How to protect your light patent leather

Light patent leather shoes have a very glossy look that has and continues to be very popular. However, what you do need to be aware of is that light and particularly white patent leather, can often discolour.

While patent leather is known for being more resistant than regular leather to tears, cuts and stains but on the flip side the light patent tones are more susceptible to discolouration.

Better quality leather does provide more longevity but ultimately the leather turning a yellow tone is somewhat of an inevitability and will happen with time. BUT and it’s a big ‘but’, there are a handful of things that you need to be aware that can cause the discolouration and a few measures you can take to help prevent it happening sooner, rather than later. These include:


Dirt is one of the main reasons for the yellowing on white patent leather and for most light coloured patent leather for that matter. Giving the shoes a quick clean is a good way to stop the oxidation that happens when leather ages.

Using rubbing alcohol as a cleaning agent for patent leather can be very effective BUT make sure you follow the below guidelines:

What you need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft Cloths or Paper Towels

Step by Step Guide:

Step 1:  Mix The Rubbing Alcohol

  • Mix together some rubbing alcohol and water in a bowl.
  • The ratio should be one part rubbing alcohol to 2-3 parts water. You can add more alcohol if required but be careful not to make the mixture too strong as this can end up damaging the leather.

Step 2: Add mixture to spray bottle

  • Next, take your empty spray bottle and pour the mixture into it.
  • Make sure to screw on the lid tightly to avoid any spills.

Step 3: Shake The Bottle Well And Spray

  • Once the spray bottle is secured and the mixture well mixed together, lightly spray the surface of your patent leather with the solution.
  • Make sure to spray evenly across the entire surface.
  • Let the mixture sit on the surface of your patent leather for a few minutes to work its magic.

Step 4: Wipe Away The Dirt And Stains

  • After the mixture has had a chance to sit, take your soft cloth or paper towel and begin wiping away the dirt.
  • Repeat this process until the patent leather is clean and free of any dirt.

Step 5: Final Wipe and Done!

  • Once the dirt and stains have been removed, give the surface of your patent leather a final wipe down with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess alcohol.
  • And that’s it! You have now successfully cleaned your patent leather with alcohol.

You can also look at purchasing leather protection spray/cream from Amazon (other marketplaces are also available!)


The reality is that with white, cream or any light-coloured patent leather yellowing is inevitable. It’s something that will happen as the leather ages with time.

It’s natural and most of the time it will be an indication your patent leather is of age. White patent leather yellowing is part of its natural oxidation process. The oxidation is basically how the natural fibres of leather break down over time when exposed to oxygen.

Sun exposure

You will have probably heard about the harmful affect that the suns rays has on patent leather but removing the light patent shoes from your little ones during the Spring/Summer when the sun is out, is far from ideal. The benefit of being in the UK is that we don’t often have long periods of sun!

If you want to go the extra mile then there are leather conditioner bottles that you can buy that provide UV protection.