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PATIN-A BlogBased on Experience

This blog shows how to patinate correctly, gives tips for the work in the costume department, shows the newest trends and introduces products and their use. 
The main focus lies on costume distressing, leather working and textile dyeing. We show trends of the trade and aids for costume design.

Acetone & Leather - No good combination

Acetone - the perfect leather cleaner?

Many of our customers frequently ask us if acetone can be used for dye preparation instead of Fiebing's Deglazer or PURE 100%, as a finish remover so to speak.
Sorry, but - the answer is no!

Acetone is not even suited for the classical leather cleaning or as a stain remover. Acetone is very low-cost, has an immediately visible effect and can be bought anywhere (in every DIY shop or 'Home Depot' or drugstore and comes as nail polish remover). 
We would like to explain to you why you should never - never ever - use acetone on leather! 

Aceton für Leder?

The only exception that can be made is for costume departments. If leather jackets, bags or shoes must be aged optically and destroyed for a film or a play, then acetone is the perfect choice.   

How does acetone work?

Acetone destroys the basic structure of the leather as it dissolves all the components added during tanning. No matter whether the leather has been vegetable or minerally tanned, or tanned with greases. 

Acetone not only destroys the wear layer (upper side - i.e. grain side) of the leather, but also the tanning components and the fibre structure.
The leather becomes brittle, cracks can occur and even holes.  

Leder mit Aceton behandelt

After treatment with acetone, the leather cannot be "saved" any more!
Even a treatment with best greases, waxes or lotions will not help - the leather remains destroyed. 

Acetone is a highly toxic substance and very harmful to the human body. 
It is absorbed through the skin and respiratory tract. This can lead to dizziness, nausea and eczma on the skin (if you did not wear gloves).

The right dye prep without acetone

Any leather has to be prepared thoroughly for dyeing! Tanning or finishing residues (waxes, greases, lacquers etc. ) have to be removed as otherwise the dye cannot penetrate the leather and acrylic dye cannot adhere to the surface.  

Gesundes Leder ohne Acetonbehandlung

There are excellent products for that purpose that do not harm the leather: 
PURE 100%, Fiebing's Deglazer, Fiebing's Dye Prep or ROC Strong Leather Cleaner

Leather cleaning and care 

For leather cleaning, we gladly recommend a classical leather and saddle soap - e.g.  Fiebing's Saddle Soap. Saddle soap has regreasing components. It cleans and cares for leather.  

But there are also modern products for care and cleaning: e.g. Fiebing's 4-Way Care - a cleaning and care lotion. 

After dyeing or cleaning, you should give your leather some extra care. Treat your leather to a premium leather grease. You will see how quickly it absorbs the care.
The leather regains its original appearance.

In conclusion we can say that:

Using acetone as nail polish remover, adhesive thinner, household cleaner etc. is okay - In connection with leather, however, the following applies: Hands off acetone!
Your leather will thank you. 

  • Acetone-damaged leather, help!

    After looking up how to remove adhesive on leather, i came across more than one website saying using acetone. I did a few wipes and the leather changed color from beige to dark yellow. I was suspicious and your article here shows the evidence. Now what can i do to save that part of stained leather on my shoes? If i have to stain the whole shoes to cover that dark spot, what product should i use? Thank you

  • Answer: Acetone-damaged leather, help!

    It's very difficult to conceal a stain.
    Unfortunately you have to take a leather dye which is darker than the stain.
    Rub the shoe with Fiebings Deglazer or PURE 100% Alc (both products can be found in the PATIN-A Shop). Then dye with Fiebings Pro Dye.
    Then fix the colour with Fiebings Acrylic resolene.
    Good luck!

  • Acetone nightmare

    Like the comment above, I was MISLEAD by multiple webpages to believe that acetone, aka nail remover was fine!!
    Why didn’t I find your page before??!
    I tried to remove some ballpoint ink on my couch, after finding out days after it happened, and I can see a fine layer came off, and the color is now different. Is there any way to blend it in?

  • Re: Acetone nightmare

    Hi Larry,
    Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do. You'll probably have to re-stain the couch.
    Kind regards,
    The PATIN-A Team

  • Shoes in the picture

    Please might I ask what the brand or supplier of the shoe in the image is
    Thank you xx

  • Re: Shoes in the picture

    Hi Sarah,
    The shoes are from Lacoste.
    Kind regards,
    The PATIN-A Team

  • Re: Shoes in the picture

    Hi Sarah,
    The shoes are from Lacoste.
    Kind regards,
    The PATIN-A Team

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