A friend of mine recently brought this pair of Septieme Largeur wholecuts with a patina finish damaged by alcohol.
He is a perfumer so alcohol and essential oils are quite inevitable in his line of work and this left tiny spots all over his shoes.
Visible Alcohol Stains
Initially, I suggested using only creams to restore the colour but the stained areas absorbed the cream differently so I took in the pair for a more extensive restoration.
Here's my process below:
Shoes are lightly stripped of old waxes and cream using acetone. Acetone is highly effective in removing dyes as well so take extra care to not remove too much dye or this will turn into a re-patina job.
After prepping the surface, I used Fiebings leather dye to add colour back to the affected areas.
After Stripping and Recolouring
Acetone removes oils and dries out leather so it is important to condition and nourish the leather after applying the dye.
At this stage, expect the colour to change due to the darkening effect of the oils and also a slight lightening effect where the solvent in the conditioner pulls off some dye.
For alcohol stained shoes, this could mean that the stains re-surface and become prominent again. If this happens, go back to re-colouring and dyeing to smooth out any stains.
Conditioned and after applying creams
After conditioning, the rest is the standard shoe care routine. Use shoe creams to blend and help the colours pop, followed by waxes to help seal and protect the finish.
I used black cream on the toe gradually blending into the body with a combination of light brown and walnut and finished with a medium shine on the toes using the high shine wax.
Here are some photos of the finished project. The stains are still visible if you look up close, especially nearer to the burnished toe areas. Overall, they are much better than before which
Medium Shine on Toes
Unobrush and Pure Polish