How to Remove Dye Transfer from Leather

leather bag

Marissa asked: How do I clean a leather purse? I was wearing a dark pair of blue jeans, and I brushed up against my beige leather purse. Now I have lines of blue dye on my purse. Please help! I’m in desperate need.

Dye transfers can be tricky as they often vary in severity. If the stain is only on the surface, it should be fairly easy to remove. However, if the dye has soaked into the leather, it will be much more difficult to remove without damaging the leather. Try the methods below to remove the surface dye stains from your leather.

You Will Need: 

Steps to Remove the Dye:

  1. Megs APC has had mixed results on leather. It can cause discoloration on some types of leather. Because of this, always test a small hidden area first to ensure it does not damage the leather any further.
  2. Dilute the APC with water. 9 parts APC to one part water.
  3. Spray a small amount of APC on a soft cloth.
  4. Rub the cloth over the stained area.
  5. Repeat until the stain is removed.
  6. LTT Maxi Cleaner is designed to remove dyes and can also be used. This kit is designed specifically for removing jean dye from leather and includes all the necessary materials.
  7. Follow the directions on the package for application and removal.
  8. Apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather from drying out.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do not allow the APC to sit on the leather or it can cause a bleaching effect.
  • While many may suggest nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol, these can have damaging effects and should be avoided. There are better methods when it comes to removing dyes.



  1. How do I remove a white water stain on my leather desk insert?

  2. Hi there!

    I was wondering, how do I remove dye transfer that got rubbed onto my plastic cosmetic bag from the black fabric on the inside of my purse, without any damaging effects? Also, how do I remove dye transfer on my plastic cell phone charm and my fluffy cell phone carrying bag that the same thing happened to due to the inside of my suede pocket of my black suede coat, without any damaging effects? I’ve tried soap and water (all temperatures), but it didn’t work! Please help me get rid of these unwanted dye transfers as I’m desperately trying to get rid of them as fast as I can, before it may be too late!

    Any help is much appreciated!

    Thank you so much, in advance, for your time!

  3. I should add in that my plastic cosmetic bag is printed with designs on it, my cellphone charm is painted with different colors, and my cellphone carrying bag is colored as well!

    Thanks again!

  4. When I left Florida, I put a wet black washcloth in my shoe bag with my Propet Travel Walkers. About a month later, I got out my shoes and there’s small dots of mildew spots on the plastic toe cap. I laundered them and rubbed with alcohol, but the spots are still there. Are there any suggestions out there to remove these spots? It’s gravely important to me. I have already got my outfit to go with them and I have a family reunion coming up.

  5. Viella,
    Make a mixture of 1/3-teaspoon baking soda and 1/3-teaspoon vinegar in 1-cup of water. If the mildew does not come off with a scrubbing, soak a tissue in the mixture, wring out the excess liquid and cover the toe cap with the tissue like a poultice. Allow the poultice to soak for an hour and use warm water to clean the toe cap.
    You could also try a paste of lemon juice and salt; cover the toe cap with the paste and let the paste sit for 15-30 minutes. Avoid touching the fabric; the lemon juice could leave a stain.
    Another option is OxiClean and diluted ammonia. Windex contains a small amount of ammonia, so you could try that as well.

    Source: eHow – How to Clean Mildew From Plastic
    Source: – How to Remove Black Mold/Mildew from Washable Fabrics
    Source: eHow – How to Get Rid of Mold & Mildew in Auto Carpets

  6. I have a new white leather bar stool that is covered with red dye from a skirt on it.
    Yikes! How do I get it out safely without damaging the leather?

  7. Melanie says:

    You can try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, artgum eraser or pencil eraser.
    You can also try just using a mild dish soap or moisturizing hand soap with water.
    White vinegar is another possibility. If you use vinegar, be sure to wipe away the vinegar afterwards and consider applying a leather conditioner or a few drops of olive oil.
    A 1:2 vinegar and olive oil mixture is a simple leather cleaner and conditioner that you can make at home.
    Since the bar stools are new, you can also try checking the user manual or calling the manufacturer for cleaning tips.

    Source: – How to Clean a Patent Leather Purse
    Source: eHow – How to Clean Dye Transfer From White Leather Shoes
    Source: National Geographic – How to Make Natural Upholstery Cleaner

  8. My brand new white leather couch has a faint jean transfer stain. I cleaned it with a solution from a furniture store, but it’s still slightly there. Any recommendations?

  9. I recently purchased a dark brown suede coat from a consignment store, but then noticed that it leaves my hands, and other clothing it rubs against, dark dust-looking “stains.” Does it mean that it was dyed, not dyed properly, and what do I do now to correct this problem?

  10. I have a pair of knee-high boots that are also convertible if you pull the flap down and slouch them to a different look. Unfortunately, the boot company decided to stamp the inside leg at the top so when you pull it down, it shows. Has anyone had success removing the stamp without damaging the faux leather/suede, and what method did you use? Thank You, Tammy D.

  11. I have a white leather sofa which has black dye transfer on it from a black shirt. I’ve tried cleaning it with a leather cleaning product that I ordered, but it didn’t work. Any suggestions what I can do?

  12. Stacy K,
    You can try using the suggestions that I gave to Jane in the comments above.

  13. I’ve got a white leather lounge too; came home from work today and it had dye transfer from my daughter’s black dress. Down the whole chaise.
    None of the above and many more has worked.
    Nothing. So annoyed.

  14. Hi. I have a cream faux leather skirt which has been up against my new black faux leather top some of the black dye has gone from my top to my skirt. How can I remove this?

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