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Can You Use Wood Stain on Leather? (Explained)

Leather is a luxurious material that can be dressed up or down according to the occasion. Wood stains, however, can sometimes be too intense for delicate leather and cause damage.

When adding color or a unique texture to your leather accessories, we recommend opting for a natural wood stain. Can you use wood stain on leather? Is it safe to use? Here’s what we found out.

Can you use wood stain on leather?

Wood stain can be used on leather. Wood stain is a type of paint that comes in various colors and can be used to give any surface added color or texture. As long as the stain is applied correctly, wood stain is safe to use on leather. Apply wood stain with care to avoid damaging leather.

When using wood stain on leather, keep a few things in mind. Before staining, make sure the leather is clean and dry. After that, apply a thin layer of wood stain and let it dry. Finally, use polish or cream to complete the job.

Remember to keep an eye out for any allergies you may have to wood stains or leather and test the stain on a small piece of leather first to ensure it is safe to use.

Does wood stain damage leather furniture or shoes?

Wood stains come in various types, some more harmful to leather than others. Honey, soy, and lacquer-based wood stains are particularly detrimental to leather due to their high acid content.

Dry, brittle, and difficult to color leather. Less acidic urea-based wood stains are less damaging to leather.

Test a small section first if you’re worried about wood stains damaging your leather furniture or shoes. Then clean the paint and leather with mild soap and water.

Avoid using harsh cleaners or chemicals that may cause further damage. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the leather item’s manufacturer.

What happens if you put wood stain on leather?

Wood stain is a great way to give leather furniture or shoes a natural look. However, this product contains high levels of acids that can damage leather.

The wood stain will start to break down the proteins in the leather:

The leather will first become dry and brittle. This can cause color loss and even damage to the leather fibers. The leather will also be more prone to cracking and splitting. Before applying the stain, make sure your furniture isn’t cleaned with harsh chemicals.

Release a chemical smell:

As the stain breaks down the leather, it releases a strong odor. This odor is not harmful, but it may irritate those sensitive to smells. In this case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the furniture manufacturer for assistance.

The leather will turn yellow:

If you let the wood stain sit on your leather for a long time, it will eventually change. The leather will begin to turn a pale yellow. The wood releases iron compounds, which turn lights orange. Again, this is a gradual process.

The wood stain will cause the leather to wrinkle:

One of the most common issues you may encounter when using wood stain on leather is wrinkles. This is because the dye in liquid form is not as dense as regular oil-based stains and can easily seep through the surface of your leather.

If this occurs, please use a dry cloth or paper towel to absorb any excess liquid before reapplying the wood stain.

Pros and cons of using wood stain on leather:

While there are many pros to using wood stains on leather, there are also a few potential drawbacks that You should consider. Here are some examples:


Wood stains are versatile:

They are suitable for a wide range of surfaces, including leather. They are simple to use and work well with various chemicals and cleaners.

Wood stains are long-lasting:

They have a long shelf life, even when used on leather. This is due to their ability to penetrate the material’s surface.

Wood stains may add character and beauty to your furniture:

Wood stains can create a one-of-a-kind appearance that is very appealing to the eye. Depending on the color and style you choose, wood stain can also enhance or complement your existing furniture.

Wood stains may be less expensive than other types of leather dyes:

They are usually cheaper than other leather dyes and can be used in larger quantities without running out. This means that using wood stains instead of more costly options could save you money.

Wood stains may be easier to clean:

Wood stains may be easier to clean than other leather dyes because they are more water-resistant. This could make them a good option if you’re having trouble cleaning your current leather items.


Wood stains may be expensive:

Unless you have a lot of leather furniture, the cost of using wood stain may be difficult to justify. This is because each bottle typically contains a significant amount of dye.

Wood stains can cause environmental damage if not correctly handled:

A spill or lousy use of wood stain can cause harmful chemicals to be released into your indoor and outdoor environment, which could be bad for you and your family. Colors on wood can be detrimental to the environment if they are not handled correctly.

Can damage the leather products:

If you use wood stain the wrong way, it can harm the leather underneath. Even small tears and holes could happen to your furniture.

As a bonus, furniture made of materials like plastic could be damaged by wood stains. Toxic chemicals can be found in some dyes used to make wood stains. People and other organisms on the planet could get sick from them.

What is the difference between leather dye and wood stain?

Leather dye is a more concentrated form of color that you can use to alter the appearance of leather.

It is typically less expensive than wood stain and may be easier to use due to the lack of brushes or other specialized equipment. The following are some distinctions between leather dye and wood stain.


Leather dye is made from natural pigments, whereas wood stain is made from synthetic dyes. Furthermore, paint is available in liquid, paste, and powder forms, whereas wood stain is only available as a powdered dye.


Dye is used to change the color or tone of leather, whereas You can use wood staining tools on various other materials such as plastics, metals, and fabrics. Choosing one type of product over another depends on what you are trying to achieve at the moment.


Multiple applications of leather dye may be required to achieve the desired color change. On the other hand, the wood stain will be effective after just one application.

So, if you want a full color for dyeing leather or an all-in-one product that works better, leather dye is the way to go. However, if you’re going to stain your furniture and not change its color, wood stain is a good choice.

What wood stain can be used on leather?

Wood stains can be used on leather in various ways, but the most common are wood stain and dye, sealant, and water-based. Wood stain and paint are the simplest to apply because they only need to be sprayed on and allowed to dry.

You can use sealant on leather for a long-lasting finish, but You should not use it on delicate materials. Water-based wood stains are the most common because they are simple to apply, visible when wet, and leave no residue.

What household items can you use to dye leather?

You can use a variety of everyday household items to dye leather. Dyeing kits, leather conditioners, and leather dyes are the most popular. You can also use alcohol or vinegar.

Dyeing kits include everything you need to get started dyeing your leather. They are simple and can be used on a wide range of leathers.

Leather conditioners are an excellent way to keep your leather looking fresh and supple. They soften the leather and keep it from fading.

Leather dyes are a quick and easy way to color your leather exactly how you want it. They are simple to apply and can be done with a brush, sponge, or spray.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, wood stain is suitable for use on leather. On the other hand, if you want a more concentrated form of color and are looking for an all-in-one product that will deliver superior results, wood dye is a good option. However, it has the potential to damage the leather.