Reasons Why Leather Become White and Ways To Prevent It


Every now and then, leather turns white. Bacteria and fungi are the most common perpetrators which make this happen. Also, when you don’t properly store the leather. Or when leather is actually stored for a very long period of time. Moist storage areas grow bacteria and fungi. Other factors can be salt stain, metal, or fatty bloom.

Leather is a luxurious material that necessitates proper care if it is to stay in its original state for a long time. If mistreated, it will start tearing off. Leather turning white is a widespread issue that can be due to a lack of attention.

Following are the reasons and preventive measures for leather turning white.

Salt Stain

Salt causes shoes, boots, gloves, and leather jackets to turn white. Salts help in the de-icing of the snow. This assists people in driving cars on snowy roads. But it can damage the leather that comes into contact with it. On a snowy day, salt gets saturated into your leather items, and after a while, the salt starts to react with leather causing leather to turn its surface white. As salt is an alkaline substance. When the salt begins to break down, it abolishes molecules of leather. The salt responds to tanning agents, making the leather exterior soft, powdery, and gritty like sandpaper.

This can be prevented by purchasing a specific leather repair kit for damage and avoiding salt damage by dodging places where snow is present.

Bacteria Or Fungus

Bacteria and fungus turn leather white as leather is a very porous material, which means that it will absorb things and can be damaged by them. When stored in damp places, leather goods cause bacteria and fungus to grow like mildew. The best thing to do is to place leather products in a dry place.

If your leather has mold covering its surface, causing it to be white, then use rubbing alcohol to remove it.

Fatty Bloom

Leather items are exposed to high humidity for a long period of time. The product’s pores expand, letting oils from within the leather leak out of it. Fatty substances leave from leather products, and they will settle on the exterior, which turns it white.

The best way to stop fats from leaking out of leather is by making sure you keep the product in a dry and ventilated place so that moisture does not get stuck within the pores. Use a leather cleaner especially made for grease and oil stains. If the item is turning white with the help of a small brush, remove excess oils and dirt.

Sun Damage

Sunlight comprises a large number of ultraviolet rays that cause the leather to fade, causing it to become dull in color. Without any shade or protection, if the leather is left under the sun for a long period of the day, the sun’s ultraviolet rays will damage and destroy the leather fibers. The material becomes visibly less bright as molecules break down from the light of the sun.

Here are methods to protect leather products from sun damage.

  • On the leather items, apply a UV protectant spray. Or make sure all leather items are well covered in the form of shades.
  • Apply a protective oil or wax coating on the leather products before using them out in sunlight. This protection between the leather and sunlight keeps it from fading, turning white, and cracking.
  • Wear socks before putting on leather shoes. Do not lay in your leather car seats in a bathing suit.

Preventative Measures

Use the materials such as cleaner and conditioner in your closet to restore leather car seats, jackets, etc.

Mold Removal Technique

Depending on the leather, what could have led you to this situation? Some people own leather that is finished, unfinished, or suede. By using a soft brush, make sure all the mold or mildew residue vanishes from the leather, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose debris. If that doesn't work out, gently pat or shake the leather. Add three drops of dish soap or leather cleaner to your microfiber, then rinse it off. Finally, wipe off the suds from the leather surface once it’s carefully cleaned. Use rubbing alcohol and detergent to dampen the cloth, then with the solution, rinse and dry it. The leather should be totally dried. Buff it until there are no residues left. Let it rest for 24 hours.

Protection Against Bacteria and Fungus

Using a soft hairbrush, dust off the white portion with a lint-free towel and eliminate the residue. Once the surface has been carefully cleaned and dusted off, you can eject remover using a microfiber cloth.

Use Suitable Metal Hardware

Find which type of metal hardware your leather item comes with and change them to non-reactive ones so it doesn’t react with your leather, such as silver.

  • Use a soft bristle brush around parts of the leather with brass.
  • Avoid storing them in damp places
  • Clean and condition your leather frequently.

Everyone has at least one item of leather, and steps taken for proper care of leather products can go a very long way. A couple of factors cause the leather to turn white. Knowing how to stop the leather from turning white is vital. There’s still hope if your leather shows signs of fungus or bacteria. The above steps can help fix leather products and revive your precious leather jacket or other accessories.