how to darken leather boots

Are your favourite leather boots losing their original color and becoming more and more faded over time?

With time leather tends to fade which makes our leather goods look very different from the time we had bought them originally.

To darken leather materials such as boots, shoes, jackets, couches, and other items, you first have to clean and equip the leather item.

After the initial cleansing process oil, dyes and polishes are used to give it a darker shade. If you want to know how to darken leather boots, accomplishing it is fairly simple. As long as you follow the correct steps and use the right materials.

If you want to learn how to darken leather boots and maintain their original color and look, keep on reading!

Preparing the Leather

Dust and or vacuum the leather boots

Prior to beginning the process of darkening your leather, especially your boots, you must remove dust and dirt otherwise they will get enmeshed in your shoes during the shading process. Use a brush or any sturdy vacuum attachment to eliminate extra dust particles on the leather.

Use a drop of dish soap with a damp piece of cloth

Pour few drops of dish soap onto a damp piece of cloth and run under the tap. Rub it vigorously so that it creates foamy suds.

Once that is done, squeeze the cloth to drip away excess moisture. Make sure the piece of cloth is not wet but just damp enough.

Swab the leather with mild dish soap or water

Use circular and small motions to wipe over the leather. Go on wiping the leather until you have cleaned it thoroughly. This process should eradicate any stubborn dirt accumulation.

Scrub the leather down with a damp cloth

Make sure to wipe away any evidence of dish soap from the leather with a damp piece of cloth. It is preferable to use a clean piece of cloth for the entire cleansing process.

Air dry your leather article

This is a very essential step if you are darkening or cleaning your leather boots. Before applying any polishes, oils, or dyes be sure to sit out the leather to air dry.

Air drying keeps your leather boots from cracking, something that can happen if you dry them under direct sunlight.

Your leather item is ready to be darkened when it is completely dry.

Method 1: Oiling Your Leather to Darken it Without Dye

Buy mink oil, leather honey or neat’s-foot oil compound

Most of these products are available online or a shoe repair store near you. You can specifically ask for leather shoe cleaning products and you will be guided accordingly.

These products are produced especially to climate and darken it. Avoid using olive oil and other such oils because they will stain the surface of the leather.

Drop a small amount of oil onto a smooth piece of cloth

Take a tablespoon of oil and drench a small piece of the cloth. Make sure to use just a tablespoon of oil and to use just a small area of the cloth. You should not moisten the entire piece.

Grate the oil onto the surface in a flat covering

In a precise back and forth motion, rub the skin of your leather. Attempt to apply the oil in one consistent layer. This is where your leather should start of turn a darker shade.

During this process if you realize the piece of cloth is losing its oily dampness, pour over a tablespoon of oil onto a small patch of the cloth.

Allow the oil to dry overnight

After the application of first layer of oil, allow the leather boots for dry out over the course of one night. You can come back to the leather and see if it has turned a shade of your preference.

Application of further coats of oil to darken the leather better

If you have applied oil to darken your leather boots, but haven’t yet achieved your desired color, it is advisable to repeat the entire oiling process.

Make sure to let the leather dry between each coat of oiling. You can apply as many coats of oil that you want to reach the hue you want. Just make sure to air dry the leather after every application of oil.

darken leather boots

Method 2: Dying Your Leather Boots Darker

Acquire a leather dye. Leather dyes come in two categories – water based and oil based. Reading the instructions on the back of the product pack is very important.

Usage of leather dye eventually dries out the leather so conditioning of your leather with leather oil or conditioner is absolutely vital if you are going with this method.

Oil based dye is mixed with special chemicals like a dye reducer and water-based dye is made mixed with water. Oil based dyes last for a far longer period of time but are also harder to peel away from the leather. 

So, if you think you may want to repaint your leather with a different colour later, it is highly recommended to use a water-based dye.

Drench A Piece of Cloth with the Dye

Pour over a small amount of the leather dye onto a piece of cloth of sponge. A soft sponge or cloth is recommended because unlike a hard brush it will not leave behind stroke marks like a brush does.

Caution – be sure to sit in an open or well-ventilated area when using leather dye so as to prevent yourself from inhaling the fumes of the leather dye.

Application of The First Coat of Leather Dye

Dab the sponge or cloth drenched with the dye on to the surface of the leather in small round motions. The leather should start changing to a darker hue while you are applying the dye. Aim to get a balanced color shade for a neat finish.

Dry the Leather Dye For 24 Hours

As the leather dye starts to dry up, the color may seem to get a shade lighter. The leather boots should be left in an area with room temperature and good ventilation.

It is most important to keep them away from sunlight in order to prevent them from cracking or peeling.

Application of Further Coats of Dye to Get Your Desired Dark Shade

After the leather boots have dried overnight, you can check if they are the desired shade that you wanted.

If you feel that you have not achieved the shade that you were aiming for, application of more coats of leather dye is required.

Just make sure to let the leather dry for 24 hours between each coat of application. Keep on with the process till you reach the color of your preference.

Method 3: Polish to Darken Leather

Leather polish is available in many shades, both dark and light. You have to search for a shade that is many times darker than the current shade of your leather if you want to achieve a nice dark shade. You can find leather polish online or at your nearest shoe repair store.

Pour Polish onto a Sponge

Take a clean piece of sponge or small clean piece of cloth, be certain that it is soft. Place the piece of sponge or cloth over the mouth of the bottle. Now turn the bottle upside down so that a small amount of polish reaches the sponge or cloth.

Rub the Polish in Circular Motion

Start rubbing in the leather polish into your leather good or boots. Use round circular motions, be gentle. You will see the leather turning a shade darker. Proceed with the application of leather polish until you have covered the entire surface.

Rub Your Leather with a Dry Cloth

Use a clean piece of a dry cloth and start rubbing it over the leather in circles – this process is known as buffing. This will help in even out the appearance of the polish and help it permeate properly.

 Keep buffing the leather with the dry piece of cloth until the polish looks consistent all over the surface of your leather.

Sit the Leather Polish to Dry It Overnight

Once you are done with polishing your boots or shoes or even your leather jacket, it is important to allow the leather polish to dry out properly.

The leather polish over the course of 12 hours should be able to seep in properly and dry out completely.

Once your leather has dried up, you can apply more polish should you desire to achieve a darker shade.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does coconut oil darken leather?

  • Natural oils such as coconut oil can be used to darken your leather. Such oils are handy, quick and easy to use.
  • Another benefit of using coconut oil is that it refreshes the leather which helps your leather boots last for a longer period.

Does olive oil darken leather?

A very common issue that occurs with leather is fading. With time leather tends to fade. Olive oil is quick and cheap method to fix this issue. But it can also stain your leather. So be careful while using it.

How do you darken saddle leather?

Upkeep of a leather saddle is not difficult but it is definitely important. I recommend using hydrophane darkening oil of a dark shade to darken a leather saddle.

Can you dye leather darker?

Leather can be oiled; it can be restored and can be dyed to any darker shade of your preference. All that is needed is attention to detail, time and the right kind of products.

Whether it’s your leather couch or your leather jacket or your favourite shoe, they all eventually fade with time with wear and tear.

But all these can be fixed with the correct application of leather dye following the steps I have detailed above.

Maintenance of leather or darkening of leather is not difficult but it is definitely a task that requires the right tools, dedication and patience.

You can oil the leather, polish it or dye it, just be sure each time to use good products and ample of time to let the leather dry up.

If you have any tips on how to darken your leather goods, please drop them in the comments!

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