Originally Posted by Roger
NO!!! Acetone is far too harsh and aggressive and is just not needed for this. Ordinary drug-store rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol, 70% or 99%) does this job perfectly. Or you could purchase a leather cleaner like Neo-Cleaner, but ordinary alcohol works well. After applying alcohol and removing all the polish, it would be a good idea to moisturize the leather with a leather conditioner, since alcohol or any polish remover will likely dry the leather out. But don't use acetone. It will remove more than the polish. Depending on the leather (and whether or not it is corrected-grain), acetone can remove the color as well, taking the leather right down to its original state. If one is contemplating attempting an antiquing job, acetone might be considered, but even in that context, I'd be careful. I have used acetone on a pair of inexpensive brogues on which I wanted to experiment with antiquing. The acetone actually dissolved the leather where it became very fine and thin around the extensive broguing, and it removed all the color.
Sorry Roger, but I feel forced to point out that acetone does not dissolve leather
. It just doesn't. The much more dangerous threat to the upper of shoes is physical damage. Some people want to reach the desired effect so badly that they get very impatient. They rub the leather so hard with whatever potion they fancy that it does indeed start to disintegrate. I have no idea what kind of shoes you tried the acetone on and how much physical force you used, but you would be surprised if you saw how little effect acetone has on the leather of the following brands:
- John Lobb Paris
- Edward Green
- Crockett & Jones
I am so disappointed with its mediocre effect that I stopped using it. Acetone DOES de-grease the outermost surface of the leather, just as it does with your own skin. This pseudo lightening effect can instantly be remedied with a tiny amount of (e.g. neutral) wax. One word of warning though, and this is valid even for rubbing alcohol. Don't use too much - meaning don't soak the leather with acetone/alcohol/whatever! Soaked areas will leave a mark once the solvent has dried off.