What is Dye transfer?
Dark Staining From Jean Dye
Jean dye transfer is one of the most common causes for transfer. Indigo dye transfers to lighter coloured leathers very easily and causes a blue stain on the leathers surface, if this isn’t removed when this is first noticed it can penetrate the top coat clear lacquer.
Jean Dye Transfer On A Range Rover Bolster
If dye transfer is left on the surface this can cause colour loss as it’s breaking down the clear coat and then the painted surface below, removal is essential and so is protection.
How Pigmented Leather Is made
The diagram above shows the clear coat lacquer layer that gets penetrated by dye transfer and once this happens it begins to break down the top coat and attacks the binder paints below the surface and dyes them, this needs to be avoided with protection products.
Leathers today are more prone to staining then those where when solvent based finishes were used, the modern water based coats can lead to more dye transfer from clothing and leather jackets. So protection of modern leather is essential and a regular cleaning programme must be carried out.
Belts can cause dye transfer also to the rear of an item, this is caused by friction of movement while driving if sitting on a leather car seat.
Dye From A Belt
Once dye has migrated to the leather surface it needs to be removed at once rather than left, as modern leathers have a more sensitive finish to dye migration. Cleaning with dedicated leather cleaner and protecting with a protection product or a specific coating can avoid dyes attacking the top coat and the painted finish below.
Removing dye transfer from belts, clothing and jackets can be achieved with the correct products and a great deal of care. It’s a slow process involving multiple chemicals in most cases, alcohol cleaners can also be used, but you will need to re-apply the top coat when using solvents on the leather surface.
Jeans are the most common reasons for dye transfer, but safety mats placed under baby seats can also cause dye to transfer, the safety mats normally have a bobble texture on the base for grip, while the baby seat is sat on the seat and friction from movement causes these tiny bobbles to rub constantly against the clear coat and cause the rubber dyes to transfer to the leather surface. It’s more obvious on light coloured leather as it can be seen, but it suffers just as badly on darker coloured leather. Use a cloth and rub this over the surface to see if dye has transferred, if it has clean the leather and protect it at once.
A great deal of wrong information is going around about modern clear coated leathers and how they don’t require protection. The fact is that they require more protection than older solvent based finishes.
Jean Dye Partly removed With A Leather Cleaner
Range Rover Bolster Dye Stains Partly Removed