My Leather Jacket's Color Is Bleeding on My Skin

Christina Milian at the 2011 Google Music launch in pink leather.

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A bold, brilliantly colored leather jacket can add some serious style to a fashionista's look, but wearing those highly pigmented shades can cause a few practical problems. Leather dyes -- especially heavy, fully saturated colors like black or red -- are sometimes prone to bleeding or rubbing off onto skin and clothing. No girl wants to motor through her busy day with unfashionable dye stains mottling her bod, but just ditching a new leather jacket can seem like a total waste.

Cause and Effect

Dye bleed on a leather jacket can come from a range of possibilities, from manufacturing mishaps to weather woes. In wet, humid or just plain sweaty conditions, leather that's been oversaturated with dye sheds the excess, regardless of how well the dye sticks in dry weather. Your jacket may also have never been sealed with a leather finishing product, designed to keep dye fixed, or was subject to an imprecise dye job. Some dye types don't fix well to leather, and some leathers don't take any dye permanently.

Bleed Prevention

Preventing your leather jacket from continuing to bleed on you isn't an exact science, whether you need to make the dye more permanent or simply get rid of the excess pigment. Sometimes simply sealing the jacket with a leather finisher and buffing it out is enough to keep the dye at bay. In other instances, you may need to go for a leather waterproofing product or even sew a protective lining layer into the jacket just to keep it from touching your skin too much.

Fashion Fix

In extreme instances where the dye is rubbing off too much for any sealer to be effective, simply coaxing out the excess dye can help. You can rub leather cleaner into your jacket to buff out the dye, or wipe it down with vinegar and warm water. Moisture often draws out dye that hasn't attached itself permanently, so other options include hanging the jacket in a steamy bathroom, washing it with a dye-catching sheet or wearing it out in the rain a few times to let the dye run off.

Damage Control

Whether you were successful in sealing the dye into your leather jacket or not, you might still be stuck dealing with the initial skin stains. Getting dye off your skin can be difficult, and just letting time wear it away as your dead skin cells shed may be the easiest option. Applying small amounts of rubbing alcohol, which acts as a solvent, onto stains may help them fade faster. Otherwise, a good regimen of basic scrubbing and exfoliating can diminish the pigments enough so that others won't notice.

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References

 

Leather Craft and Weaving; The Editors of REA How to Sew Leather, Suede, Fur; Phyllis W. Schwebke and Margaret B. Krohn

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