Leather Turning Yellow: Causes & Prevention


Leather, the rockstar of materials, is loved for its unrivaled durability and its ability to make time itself jealous with its eternal charm. The aging process of leather transforms it from a pristine beauty to a slightly jaundiced shade.

Quite the fashion faux pas, wouldn't you agree? To truly grasp the motives behind this chromatic metamorphosis is of utmost importance, my dear interlocutor, for it is only through such comprehension that we may thwart and diminish the unsightly phenomenon known as yellowing.

Prepare yourself for an enlightening journey through the mysterious world of yellowing leather. Brace yourself as we delve into the depths of this age-old conundrum and unveil the secrets behind its unsightly transformation. Fear not; we shall also arm you with practical wisdom to combat this leather calamity. So, grab your magnifying glass and join us on this thrilling adventure!

Wondering why leather turns yellow? The answer is here!

Sunlight exposure:

The early yellowing of leather is caused in large part by the sun's light and the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that the sun emits. After being exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, the proteins and colors in the leather begin to break down owing to photochemical reactions.

The quick yellowing of leather that occurs due to photodegradation is caused by the sun. When exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods of time, lighter colors of leather are more likely to experience fading and discoloration than darker leather.

Aging and oxidation

Oxidation and the impacts of time are two of the most significant factors that contribute to the yellowing of leather. When leather is exposed to air and light, it goes through a series of chemical reactions that cause it to change colors.

The original hues of the leather fade with time, leaving it with a drab yellow or brown hue. This happens because leather is a natural material.

Environmental factors

Leather that has been exposed to certain environmental variables may become yellow over time. The discoloration and yellowing of the leather may be caused by the growth of mold and mildew on the surface of the leather, which is caused when there is an abundance of humidity and moisture in the air.

When leather is subjected to elements such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, and chemicals, the material may degrade and become yellow.

Chemical reactions

Leather's internal makeup might shift if it is subjected to certain substances for an extended period. It is possible for discoloration and yellowing to develop in leather if the pH balance of the material is upset, as a result of, for instance, the use of acidic or alkaline cleaning chemicals, powerful solvents, or treatments that are not acceptable for leather.

Utilize items specifically created for this purpose, and follow the directions on the product label while doing so. This will help preserve the leather's original sheen.

Improper storage or handling

The wrong way of storage of leather may cause it to become yellow over time. When leather items are stored in environments with fluctuating temperatures, excessive levels of humidity, or inadequate ventilation, the natural process of leather's degradation may be accelerated.

The most favorable conditions for the growth of mold and staining of leather are storage rooms that are dimly lit and damp.

Some tips to help maintain the original color and quality

Here are some of the top tips to help you maintain the leather’s original color and quality:

Avoid direct sunlight:

Leather may lose its color if it is directly exposed to sunlight and may fade over time. If you’re unable to keep your leather away from sun exposure, you may want to consider using sun protection measures such as UV-resistant coatings, curtains, and shutters.

Use protective coatings

Use a leather conditioner or a protective coating to help seal the leather and keep it protected from the elements. These things have the potential to protect against the sun's rays, prevent moisture buildup, and reduce the likelihood that your paint or cloth may turn yellow with time.

Maintain proper humidity levels

Maintain an appropriate amount of humidity; an environment with too little moisture in the air may cause the leather to dry out and crack, while an environment with too much moisture in the air may stimulate the growth of mold and mildew.

It will be easier for you to prevent these issues if you keep the humidity level at a steady level between 40 and 50 percent all the time. If necessary, use dehumidifiers or humidifiers to maintain humidity levels steady.

Condition the leather

It is essential that you treat your leather items on a consistent basis in order to prevent dryness as well as potential color loss. Always be sure to use a high-quality leather conditioner made specifically for your kind of leather by following the instructions provided by the product's maker.

Handle with clean hands

Always ensure that your hands are clean before working with leather since the oils and grime on our hands can be transferred to the leather, leaving behind lasting stains.

If you only handle your leather items with clean hands, you can prevent grime, oil, and other substances from becoming embedded in them.

Store properly

Leather's natural grain and quality may be preserved with the use of appropriate storage methods. The storage of leather products in places that are humid or moist should be avoided since this may lead to the growth of mold as well as discoloration of the leather. Pick a space that is cool and dry, and ensure that it has enough ventilation.

When storing leather goods for an extended period of time, it is important to protect them from dust and color transfer by wrapping them in airtight fabric or using acid-free tissue paper.