By James Clark

Redyeing leather can give old garments, belts, handbags, even car seats a new lease on life while restoring an item that will seem new to your eyes.

Top-grain leather, such as in handbags, holds new dye well.
Leather dye comes in a rainbow of colors.

Clean the leather with a damp cloth and saddle soap. Allow to air dry, but not in direct sunlight.

Step 2

Avoid oil-based cleaning products or cleaners containing silicone. Oil weakens the stitching and can stain leather. Silicone-based cleaners dry out the leather, possibly causing it to crack or become brittle.

Step 3

Remove stubborn stains and spots with a paste of one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar. Rub the paste into the stain with a clean cloth and let it sit for at least an hour. Blot off with a damp cloth and repeat as necessary

Step 4

Remove road salt and mineral stains from a leather jacket or shoes by rubbing a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water into the leather. Let dry, then rub out with a damp cloth.

Step 5

Remove water spots by wetting the area again and using a hair dryer on a low setting to warm the leather and evaporate the spot.

Step 6

Rub 300-plus grit sandpaper over the leather to prepare the surface, allowing the dye to adhere.

Step 7

Apply the dye purchased from a leather-goods store or tack shop, using an acrylic brush.

Step 8

Paint the dye first over the edges, seams and piping of the leather, then allow to dry.

Step 9

Apply the dye in quick brush strokes over the main surface of the leather, brushing in a star burst pattern rather than up and down or in any single direction. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 10

Apply a quality leather polish, saddle soap or wax to the leather, then buff it out with a clean, dry cloth.