Aniline Leather

“Leather that has been dyed by immersion in a dyebath and has not received any coating of pigmented finish. A natural or dyed leather finished by application of a coherent surface coating, clear or coloured with dye”


  • Easily Soiled
  • High Maintenance
  • Colour Variation
  • Poor Light Fastness
  • Visible Defects
  • Very Natural
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Prestigious
  • Visible full grain pattern
  • Good breath ability

Aniline leathers generally have no surface finish, however some anilines can be sprayed with a lacquer to make them more ‘useable’. This is just a thin coating of finish but makes an aniline easier to care for.


Aniline Leather
The Magnifying Glass Test

Looking at an aniline leather through a magnifying glass will almost certainly clarify that the leather is aniline as what you see is unlike most other leathers. The hair follicles show up so clearly on an aniline and are not as apparent on other leathers. You will be able to see many small holes on the leather surface as shown in the below picture.

The small holes are where the hair was removed from the hide. Seeing these holes indicates that no pigmented finish has been applied - if it had, these holes would have been filled in.

The Absorption Test:

Drip a small amount of leather cleaner or water on to the aniline leather. You will notice that the leather has absorbed the cleaner leaving a dark patch, which will dry out. An aniline will completely absorb the liquid in about 30 seconds. If the aniline has been finished the liquid will not be absorbed, use the magnifying glass test to identify the leather in this case

NOTE: If the leather absorbs the water quickly, it means that it will also absorbs stains easily & quickly. It is crucial to maintain this leather with regular applications of the Leather Protection Cream. If your leather has faded you will need the Leather Recolouring Balm to restore the colour.

The Touch Test:

Aniline leather feels very soft and natural and will lighten if scratched, finished aniline leathers will not lighten when scratched.

The Visual Test:

The colour of an aniline will not look as uniform as that of a pigmented leather, the full grain pattern is visible and people with good eyes may see the hair follicles. Natural scarring and bites will be visible on the surface if there are any.

Their are numerous different types, manufacturing processes, uses & ways to care for leather. Use the various links below for more information on each resource:

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