible using soap and cold water, do not use detergent or bleach.

Remember that dry cleaning is also a great way of preserving the original colors if they get stained by something else!

The best way to avoid the dye from rubbing off is by using a leather conditioner. You can also apply a protectant spray or use a vinyl cover if your sofa is in high-traffic areas. We hope this blog post has helped give you some insights on how to stop leather dye from rubbing off. If you have any questions or want to know more, then feel free to comment below!

Jennifer Branett
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