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Can leather be painted? Is leather painted?

Let me ask you this...Ever seen a purple cow chilling over in the cow field? If so, I bet it was the 70’s and involved some Pink Floyd. 😂

Now for the real answer........No cows are NOT purple, of course Pink Floyd is awesome and YES leather can be painted. In fact over 90% of all leather upholstery and leather goods are colored with a pigmented “protective” top coat, in Lehman’s terms a “Leather Paint”. This includes automotive, furniture, aviation, marine, jackets, shoes, purses, briefcases, wallets, cell phones cases...I think you get the point.

A “painted” leather doesn’t mean that it’s a bad quality leather. That natural characteristics of the leather itself are extremely durable and when being “protected/colored” with a top coating leather dye it becomes over the top durable. With leather being a porous material if left unprotected it will easily scuff, stain, and fade over time. 99% of automotive leather and over 90% of leather furniture are colored with protective leather dyes. All of the automotive companies like BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Toyota, Jaguar, Ford, GM and all the rest, even Rolls Royce use protected or painted leathers as a standard install for their models.

There are unprotected leather types and in the leather industry we call these Aniline leathers. Basically any unfinished leather that has never had a protective top coat that leaves the pores exposed on the surface. Nubuck and Suede leathers are also considered unprotected leather. These are high end(that 10%) leathers that are sought after for their natural modeled appearance and soft feel. They are also EXTREMELY expensive. In the automotive industry most of the the Ford King Ranch editions come with standard with aniline dyed leather.

When considering leather repair or recoloring, knowing your leather type, protected or unprotected, will determine the type of products needed for a restoration. The easiest way to make this determination is to drop a little water on the leather in a non worn area. Does it absorb or bead up? If it beads up(in 99% of cases) you have protected or “painted” leather. If it absorbs, it’s unprotected.

The term leather “dye” is very loosely used in the leather industry. Luxury Leather Repair automotive and furniture dyes are both protected/pigmented/top coating leather dyes. The products included in all of the leather dye and repair kits featured on are designed to make a protected/painted leather restoration a simple and easy process. 

If you have or think you have aniline leather, reach out to us and we can definitely give you some advice.

Check out the quick tutorial video below showing just how easy this leather recoloring thing can really be...with the right products!!

Automotive Leather Dye Products  

Leather Furniture Dye Products  

Thanks for reading and until next time “Love your leather y’all!!”


1 comment

  • Incredible product, I just can’t believe how my BMW X5 car seat look new, the only thing I regret it s not having taken pictures before/after since the result is incredibly majestic.
    Tku so much and obviously HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    Thierry Trovatelli

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