With its sleek and modern look, white leather is popular for everything from couches to handbags. Yet those who have owned white leather for a while will attest to the fact that it is prone to yellowing. Unfortunately, if it is not cared for properly, that bright, brilliant white can fade to a dull, ugly yellow, and once it does there’s little that can be done to fix the problem. These tips will help you delay this process and care for the leather without encouraging yellowing.
What Causes White Leather to Yellow?
White leather yellows as part of the natural oxidation process. In other words, it’s simply what the leather is prone to do over time and exposure to the elements. Oxidation is the breakdown of the fibers from interaction with elements in the air.
While you cannot prevent this process completely, and white leather is going to yellow after a few decades, you can slow it. Keeping the leather well lubricated with Leather Honey is one of the first lines of defense against this problem.
Cleaning White Leather Carefully
Another way to help prevent the oxidation process is to clean the leather correctly when it gets dirty. Harsh chemicals will lead to premature yellowing, so be very careful. Any time you are going to clean the leather, test a small area first.
Before you begin cleaning the leather, check your leather cleaner. You must use something without alcohol or toxic chemicals. Read the labels before you proceed. Also, read the tag on your item. Because leather is a natural fiber, it often has very different recommendations from one item to the next. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations before you begin cleaning.
To clean white leather, begin by removing any loose surface dirt, but do so gently. Then, dip your cloth into your leather cleaning solution, which should be prepared according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Massage the leather with the cleaner, doing a small area at a time.
You can also clean the leather with a mixture of three parts water to one part apple cider vinegar, which is particularly helpful when dealing with mildew damage or other odors. With white leather, you may want to use white vinegar to avoid any staining. Once the area is clean, you need to allow the leather to dry completely. Before using again, apply Leather Honey to seal in the natural moisture and prevent the oxidation process.
What to Do with Yellowed Leather?
This cleaning process can effectively remove many types of stains and dirt from white leather, but it will not restore yellowed leather. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done once the leather has begun oxidizing and turning yellow. Some who appreciate the look of aged leather and understand that this is part of the process find that they don’t mind. If you do mind, take these precautions to protect your leather, and you’ll find that it keeps its white glow for many years.