red rot

Red rot. (Courtesy of Geof Huth) n. the process of leather deterioration characterized by orange or reddish powder  


Red rot is most commonly found on vegetable-tanned leathers from the later 1800s and early 1900s. As a result of the tanning process, the leather is naturally acidic. Prolonged storage in or exposure to high relative humidity, environmental pollution, and high temperature affects the fibrous structure of the leather leading to the hardening and embrittling of leather and eventual disintegration into red powder if left untreated.