Feeling Blue?

As much as we love the dark wash that creates the signature look of our Kimes Ranch Jeans the dye process often lends itself to do some “frocking” or transfer of the dye to other surfaces even after several washes. Our hang tag reads “We pride ourselves on using the best denim. To help preserve the life of this garment, we do minimal pre washing. The indigo may fade or bleed with wash and wear. Always wash separately with cold water.”  We’ve had some tales of blue skin, blue saddles, etc. So I took it upon myself as the resident “fashion blogger” to research some removal tips and tricks to share with the KRJ family.

It’s important to note that saddles despite the best efforts of any rider/owner will eventually discolor with continual use. Sweat from the horse and the rider get into the leather; sun exposure darkens them; dyes from denim and leather chaps, oils from fly sprays, skin, sunscreen also cause leather discoloration.

One good home remedy to try when washing your dark wash jeans for the first time, whether they be Kimes Ranch or otherwise, is to wash them in cold water with distilled white vinegar. The vinegar will help set the dye and lessen the chances of it transferring to other surfaces. If you are a not a typical “pre-washer” like I am and you typically just wear your jeans straight from the store without washing then you may have noticed after a ride or encounter with water your skin turning light blue. Here are a few methods for dye removal from skin:

1    A good old fashioned soap, water and elbow grease.

2    Rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. This method is best used on small areas such as finger tips unless you want to taste rubbing alcohol for a few days.

3    Salt and Lemon juice made into a paste is another method to scrub dye out of skin.

4    For incredibly tough dye stains baking soda mixed with dish soap (I use the blue Dawn) is tough acting on the stain but won’t hurt your skin.

I recommend moisturizing after using any of the methods mentioned above. Your skin will likely be dry from having all it’s natural oils stripped along with the dye.

For your saddles I focused on the rough out ones as that’s what I ride. I researched several methods and gave them a try. As with any cleaning process I removed my cinches and breast collar from the saddle and gave it a quick wipe down with a rag.

The first method was to use a pink rubber eraser. This method worked best on my light seat and to start the removal process but the rubber heated up quickly and the amount of effort and elbow grease it would take to “erase” my entire saddle was just too much. If you only have light dye stains, are worried about scratching your saddle or are only working a small area this method would be great. The eraser is awesome to use on tooled rough out or around the award letters of a trophy saddle.The process is simple, just rub the eraser on the stain.

After the eraser trial, I tried store bought Suede cleaner and followed the instructions. The instructions were to use the cap (a red plastic bristle) to remove loose dirt, spray the piece evenly and used the cap again to loosen and remove the stain, wipe with a clean cloth. This method was more aggressive than the eraser and was slightly less work but still didn’t give the results I was looking for. This would be another method that would work best on lightly stained leather but my trusty Martin rope saddle was pretty stained.

Next I tried two types of sandpaper and a wire brush. I have to note on these steps you need to be gentle! If you get too aggressive when circling your leather you can easily scratch it deeply. Wire brushes can remove too much of the leather and used too frequently will thin it down. My saddle is made with thick leather and this was the first time I used a wire brush. I recommend using a 60 grit sand paper, followed by 100 grit and then if you still aren’t happy go to it with the wire brush.

To finish my process I used leather soap and oil to clean the parts of my saddle that were not rough out. I also cleaned the silver with silver polish.

If you have questions on my method or other techniques that worked for you be sure to share them in a comment below or on our social media pages. 

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