Crap! I'm an idjit-I put something damp on an antique leather jewelry box-help!

Totally dumb, and this was the one thing I wanted from my granny, and now I’ve ruined it!! I mean, when I open it, I can still smell Wrigleys gum, her perfume and Lucky Strikes. Shit. Can I save the look of it?

I’d try Lexol.

If you do, though, use the non-darkening formulation.

Actually, you didn’t specify what damage you think you’ve done. Knowing that would be helpful.

It’s pretty much a cordovan color, and now there is a 3" or so white spot, and another about 1/2"–will it simply remedy itself when it drys out? I suspect there’s cardboard under that for shape. But I don’t know.

You might want to open the box and put something flat under the top so it doesn’t sag while its drying.

It’s unlikely you will be able to return it to the exact shade. Most leather conditioners and cleaners will tend to darken light to medium toned leather appreciably.

It is possible a cream based shoe polish can restored some of the lost color, but you need to match the color and buff the heck out of it. Maybe. There’s no guarantee. Having th ecolor washed out is a problem.

Whatever, make sure you let it dry out before attempting anything.

Do you think it probably is cardboard underneath, or could it possibly be leather all the way thru?? Considering peeling up a bit of the felt at the bottom to investigate.

Do NOT use heat to dry it.

Look for a cobbler, ideally one at least 80; they knew how to treat leather.

Accept that any old leather item will have “variations”; that is the charm.

NO! Do not do this, you probably won’t be able to make the felt lay flat again. Block it and let it dry, then think about what to do.

I agree with j666, find a cobbler.

The whole point of using Lexol is that it helps with wet leather. Presumably the “something damp” only got some of it wet. Letting it dry first just about guarantees a splotchy look; applying Lexol while it’s still wet should minimize this.

Lexol can and often does cause discoloration unless you are specifically using the non-darkening formula. That’s the neatsfoot oil based version.

The OP has reported there has already been a color change, and quite a noticeable one.

**As a cobbler **(which several folks have mentioned finding) I would not use Lexol on a delicate item that is already discolored. It sounds like the dye has bleached. If it was just a matter of the leather getting damp with water there should have been a darker spot that then faded back to match the rest of the item. Saying the area that got damp is now paler makes me think this is a much more serious problem. If the dye is gone from that area then no amount of Lexol is going to fix this.

I know Lexol advertises it’s suitable for all sorts of leather products but really it’s best on workboots, car interiors, and upholstery. For really delicate things I have other products I prefer.

I also prefer to actually see and even touch the item in question before recommending anything. It’s not as good as real life, but a picture of the affected item would help.

I agree - don’t try peeling corners up and the like. I can usually fix such things but doing so neatly takes a little practice and skill. I can tell you how to do such a thing but the results are going to vary all over the place depending on how handy you are.

Your next step depends on how, exactly, you view this object. There is the museum curator approach, which frowns on things like re-dying and refinishing or in any way altering an object. Then there is the object in use viewpoint, which is OK with that sort of thing.

There are various dyes and leather refinishers that come in standard colors. You can re-color the object in a color very close to the original and restore a consistent color over all.

Now that some time has passed, and presumably the object is now dry, how do things look?