Leather is a material made from animals skin most time as by product, typically cows, but also goats, sheep, pigs, crocodile, and others. The process of making leather involves treating the skins with tanning agents to preserve it and prevent it from decaying. This process also gives leather its characteristic durability, strength, and flexibility, as well as its unique texture and appearance. Leather is commonly used for clothing, footwear, bags, car interiors, the list goes on.


Leather tanning is a multi-step process that converts hides and skins into durable, long-lasting leather. Here are the typical steps involved in leather tanning:

  1. Pre-Treatment: The hides or skins are first cleaned, soaked in water, and treated with enzymes to remove unwanted materials like hair, flesh, and fat. This step helps prepare the hides or skins for tanning.

  2. Soaking: The hides or skins are soaked in water to remove any remaining dirt or salt. This step also helps soften the hides or skins, making them more receptive to the tanning process.

  3. Liming: The hides or skins are treated with lime or other alkaline substances to remove any remaining hair, flesh, or fat. This step also helps break down the collagen fibers, making them more accessible to the tanning agents.

  4. Deliming and Bating: The hides or skins are then treated with acids to neutralize the lime and bring the pH back to a more neutral level. This step also helps remove any remaining non-collagenous proteins from the hides or skins, making them more receptive to the tanning agents.

  5. Tanning: The hides or skins are then treated with tanning agents to stabilize the collagen fibers and prevent decay. Common tanning agents include vegetable matter (such as bark or leaves), mineral salts (such as chromium), or synthetic chemicals. The choice of tanning agent will depend on the desired characteristics of the finished leather.

  6. Neutralization: After tanning, the hides or skins are treated with acids to bring the pH back to a more neutral level. This step also helps remove any excess tanning agents.

  7. Dyeing and Fatliquoring: The leather may be treated with dyes or other chemicals to add color or other properties. It may also be treated with fatliquors (such as oils or waxes) to make it more supple and flexible.

  8. Finishing: The leather may be buffed, embossed, or otherwise treated to achieve the desired texture or appearance. It may also be treated with a protective coating to improve durability and water resistance.

The exact steps involved in leather tanning can vary depending on the tanning method used and the desired characteristics of the finished leather. However, the basic process typically involves these eight steps.


Vegetable tanning is a traditional method of leather tanning that involves using natural tannins found in plant matter to treat animal hides and skins. Instead of relying on synthetic chemicals or mineral salts, vegetable tanning uses tannins extracted from the bark, leaves, or fruits of trees and plants.

The process of vegetable tanning involves soaking the hides or skins in vats filled with a solution of tannins and water. The hides are then allowed to soak for several weeks, during which time the tannins bind to the collagen fibers and stabilize the hide. This process results in a leather that is firm, durable, and has a natural, earthy color.

Vegetable tanned leather has several advantages over other types of leather. It is more environmentally friendly, as it uses natural materials instead of synthetic chemicals. It is also biodegradable and has a unique character that develops over time, as the leather ages and develops a patina.

Vegetable tanned leather is commonly used in high-end leather goods, such as luxury handbags, wallets, and belts. It is also used in artisanal leather crafting and shoemaking. While vegetable tanning is a more time-consuming and expensive process than other types of tanning, it results in a leather that is high-quality, unique, and sustainable.


There are several advantages of vegetable-tanned leather over other types of leather tanning, including:

  1. Sustainability: Vegetable tanning uses natural materials, such as plant extracts, instead of synthetic chemicals. This makes it a more environmentally-friendly option, as it produces less waste and pollution.

  2. Biodegradability: Vegetable-tanned leather is biodegradable, which means it breaks down naturally over time without harming the environment.

  3. Durability: Vegetable-tanned leather is known for its durability and strength. The tannins used in the process bind with the collagen fibers in the hide, making it resistant to wear and tear.

  4. Character: Vegetable-tanned leather has a unique character that develops over time. As the leather ages, it develops a patina and becomes softer and more supple.

  5. Health: Vegetable-tanned leather is less likely to cause skin allergies or irritation, as it does not contain harmful chemicals like chromium.

  6. Customizability: Vegetable-tanned leather can be dyed, embossed, or stamped to create unique patterns and designs. The natural color of the leather also provides a neutral canvas for customization.

  7. Craftsmanship: Vegetable tanning is a labor-intensive process that requires skilled artisans to produce high-quality leather. As a result, vegetable-tanned leather is often associated with artisanal craftsmanship and high-end leather goods.

Overall, vegetable-tanned leather is a sustainable, durable, and unique option for those who are looking for high-quality leather goods. While it may be more expensive than other types of leather, its benefits make it a worthwhile investment for those who value quality and sustainability.