What is Aniline Leather?

What is ANILINE Leather and how do I look after it
Aniline Leather is also known as – naked, unprotected, crust

BS 2780 Definition
Aniline Dyed Leather     
Leather that has been dyed by immersion in a dye bath and has not received any coating of pigmented finish

Aniline is the name of the dye used to colour leather during the tanning process, the leather has been through-dyed in a dye bath (drum dying) with non-toxic dyes

Aniline is not a type of leather as such but is often used to describe very sensitive leathers that absorb moisture very quickly, however as it is so sensitive in its natural state it often receives extra surface treatments in order to make it more serviceable

Aniline dyed leathers will be the same colour throughout unless a pigment or other substance has been used to colour the top surface but as the colour comes from dyes they will look uneven and mottled in appearance

Aniline Leather is generally produced from Full Grain Leather which means it is of the best quality and nothing has been removed from the surface

Aniline leather is the purest form of leather and is considered the very best quality as only the best quality hides are selected to produce it, it is, therefore, the most natural-looking of all leathers

Any natural markings from the animal hide will remain visible on the surface of the leather, these marks may include scars, insect bites, burn marks, brands or stretch marks and tell us the story of the animal’s life.  Aniline leather can also be compared to a stained piece of wood where all the natural grain is still visible through the colour
Colour variation and natural markings should be expected on Aniline leather

Aniline leather is Full Grain leather which means that the top surface of the leather (hair side) has not been altered in any way – the top surface of the leather is where the fibres are at their strongest so when they are left intact the leather has full strength and flexibility

Aniline leather fades over time as the dyes are affected by UV rays and are easily affected by body oils due to its absorbent nature


  • Feels soft and warm to the touch
  • Has a mottled appearance and the colour will not be even – natural scars from the hide will be visible
  • Scratches easily
  • Absorbs moisture very readily

How do I know if I have Aniline Leather?

  1. Look at your leather and see if the colour is uneven or whether there is a regular grain pattern all over it
    Aniline dyes tend to give an uneven appearance and an Aniline leather would not have an even grain pattern printed on the surface
  2. Does your leather feel soft and warm to the touch?
    Aniline leather will always have a soft and almost ‘buttery’ feel to it
  3. Does your leather scratch easily?
    Run your fingernail lightly over the surface of the leather (please do this in an inconspicuous area)
    If the leather marks easily this is an indication that you have an Aniline Style Leather
  4. Does your leather absorb moisture?
    Put a drop of water in an inconspicuous place and see if it soaks into the leather and leaves a darker mark (don’t worry this will dry out!)
    This is a very good indication that you have an Aniline style leather

Care of Aniline Leather
Aniline leather needs to be enjoyed for its natural and long-lasting properties but because the leather has no protective coating on the surface it will mark and stain very easily and will require some simple and regular maintenance to keep it looking and feeling at its best

Protection of Aniline Leather
Because Aniline style leather has no surface coating to protect it from stains and spillages the leather will mark very easily and appropriate steps need to be taken to protect the leather and make it easier to keep clean
It is essential to protect Aniline Leather with Aniline LeatherGuard to prevent stains and slow down fading
Protection will also make the leather easier to keep clean and prevent damage from heat and body oils

Cleaning of Aniline Leather
Clean with Aniline Cleaner on a regular basis particularly in the contact areas to keep the surface free from dirt and body oils

Moisturizing Aniline Leather
Aniline Leather can sometimes feel dry to the touch and have an almost crispy feel to the surface – this can be rectified using Aniline Leather Restore which will rehydrate and condition the leather to restore the soft and natural feel

Restoring Aniline Leather
Aniline Leather fades over time particularly when UV rays are present – this is perfectly normal and does not damage the leather as such
To restore the colour to your faded leather you can use Aniline Dyes – also available as a kit
Aniline Restoration Kit

A little regular maintenance will keep your Aniline Leather in the best condition and prolong its life
If you have any questions regarding Aniline Leather please contact our experts at LTT Leathercare

See also:
Aniline Leather Cleaning