Minimal skill is required to restore your leather coat's color.

How to Restore a Leather Coat's Color

by David Lipscomb

Over time and with sufficient use, even the best leather coats eventually fade and develop uneven spots. Although the distressed, lived-in look is often desired -- and even sought after when purchasing new garments -- you may prefer to keep your leather coat looking brand new. Leather dyes and dyeing kits enable you to keep your favorite leather coat or jacket in tip-top condition with minimal effort.

Clean the areas of the coat you plan on re-coloring with the rubbing alcohol and cotton balls, whether it's the entire piece or just in specific areas. Apply light to medium pressure; you don't need to scrub hard. Apply the alcohol directly to the cotton balls, rather than pouring the liquid directly on the coat.

Tape off any sections of leather or hardware you don't want affected by the dye.

Apply the dye in multiple thin coats, using a sponge applicator or brush. The latter works best for getting into smaller areas or around snaps and zippers, while the former is ideal for larger sections.

Rub the section using a buffing cloth or brush. Many dyes do not properly set until this step is accomplished.

Apply one or two coats of leather sealant with a clean sponge applicator. This product makes the color more permanent and matches the sheen of the existing leather around the repaired area.

Items you will need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastic tape
  • Leather dye
  • Sponge applicator
  • Leather sealant
  • Buffing cloth or brush


  • Compare a removable hood or small leather piece to the coat to properly match the colors. This is especially useful if you need someone to color-match a custom dye shade.
  • Rubbing the coat with alcohol won't remove the color, but will thoroughly clean any oils or residues that may hinder dye penetration.


  • When dyeing, avoid wearing nice clothing, and work away from any wood surfaces that you don't want accidentally stained.

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images