Leather Care Dictionary and Guide







Leather Recoloring Balm and Finishes

How To Repair Cracked Leather

Leather Types

Faux Leather

King Ranch Leather

Aniline Leather

Red Leather

Ostrich Embossed

Napa Leather

Alcantara Leather

Bonded Leather

How To Recolor Leather

What You Need to Recolor Leather

To properly recolor leather, ensuring the finish is professional and long-lasting requires specific tools and products. Make certain you are in a well-ventilated area as you work and have all of your materials ready. Below is a list of the necessary items for the recoloring process:


  • Cleaning Foam & Spray Bottle(optional): A spray bottle filled with water, can be used to mist the leather after cleaning with a clean cloth to ensure any residue is removed from the leather’s surface.

  • Deglazer: The leather deglazer is essential for removing the existing finish and preparing the leather surface for recoloring.

  • Sponges or Wool Dauber: These are your applicators for evenly spreading the recoloring balm onto the leather.

  • Recoloring Balm: To obtain the perfect match for your leather, please reach out to our customer service team for assistance with color matching and product selection.

  • Scrap Rag: Preferably a lint-free cloth, it will be used to buff away any excess balm during the recoloring process.

  • Gloves: Protect your hands and forearms from stains by using gloves—dishwashing gloves included in our kit work perfectly.

Here are the instructions for our proven 4-step Process to help you prepare for your recoloring job: https://clydesleathercompany.com/pages/instructions. 

Workspace Preparation

You'll also need to prep your workspace accordingly:

  • Ensure that the area is ventilated and free from solvents, and flammable, or corrosive materials. Our products do not produce harsh odors or vapors, making them safer to use indoors.

  • If you're working outside, choose a dry day and avoid direct sunlight as this can affect the drying time and final look of the color.

  • Clean up is effortless—use warm soapy water for washing up afterward.

  • Protect your workstation by using a drop cloth or a large trash bag cut open and taped down to keep everything clean and organized.

Leather Recoloring Balm and Finishes

The kind of leather will dictate what type of recoloring balm you should use to achieve the right recolor color and the right leather finish. Consider these different leather recolors and their applications:

1. Shoe polish:
Shoe polish works as a more temporary kind of leather recolor. The polish does not penetrate the leather’s fibers, making this recolor less permanent, though it is quick and easy to apply.

2. Alcohol-based leather recolors:
These recolors penetrate the surface of the leather, creating more vivid colors that last a long time. Alcohol may strip the moisture out of the leather, stiffening the material, so you may need a leather conditioner or finisher to restore the material.

3. The sun:
The sun can be a natural way to recolor leather. Leaving your veg-tanned leather out in the sun will darken its hue. This process will take at least an hour, more depending on how dark you want your leather as the sun’s ultraviolet rays will take a lighter leather and turn it to a dark brown over time.

4. Oil-based leather recolors:
Unlike alcohol-based recolors, oil-based ones do not strip the leather of liquids. Oil-based recolors cut through the surface of the leather to color the fibers to a richer saturation. These may work best for full and top grain leather without surface finishes applied, meaning those fibers will dry out more readily.

5. Water-based leather recolors:
Water-based recolors have fewer toxins than other recolors but produce more muted colors. They will leave your leather supple.

6. Resin:
A leather finisher made from natural resin will produce a subtler and softer finish and provide some protection from dirt. Resin-based finishers are not water-resistant and can work well. (Step 4)(Conditioning Cream)

How To Repair Cracked Leather

1. Clean the Leather Surface

Begin by removing any grime from the leather. Use Clyde's Leather Cleaning Foam for best results. Apply the cleaner to a microfiber cloth, not directly onto the leather, and gently wipe the surface. It's important to rub along the leather’s grain, which prevents the cracks from worsening.

2. Rinse Off Any Remaining Cleaning Foam

After cleaning, it's safe to use a small amount of water to rinse off any cleaning foam residue. Dampen the microfiber cloth with water, wring out excess moisture, and carefully wipe the leather, always following the grain.

3. Apply Conditioning Cream to the Cracks

Take a small amount of Clyde's Leather Conditioning Cream on your finger or a soft applicator such as a sponge or cloth. Work the conditioner into the cracks, which cleans and opens up the fabric’s pores, setting the stage for a deeper conditioning treatment.

4. Recognize Quick Absorption

Notice how the leather quickly soaks up the conditioning cream, especially if it is an item that has been drying out over time. Regular application of conditioner ensures that the leather remains soft and flexible.

5. Condition the Cracked Areas Thoroughly

Now, use more conditioner on the applicator pad and scrub over both the cracked areas and their surroundings. Keep doing this along the grain, which helps the leather achieve a consistent color and camouflages the cracks.

6. Consider a Complete Treatment

If it’s been a long while since the last conditioning, you may want to treat the entire piece of leather to prevent new cracks from appearing. This step is preventative maintenance for leather items.

7. Allow Time for the Leather to Dry

Give the leather a good two hours of rest after conditioning before handling it again; it should feel dry to the touch. If possible, allowing the leather to dry overnight is even better, as this gives the conditioner ample time to thoroughly rehydrate the leather.