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How to Dye a Leather Couch

A leather couch can offer you many things, including quality, comfort and style. Whether you have it in a formal living room or a casual family room, a leather couch provides a place to sit, lay and relax. Even the best leather does fade or discolor over time. Or, you might come across a perfect leather couch at a thrift store or a garage sale that is the wrong color, or stained and dirty. The best way to freshen up your leather couch without buying a new one is to dye it. Dye a leather couch by cleaning it with acetone and then applying the color that you want in large spaces across the entire piece of furniture.


  1. Purchase leather dye in the color you want your couch to be.You can often find leather dye at a local tannery, a specialty leather shop or online at sites such as eBay and Leather Unlimited.
    • Combine colors if you cannot find a dye that is the exact shade you are looking for. For example, if you want a dark brown but the brown dye seems too light, mix a little black die into it. Use white dye to get a lighter color.
  2. Carry the leather couch to a well ventilated work space.A basement, garage or even outdoor driveway will provide a good place to work.
  3. Place the couch on top of drop cloths to protect the surface or floor you are working on.
  4. Remove any dust or dirt that is on the leather by cleaning the entire couch with soap and water.Do not soak the couch. Instead, lightly rub it with a cloth that you dip in soapy water and ring out.
  5. Apply acetone to the leather to get a deeper clean and prepare the leather for dying.Dip a clean cloth or rag into the acetone and rub it all over the couch.
  6. Spray the leather couch with a water bottle.You want the leather to be wet so it absorbs the dye, but not soaked.
  7. Apply the leather dye after you spray the area with water.Place some dye onto a clean rag or cloth and then rub it onto the couch. Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands.
    • Work in small patches at a time. This will make the process easier and it will keep the leather looking more consistent as you color it. Spray one section, then apply the dye. Spray the next section and apply the dye and continue until the entire couch has been dyed.
  8. Use a dry cloth to rub off excess dye after you treat each section of the leather couch.
  9. Let the leather couch dry for about 1 to 2 hours and then apply another coat.You should put on as many coats as you need to get the right color you are looking for. Most leather couches will need between 3 and 6 coats.
    • Let the dye dry between each coat.
  10. Apply a finisher to the leather couch once the last coat of dye has dried.This can be purchased wherever you get the leather dye. It may be called leather finisher or leather top coat. You can choose a glossy or satin finish.
    • Spray the finisher on the leather couch and rub it in with a damp, clean rag.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Is it possible to dye dark green leather to a lighter color?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. You'll need to take additional steps such as buffing/ sanding the piece first, though. Also, make sure you have an opaque dye rather than a translucent stain.
  • Question
    If I have two couches that are different colors (one gold and the other mint green), will they both dye the same color black?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you want it to be the same color, you should sand it first. After sanded, you should be able to dye it to the same color. Otherwise, you will almost certainly end up with two different shades of black.
  • Question
    My dye hasn't dyed completely after ten days. Any advice?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Buff it with a clean cloth and water until nothing rubs off on the cloth, and re-apply the top coat. If it still doesn't dry completely, you may have used the wrong kind of dye. You will need to clean the couch with a leather deglazer and try a different type of dye.
  • Question
    Where can I purchase penetrating dye for a leather couch? I do not want spray-on paint.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Leathertouchupdye.com Watch their videos on YouTube for application tips.
  • Question
    How many bottles would I need for a sofa and love seat? And how many ounces per bottle?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Two to three 4 oz bottles of leather dye should suffice.
  • Question
    Where can I buy leather dye?
    Kristina Soto
    Community Answer
    Home Depot or Lowe's, or any home improvement store in your area.
  • Question
    Would my chocolate brown leather couch dye black?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It should work, as long the dye is darker than the current color.
  • Question
    I have a light tan sofa, and the area where I rest my legs has gotten very dark. How can I clean this?
    phil francisco
    Community Answer
    I used Simple Green and a scrub brush and it took the dirt out of the leather. Finish it up with a nice leather conditioner.
  • Question
    My dog loves to lick the arms on an 0 recliner. The dye came off. How can I prevent this after dyeing the chair?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Get bitter spray that is a taste deterrent for dogs. Color test it on a non-visible area to make sure it doesn't hurt the fabric.
  • Question
    Where can I buy just acetone when dying leather?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Acetone is also used as nail polish remover. You can check out cosmetic shops or sections in supermarkets.
Unanswered Questions
  • Will the stain be permanent and not rub off on clothing? Could I dye a reddish brown (medium) couch a charcoal grey?
  • Will this work on a motorcycle seat?
  • Where can I obtain dye for a brown leather couch in Dublin?.
  • I have a cream leather 3 seat sofa. Can I dye this white? If so, how much dye would I need?
  • Can I dye Nu-buck leather?
Ask a Question
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  • Remember that you can easily dye a light leather to look darker, but making a dark leather couch look lighter might be a challenge.
  • Take off any cushions before you begin so you can dye those separately from the couch itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop clothes
  • Leather dye
  • Acetone
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Clothes or rags
  • Gloves
  • Leather finisher

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Views: 285,379

Candace Svendson

May 7

"I dyed my leather chair, it looks brand new! I followed the directions and it was not difficult."

Eileen Campbell

Oct 28, 2019

"Since reading your article, I have decided to have a go. I have a comfortable buttoned chair with large buttons onthe foot stool, I hope to go from brown to black and change the buttons to white. I can't wait, thank you for the inspiration."

Sharon Croft

May 29, 2019

"We'd like to dye our furniture, but wasn't sure if it was a DIY project or if we needed to get it doneprofessionally. After reading this article, we're certain we can manage this ourselves."
Rated this article:

Josie Cochrane

Dec 13, 2019

"My off-white leather sectional is looking dingy. Before buying a new one I'd like to give dyeing it a try. Thishelped me understand how it's done. Thank you."

Nadeem Ahmed

Jan 30, 2019

"Wow. I never realized how easily one can change the couch color. I recommend this to everyone, as this can be amotivation to buy a couch. Thank you. "

Ruth Fontenot

Aug 7, 2019

"Thanks, I never knew you could dye leather. It saved me from buying a new set, and I might try to open a newbusiness in that field. "

B. Cassidy

Jan 29, 2019

"Appreciated this info. I was concerned about the dye absorption creating a darker spot. The mister of water firstis a great tip."

Jamie Grollman

Oct 28, 2019

"We have really good light-colored leather furniture. We were ready to buy new furniture until I read this. Thankyou!"
Rated this article:


Apr 9, 2019

"I wanted to know if I could dye my sofa at home by myself. This article makes it appear simple to do."

Jan Hawt

Jun 2, 2019

"This was so helpful, I finally can fulfill my dream of being a professional leather dyer."

Angela Kuhndt

Mar 4, 2019

"Easy to understand and overall good advice."

Paul Hubbard

Apr 5, 2019

"Great help.


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