6 Leather Restoration Tips

Leather is a versatile and durable material, which is widely used for accessories, clothing, and furniture, among other things. However, just like any other material, leather is also prone to wear and tear. It may fade in color or dry out and crack over time. This is due to lack of proper leather care and environmental influences such as dust, sunlight, oils and rain damage, oils, and other things. Are these signs of wear and tear showing up on your leather? Here are six leather restoration tips to revive your leather.

Leather Jacket Restoration

1. Clean Leather Regularly

Leather restoration starts with cleaning the surface of the leather on a regular basis. We’re often asked how often you should clean leather, and the answer is twofold: Generally, it makes sense to clean frequently used leather items, especially furniture and car seats, at least once a month to remove dirt, dust and oil build up. You’ll also want to clean as needed to remove spills and prevent stains. You can remove any dirt, debris, or surface stains with a leather cleaning product, like Leather Honey Leather Cleaner.

Apply the cleaning product to the surface of the leather using a circular and steady motion, making thin, even strokes. Then, wipe it off with a clean, lint-free towel with the same motion.

2. Remove Scratches From Leather

Finished leather, which is commonly used in furniture, may become scratched with pet claws, jewelry, and other sharp items. To properly repair your leather couch or restore scratched leather, use a moisturizing leather conditioner like Leather Honey to recondition the area, restore lost moisture, and camouflage scratches or marks.

We advise testing in a discreet area first and applying leather conditioner to the entire piece – instead of spot treating – as conditioning can darken some leather. (The original color often returns over time, as the conditioner dries, but the scratches should remain repaired and hidden by the leather conditioner.) 

Read More: How to Remove Scratches From Leather

3. Learn How To Fix Cracked Leather

Many leather owners don’t know how to fix cracked leather, so they often end up getting rid of cracked leather items, like couches and shoes, assuming the damage is beyond repair. While that can sometimes be the case, there are many instances where you can fix cracked leather seats, shoes and sofas, and you can certainly prevent leather from cracking in the first place with care. 

Leather that is very dry and hasn’t been properly maintained is likely to start cracking over time. Cracking is common on all types of leather, including leather car seats, leather furniture and couches, leather shoes and jackets. 

The best way to deal with cracks in your leather is to prevent them from happening in the first place. To prevent cracked leather, keep the leather hydrated with a leather conditioner — you should begin conditioning even new leather every six months to make sure you’re maintaining proper hydration. Preventing cracks is much easier than repairing them once they’ve formed. 

If your leather is showing only minor cracks, like fine lines in the surface of the leather, leather conditioner will restore the finish of the leather and prevent the cracks from worsening. Again, to prevent new cracks and fix existing cracks, be sure to adequately condition the leather every six months. If the leather absorbs the conditioner quickly, that’s a good sign that the leather is very dry and additional conditioner may be needed. 

Unfortunately, once cracks are deep and have formed significant groves or separations in the leather, you can’t repair them with a topical product like a leather conditioner. You will likely need to work with a local leather restoration specialist who can help repair the cracks. Patches or fillers are used by professionals to fix deep cracks in the leather’s surface, especially on leather couches, chairs or car seats.

One side note: leather car seats often harden and crack over time, especially if the leather was coated, which is common with some mass car manufacturers and older vehicles. You can’t condition coated leather, as a conditioner won’t penetrate that thick, synthetic coating. But the coating does typically wear off with use, so it’s important to regularly test whether a conditioner can penetrate the leather. Once it can, start conditioning immediately to prevent cracking. Fixing cracked leather car seats is extremely difficult, so protecting them from the start is key. 

4. Condition Your Leather

Aside from leather conditioning to repair damage, leather needs to be conditioned regularly to restore lost moisture and keep the fibers flexible, preventing damage. To start leather restoration and conditioning, apply our all-natural leather conditioner to the leather surface in thin coats, using a lint-free cloth. Allow the conditioner to absorb for at least two hours (preferably 24). Then, wipe off any excess conditioner using a clean lint-free cloth.

5. Fix or Repair Faded Leather

Due to exposure to sunlight or just a general wear over time, the original color of leather may fade. Leather fades as it becomes dry. To restore faded leather, apply Leather Honey which will bring back the lost color. Again, we recommend applying to the entire piece rather than spot treating. If you need to add additional color, leather color balm is available in a wide variety of colors and shades, which match every original color of the leather. You can apply leather color balm or even leather dye after conditioning.

Patches or fillers are used to rectify minor damages on the leather’s surface. Apply the filler to the leather using a palette knife in a thin layer continuously until the hole levels up to the leather surface, then let it dry. If the leather damage needs a patch, apply a considerable amount of adhesive to the edges of the patch, and stick it to the leather canvas.

Make sure that the patch is fitted tightly into the leather and fill the edges with the filler. Sound intimidating? We admit, this is no easy fix. It may be best to consult a professional!

6. Restore Water-Damaged Leather

Restoring water-damaged leather can be a tough job but manageable. If the leather is soaked in water, the best way to keep it dry is to wipe the water using a dry cloth. Avoid using heat to dry the wet surface as it will only cause further damage. Time is the best remedy, followed by Leather Honey. Water damage can leave leather dry and brittle, so you’ll want to restore lost moisture by conditioning. If the water damage has left water marks on the leather, you should clean the leather thoroughly before conditioning.

Leather Couch Restoration

restore leather couch

If you're looking to specifically restore your leather couch, we have some tips and tricks to soften, renew and repair your leather sofa. View our guide on how to clean and restore your leather couch and learn how to prevent damage in our guide on how to protect your leather couch from scratches. Our leather furniture restorer products help clean and condition your sofa and chairs so your living room can remain in pristine condition.

Whether you need to restore a leather couch or want to elongate the life of your leather goods with proper leather care, Leather Honey leather care products can help.

You May Also Like:

How to Fix Rain-Damaged Leather

Renew & Restore Old Car Leather 

How to Clean Leather Car Seats


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