Other Leather Terms

Definition of Liming

Liming is one of the many steps involved in leather production. It involves soaking hides in an alkaline solution in a pit or a drum and paddle, as shown below: 

liming in a drum full of alkaline solution

The primary purpose of liming is to separate the hair from the hides. For the process to take place, the hides are dipped into a solution of sodium sulfate and hydrated lime and then left for many hours.

The chemicals in the solution will penetrate the skin from the flesh side and dissolve the young epidermal cells in the epidermis and hair, hence loosening the hair, which then is easily removed by light pulling or wiping.

Objectives of liming include: 

  • Removing meat, fat, and grease residues from the animal’s skin
  • Swelling of the leather fibers
  • Splitting of the collagen fiber bundle
  • Removing proteins that would otherwise affect leather quality
  • Opening the skin structure to allow fibers to loosen 

Example of Liming in a Sentence

"Other chemicals such as sodium hydrosulfide and calcium hydroxide can also be used for liming purposes."

Synonyms: unhairing

Related Terms for Liming