On the left the more or less original color, on the right the darkened part

My 3-year old leather boots that originally had a light brown color, have darkened quite a bit, especially at the toes. I think this is partly because I used to care for the leather with macadamia oil, but there are also little black stains. I may also have scrubbed off the original wax.

Currently I clean them with water, saddle soap and apply leather conditioner before polishing them with light brown wax.

Is it possible to restore the original light brown color?

4 Answers 4


You can go with any of following techniques:

  • Saphir Reno'Mat Cleaner:The Renomat is actually a leather cleaner, but if you rub it hard enough it will help to remove some of the finish of the shoe as well as the dirt build up that might have been accumulated. The Renomat would be good for medium to lighter colors, but you would most likely need to use the white spirit/nail polish removers for trying to strip darker colors. Depending on the strength of the finish, it may take several applications of stripping. You do not need to take it down to the bare color of the leather, only unless you really want to get a light color as the base for having greyish/tannish textures in your new color. Once stripped, allow the shoe to dry overnight, especially if you have done several applications.

  • Saphir’s Teinture Française Shoe Dye: Professional patina artists use small paint brushes that apply the dye. Therefore,you can have one for applying a lot to a bigger area of the shoe and another for applying a little to a smaller area. If you want brogueing in a different color, the finer brush that was provided with the dye will do. When ready, simply apply the dye onto the shoe. Always start with a little to see how easily the leather absorbs it. From this point, you can tell whether or not adding a little or a lot is going to suffice. More likely than not, you are going to have to do a few applications if you really want a rich color. Always allow several hours between applications, if not overnight, as the dye is quite harsh on the leather and can easily over-soak it.

Once you have applied the dye, the rest of the job is quite straightforward really. Now you just need to seal it all in with a good polish (in reality it is already sealed as the dye is permanent, but shining it up will bring out the colors). As you just subject the shoe to all kinds of chemicals, first things first is to apply the mink oil renovator to ensure that the leather does not dry up. Then after doing that, use a cream polish to enhance the color that you just applied and then finish it off with a wax polish in order to give it the shine that it deserves. Over time, if necessary, you can simply use the dye as a touch up tool for when the color naturally fades.

  • Thanks for the reply. Have you tried this? According to the Saphir page, the cleaner is for "removing dirt marks and deposits of products based on resin and silicone. " No mentions of oil or general discoloration.
    – kslstn
    Feb 22, 2017 at 11:15

Well, to restore color of leather (in your case leather boots) I´ll try with leather cleaner which can be make easily at home (homemade cleaner is much more affordable than commercial leather cleaning products); but an advice - test before using: first you should test this on small portion of leather.

  • Clean it (again) with water and soap, to remove macadamia oil and wax.

  • Use white vinegar - mix lukewarm water and white vinegar (1:1), apply it on boots and leave it a couple of minutes before clean it with rag.

  • Alternatively: use toothpaste - use small amount of whitening toothpaste; rub it on leather using a soft cloth and wipe off.

After you restore color, use neutral (or light brown) wax to care it. And avoid to use any oil to protect leather. If you interesting about cleaning other leather cloth you can find it here.


Just to follow up on this: I was hesitant to try some of the earlier answers, but I did try toothpaste. Didn't work for me, I think because the darkening was mainly caused by my macademia oil treatments.

Almost one year has past now and the original color is back. I have regularly scrubbed the boots with a rough brush to get dirt off. That removed the black spots too. Then I applied saddle soap with warm water with a soft brush. I let the saddle soap do its work for a couple of minutes, after which I rinse the boots with warm water again. I apply yellow (!) polish. I think the saddle soap and warm water washes were key in removing the oil.


You can use petrol for cleaning leather boot. Petrol can remove all type of dust speedly.

  • 1
    Petrol will also remove all the wax and natural oils in the leather.
    – Chenmunka
    May 23, 2017 at 14:32

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