In the leather industry there are different types of tanning used, namely wet-blue, wet-white, and vegetable leather being the most commonly used processes.
As is well known, tanning is the process by which animal skin is transformed into leather. To transform the skin into a noble material, tanning allows the leather to be given more durability, stability, strength, or even elasticity. This is only possible through treatment with various tanning agents and various types of tanning.
3 main types of tanning
As the most common type of tanning in use, Wet-blue tanning includes leather tanned with chromium salts. A curious fact is that this type of tanning is commonly known as “Wet-blue” because of its blue colour.
This type of leather is normally used in the manufacture of footwear, leather products, and clothing. The choice of this type of tanning for these products is justified by the fact that the leather is softer, more elastic, lighter, and also thermally stable.
The Wet-white tanning process is presented as an alternative to Wet-blue. However, unlike the Wet-blue process, Wet-white is tanned with aluminium. For this reason, the leather has a light, almost white colour, which explains the origin of the name of this tanning.
It is important to note that this type of tanning has advantages, such as the possibility of creating articles with vivid colours, but also some disadvantages.
Among the disadvantages are the low thermal stability and the risk of toxicity. In fact, exposure to high levels of aluminium can have negative consequences for health, but also for the environment.
Last but not least, vegetable tanning is the most sustainable type of tanning with the fewest health risks.
As the name implies, the leather is tanned using vegetable extracts from certain plants. This process is possible thanks to the antioxidant properties and the high presence of tannins in some plants.
The only disadvantage is the fact that the leather that results from this process cannot stand many washes, so it can only be used in some products. Among the products, we can mention footwear.
With this information you can choose the type of tanning that best fits your style and the products you want to develop. You can also check out the types of leather finishes that exist here.