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Thread: How to Remove Dye Transfer Stain (from dress shirt) from my Off-White Leather Sofa?

  1. #1
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    Default How to Remove Dye Transfer Stain (from dress shirt) from my Off-White Leather Sofa?

    I purchased my sofa last month and I never applied a protective coating/seal before this happened:







    The dye was transferred from my cousin's blue sweater last night:




    I tried removing the stain with the cleaning kits I received with my sofa but they had absolutely no effect.



    I also searched the net for a solution but I wasn't comfortable trying these suggested options (windex, hair spray, etc.), so now I'm here.

    What can I do to remove this stain?

  2. #2
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    Default remove dye

    There is a product by Leather master called super remover that will remove the dye. It can not be purchased by the public, only by a contractor. You have to careful with it. The leather will need to be recondtioned with protection cream afterwards. It would be best to have a trained leather specialist take care of it to protect your investment.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Agree with David. There is also Ink Out i believe its called, that or super remove will work. Definately condition and protect first.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yes, those products work great, in the hands of a pro.....but can be very dangerous in the hands of a consumer. I often spend more time testing the products on the leather (in a hidden area of the sofa), then the actual cleaning process. You must also remember to neutralize this product with the "Strong Cleaner" before the reapplication of the protection cream. The use of a lint free "soft cloth" and light pressure is key. Often on light colors, whites & offwhites, I end up lightly restoring the color with a dusting of dye to build the depth of the true color back. Jon
    Jon Firari

  5. #5
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    Default No quick fix

    There is no quick fix for removing leather dye transfer. The most effective, safest way to get rid of the stain is to have a professional redye the affected area. This involves a thorough cleaning of the area, application of a leather prep formula, redyeing the affected area and applyimg a new topcoat. In short, restoring the area to it's original condition.

  6. #6

    Default

    BSH, Like Jon indicated your first course of action should be to identify the 'type' of leather you have by testing. There are 6 basic types and we can eliminate 3 based upon your great photos. As a simple test place a couple drops of distilled (or bottled) water on the back of the armrest. (About a couple inches back from where your elbow would be). If the water soaks into the leather within 4-6 seconds you probably have aniline leather; 20-30 seconds and it would be semi-aniline and longer than that probably finished leather. If you have either Aniline of Semi-aniline leather, using any of the cleaners in the kits they gave you will stain the leather, likewise the conditioners or protectors in either will also stain the leather. Note that if the Guardsman product (conditioner/protector) is in a square bottle it is the only one ph adjusted to the 5.5-6.5 that leather needs, but only for FINISHED leather. The others are too alkaline. All of these products are improper for either aniline or semi-aniline leather. If you find it is finished leather, dye can usually be completely removed using mineral spirits, commonly called odorless mineral spirits or OMS, available at any big box store. Just use an old, clean white T shirt, apply GENTLY and rub in a circular motion LIGHTLY. Frequently check your cloth and rotate to a clean spot as you see the blue come off. If the first spot you try does not remove the dye you will have to go a little more drastic. The drugstore sells 70% rubbing alcohol or IPA. Unless you use this very gently you can soften the finish and remove a little color so it is important to only do it lightly. Once you have completely removed the stain you should use a ph adjusted leather conditioner, simply apply, do not rub in, then stay off the furniture for 24 hours. Most contain a small amount of micro crystalline wax which helps protect the leather from future stains. Apply every 4-6 months depending upon the climate where you live. Unfortunately if you have aniline or semi-aniline the dye can be removed but the process also removes color so it would have to be redyed. My bet is that you have finished leather. Good Luck
    Last edited by Leatherestore; 07-20-2008 at 04:21 PM. Reason: To clarify a couple of areas

  7. #7
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    Default

    We can all agree that the leather type is pigmented, simply because there are no white aniline dyes.

    As this is home leather upholstery quality, there is also the possibility of being a semi-aniline, but most likely not for white (darker colors maybe), as leatherstore thinks too!

    The logic is that the base crust of modern upholstery leather is “Chrome” tanned therefore it’s usually a pale light blue color.

    Therefore it needs a heavier pigmentation formulation to have an even coverage to produce the white finish.

    The question now is on the strength of the top coat.

    The function of topcoats is generally to protect the color coat.

    It determines the final appearance of the leather and also has the decisive influence on the physical properties of the leather.

    Since it is made for indoor upholstery and not for auto or sports, the top coat may not even be crosslinked for extra strength.

    Some white sport leathers are design to withstand even Acetone or Toluene (so what’s the concern? Hair Spray, Windex use it but for alkalinity need to be neutralized to leather neutral of pH 3 -5)).

    That why leatherstore have suggested the use of OMS or IPA, but the rules is TEST! TEST! TEST!

    The main objective is to remove the dye without removing the first defense (topcoat) that’s why David, Steven & Jon have cautions.

    And if the top coat inevitably is removed protection cream or matching topcoats need to reapply.

    The worst scenario is a reapplication of colors to match.

    The perfect solution is to remove the dye without even removing the top coat.

    These are the procedure I suggest (Needless to repeat, products have to test against the strength of the finish at your own risk).

    Step 1
    Apply d’Ink7.7™ agitates with soft horsehair brush and dwell for penetration, lubrication and suspension of the dye stains.

    Step 2
    Extract with absorbent towel until towel shows clean.

    Step 3
    If the result is satisfactory, proceed with (clean3.8™ to clean sticky residue and rinse3.0™ to stabilize the pH integrity of the leather finish).

    Step 4
    If the dye stains have penetrated, then test for non-absorbency of finish on the actual stain area with water and observed for pooling of water on leather surface.

    Step 5
    We can proceed bleaching with d’Dye10.3™ overnight, with repeats for stubborn stains if necessary.

    Step 6
    And when all looks good, the result has to be neutralized with acidifier2.0™ a pH 2 acidifier to stop the bleaching action.

    Step 7
    You may want to have a restorative cleaning all round to blend in (d’Grease4.9™ > clean3.8™ > rinse3.0™ > leatherScent’B™).

    Topcoat is more permanent and would be a preferred choice rather than “protector” if required.

    So, BSH the choice is all yours.

    Roger Koh
    Leather Doctor® System


    See pictures of working with d’Ink7.7™ & d’Dye10.3™ below:

    These first set of pictures shows how the d’Ink7.7™ works!

    Picture #1 shows a Natuzzi® Arm Chair.





    Picture #2 shows d’Ink7.7™ application onto “dye transfer stains”.





    Picture #3 shows leatherBrush1™ spreading and agitating the d’Ink7.7™.





    Picture #4 shows extraction with absorbent rag.





    Picture #5 shows the finished result.





    These second set of pictures shows how d’Dye10.3™ works as bleach on Sharpee® permanent marker stains on white leather.

    Picture # 5A shows application of creamy bleach onto the dye stains residue.




    Picture # 6A shows the final bleaching effect without damages to the leather finishes.



  8. #8

    Default How to remove Dye Transfer Stains

    Thank you Roger for the invite

    I have often just redyed the areas when there have been stains
    and some that seem to just be unforgiving.

    I have often repaired small holes to large ones including
    damage from cat or dog clawing.

    I have used the ink out on ink and have had much success with that
    when there have been small ink issues

    I am pretty impressed with Rogers answer and product for yet
    another problem...........

    I'm going to look more into the products available as I like to try new
    things and have everything possible for any situation........there
    always seems to be new ones that pop up that you never thought
    of or ran upon.........

  9. #9
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    Default Dye transfer

    Looking at the pictures and info, the dye transfer has come from the dye in the cotton fibre of the top. This is quite common with new clothes, that have not been washed a few times.
    The trick with stain removal is always trying to remove the onset dye with out removing any of the host dyes, hence rendering the stain removal end result invisible.
    Rogers answer is best practice as the use of the chemicals slowly and gently break down the dye transfer , this is much easier the newer the stain is , and as time moves on the stain will set in more and be harder to shift.

    However this can be a lengthy process and not always 100% success visualy.

    On expensive pigmented leathers I would take this course of action first as it is safest, on middle to cheap pigmented leathers I would follow a quicker process of removal.

    Where as Roger uses the power of chemicals, I use the power of aggitation which plays a big part in general stain removal.

    For quick removal I would first clean with a high ph and strong detergent cleaner using a wet melimine sponge ( I have no picture of one but Roger has and may post it) this usualy will remove all dye transfer instantly, especially if it is new transfer.
    Should any transfer be left, I would repeat using a dye remover or alcohol (isopropyl) and that should remove the rest. After which I would then test service and apply top up of top coat if necessary.

    If the stain is major and will not shift I will then clean with the melamine sponge but with dye prep ( solvent) and strip the area down, then redye and retop coat.

    A stain that size would take between 5 and 15 minutes to do dependant on which level of removal and repair I had to do.

    Hope this has been helpful.
    Last edited by paul moss; 07-23-2008 at 12:16 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default To add

    Just to add when using a melimine sponge, you should only use high foaming chemicals as low foaming sufficants will make the sponge very aggressive and will strip top coats and dyes quickly.

  11. #11
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    Thanks to Paul for introducing the use of this sponge.

    Before the knowledge of this sponge, for prep cleaning prior to refinishing, I would instead use sandpaper between 1000 to 1500 grit.

    Now I use this sponge in combination with rinse3.0™ a pH 3.0 acidifier rinse to do the job.

    It produces a better result consistently especially along tight creases, folds or button areas.

    And it leaves fewer residues as compare to using sandpaper.

    Here is a picture of the sponge available from fellow member (Nick Vousden-White - worldofclean.co.uk) and the rinse3.0™.

    Roger Koh



  12. #12
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    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for all your valuable feedback.

    Roger (aka Leather Doctor) has been very helpful over the past few days in advising me how to remove the stain (and it appears that most of you agree with his approach). With his guidance, I tested the finish of my sofa and it is a finished leather rather than an aniline or semi-aniline. I'm really hoping the the stain can be removed without compromising the pigmentation.

    I am fortunate to have Roger in my area so I'm going to pick up the products I need to get this sorted. I will update this thread with pics of my progress and end result.

    I'm also going to clean and protect the entire sofa so that I can reduce the risk of this happening again!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Nixon View Post
    There is a product by Leather master called super remover that will remove the dye. It can not be purchased by the public, only by a contractor. You have to careful with it. The leather will need to be recondtioned with protection cream afterwards. It would be best to have a trained leather specialist take care of it to protect your investment.
    How much would it typically cost to have a trained leather specialist remove the stain using 'super remover' or something similar?

  14. #14
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    For what it's worth, D-Limonene is an effective dye remover, as well as degreaser. It's a citrus rind derivative, with lower toxicity than most organic solvents like OMS and Naptha. It's safe for all but the most chemically sensitive leather finishes. We use it in cleaners and oil extraction chemistry.
    You'd need to obtain it through a chemical house (can't get it at Home Depot), but it's a great addition to a solvent palette. It's effective on dye transfer, grease, oil, and waxes.
    The only drawback to it is that it's not a quick-flashing solvent. It's faster than OMS, but not nearly as fast as any of the alcohols.
    On seeing the photos posted at the beginning of this thread, I thought it would be a good option for dye removal, without threat of compromising the top-coat.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSH View Post
    How much would it typically cost to have a trained leather specialist remove the stain using 'super remover' or something similar?
    It depends on the severity. It is a time issue. My minimum is 125.00 for removal of the dye. I usually make 200.00 per hour cleaning leather. The leather will need to condition afterwards because any chemical that will remove the dye is degrading the finish. Sometimes you can not remove all of the dye without causing permanent damage to the finish. You will have to be careful and find a happy medium.

  16. #16
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    I believe we are all waiting the result from BSH.

    A proud leather owner with no previous leather experiences trying out a new system!

    Sounds scary from a novice!

    Anxiously waiting!

    Roger Koh
    Leather Doctor® System

  17. #17
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    Hello everyone,

    Time for an update...this novice successfully removed the stain from the blue sweater. Surpisingly, I didn't even need to use the Leather Doctor's bleach. The stain was lifted with the D'ink7.7 alone, so I just followed it up with the clean3.8 and rinse3.0.

    I can post a pic if you like but just imagine the same white sofa in post #1 with no stain!

  18. #18
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    Congratulation!

    A novice shows the way to simplicity of solving a seemingly hopeless situation for a tedious color refinishing.

    It will be great with a picture, please.

    Roger Koh

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Koh View Post
    Congratulation!

    A novice shows the way to simplicity of solving a seemingly hopeless situation for a tedious color refinishing.

    It will be great with a picture, please.

    Roger Koh
    Hi Roger,

    I'll post a pic soon.

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