How to Soften Leather the Right Way (2023)

The article has been updated with new useful information 2023/01/13

When it comes to working with leather, finding a good quality leather softener is always smart. As you might know, leather can often become cracked, damaged, dried out, or otherwise weak over time.

Generally, continuous wearing of that leather will create a change in how it looks. If you want to learn how to make leather softer, we have some ideas for you below to help you achieve the right kind of finish.

How to Soften Old Leather

Alcohol + Vaseline

How to Soften Leather the Right Way (1)

  1. Apply a generous portion of rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad. Then, dab the pad on the leather surface until it is shiny.
  2. Afterward, apply Vaseline to the surface. You can apply a few layers if you feel that leather can absorb more. Leave it to dry overnight.

Coconut Oil

How to Soften Leather the Right Way (2)

  1. Leave the leather item in the sun for 10 minutes or use a hair dryer to heat its surface.
  2. Then, take a spoonful of coconut oil and rub it in.
  3. Note: Coconut oil will darken the leather a shade or two.


How to Soften Leather the Right Way (3)

(Video) How To Turn Stiff Leather Tack Into Buttery Soft Leather
  1. Apply a leather care conditioner (lanolin-based product), to the leather.
  2. If the surface is still stiff, you can apply several coats.
  3. Read about commercial care products and how properties differ below.

Mink Oil

How to Soften Leather the Right Way (4)

  1. Mink oil can be used on jackets, boots, bags, or other leather accessories.
  2. Saturate a dry rag with the oil and apply up to three layers on the leather.
  3. Rub the oil into the surface using circle motions. Give the oil 2 to 3 days to absorb.

Visit our online leather goods store - you will definitely want to buy something for yourself))


Please be aware that utilizing DIY skin care products can damage the leather of the goods by using materials of low quality or by miscalculating the consistency.
However, homemade skin care solutions will spare you the hassle and undesirable results. Use items made by experts!

Products for caring for leather are a terrific way to keep it looking new. These items have an antibacterial solution to assist in keeping your leather goods looking new and maintaining their appearance.

High-quality leather stain removers and water-resistant leather restoration treatments are available from olpr.You can also order a leather care kit to give your leather goods the utmost care and longevity!



(Video) How to Soften Leather Belts : Belts, Corsets, Earrings & More

· Great waterproofing;
· Powerful restoration;
· Deeply conditions;
· Buffs to a beautiful shine;
· Hundred percent natural & locally sourced;
· Handmade in the USA.

Application: Remove dirt, accumulated grime, and other surface impurities.

Apply a tiny amount on a lint-free cloth and rub in a circular motion until the cloth is well coated.

When dry, add more coatings if necessary. Give a 24-hour remedy.

Note: Use on suede, nubuck, or pull-up leathers is not advised.

Excellent care for leather products - wax conditioner. Containing 100% natural ingredients, the semi-thick conditioner provides maximum protection and restoration and guarantees the longevity of your leather products.

It is ideal for leather that needs extra protection, tinting and for leather that is frequently exposed to external factors.



· Perfect waterproofing;
· Long-lasting protection;
· Easy to apply by hand or with a cloth;
· Provides a beautiful shine;
· Hundred percent natural ingredients;
· Handmade in the USA.

Application: Remove surface impurities, including dirt, plaque, and other debris.

Apply a tiny amount on a lint-free cloth and thoroughly rub in a circular motion.

Apply extra coats if necessary after drying for an hour. Take a 24-hour break.

(Video) How To Soften Leather

Extend the life of your leather goods. The easily absorbed, rich conditioner lotion will make your leather water-resistant. Leather is deeply regenerated with this high-quality, richly textured conditioner. Large leather products, damaged or worn leather, and untreated leather are all great candidates.



· Inhibits mold & mildew;
· Leaves no residue;
· Gentle on all leather finishes;
· All natural plant-based ingredients;
· Handmade in the USA.

Application: Eliminate surface pollutants by wiping away loose dirt and buildup.

Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the surface clean in a circular motion.

Before conditioning, completely dry the leather.

Using pH-balanced cleaning, you can remove grime, surface stains, and other impurities from your leather products.
Before conditioning, we advise using a cleanser.
By routinely cleaning and maintaining your leather items, you can extend their lifespan by years.

Intended to be used as a mild spot cleanser for recent stains, buildup, and grime. Upon request, half gallons and gallons are available for post-production, retail, or wholesale treatments.

Well, if you suddenly want to pick up new high-quality handmade leather goods for yourself - look at these products:

Leather Notebooks

Menu Covers

Leather Wallets

Personalized Aprons

(Video) How to soften leather TEST How care old dry leather Soviet boots with vegetable oil

Is it Possible to Soften New, Hard Leather Without Any Special Products?

If you have a hard leather material, you might wonder what you can do to make it feel softer. Many new leathers can feel stiff and breaking them can be a very uncomfortable experience. While you can use any aforementioned leather-softening product, to have a quick but temporary result, you may use heat upon use.

A tumble dryer can also help soften hard leather. Quick and easy, tumble drying leather is one of the best methods to use if you aren’t looking to buy any products to soften hard leather.

The constant spinning of the drum and heat exposure helps the leather soften in a way that’s similar to the experience of long-term wear. If you choose to use this method, don't forget to turn any leather jacket inside-out, and if applicable, zip it closed. It’s also best to put any leather inside a washing bag for safety and protection.

When using the dryer method, keep this checklist in mind:

  • You must use medium heat; anything above or below can have a negative impact on both the leather and the dryer.
  • Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes. Keeping the product in the dryer for too long can damage the structure of the leather.
  • Don’t put wet leather in the dryer.
  • It’s recommended you apply a leather conditioner or mink oil to the product after removal from the dryer.

Buying a Commercial Softener to Loosen Dry Leather

The safest, most efficient way to soften hard leather – old or new – is to use a good quality leather conditioner. Leather conditioners work best at replacing absent lubrication needed to soften the leather surface.

The conditioner helps ensure that the leather can continue to move and blend with your body. While old leather might already be showing signs of wear and tear, leather softening conditioner will still be good to use to prevent further damage.

It's better to buy a commercial softener as a special product for professional leather care than to take any shortcuts. It will be the ideal solution to renew and soften your leather easily. However, many leather softeners are not a one-size-fits-all cure. Some options work better on specific leather types than others.

The various methods and products that you can use will make it tough to work out just what you want to do. For example, dealing with stiff leather is different than working with old leather. Dry leather will require a different type of conditioner, as well. You have to keep in mind that not every leather softener is going to be suitable for all of your leather needs. Not only will they not soften the leather, but some can also darken the leather undesirably.

How to Choose a Leather Conditioner

One ingredient to look for in many conditioners or creams is lanolin.

Many people who work with leather believe that spray conditioners are the worst option because they are made of cheaper oils and are cut with water.

If you have some time and like making homemade products, try preparing your own conditioner by heating and mixing healthy natural oils with natural beeswax. This is the only way to be sure exactly what is in the blend. You should also take note that wax-based conditioner applies more evenly than oil and doesn’t darken the leather as much.

But be careful with products that contain too much wax because they will not penetrate the leather and can create a waterproof top that doesn’t allow leather to breathe.

If you are purchasing leather products from a craftsman, it never hurts to ask their take on which conditioners work best on their products. You can also follow reviews left by customers to see what may work best for your specific need.

These are the leather conditioners we suggest on olpr. leather products, which are the highest-rated leather-care products on our website:


Does heat soften leather? ›

Apply a leather conditioner to your leather

This might soften the leather in the short-term, but long-term, direct heat like that can really dry the leather over time, which actually makes it brittle and stiff. We don't recommend using a heat source to soften leather for that reason.

Why is my leather so hard? ›

However, if kept in direct sunlight, near sources of heat, or just given enough time, the fatliquors can evaporate from the leather causing it to dry out and become hard, stiff and even distorted.

Does water help soften leather? ›

Method 1: Using Water to Soften Leather Goods

Since leather is a natural, porous material, the water will eventually seep into the leather -- allowing it to soften. Of course, you'll want to avoid cracking the leather. To do this, follow up with a microfiber cloth and wipe down the leather surface.

Does leather soften with time? ›

The simple fact is that it takes time to fully break in a new leather item. You can use conditioners over time to soften them. You can also use a tumble dry as well. The heat helps the leather soften, though the results will be temporary at first.

What softens hard leather? ›

Apply conditioner – Applying any leather conditioner will be the first step if the leather is dry. A clean cloth should be used to rub the conditioner into the leather and left to dry. This should soften the leather, but mink oil can also be applied once dried using the same method.

Does olive oil soften leather? ›

Olive oil will definitely soften your leather goods, but it can stain them, too. Worse, your leather might get really greasy and end up with spots. Only use tiny amounts of olive oil. A light coat on items you're not too attached to, like cheap wallets, is okay.

Can stiff leather be softened? ›

What Can You Put On Leather To Soften It? Leather conditioners are the finest way to soften the leather. Use a damp cloth to apply the conditioner to the leather surface. It's also possible to use water and natural oils such as coconut or olive oil, as well as Vaseline.

Does Vaseline soften leather? ›

Yes, vaseline will help keep your boots waterproof. It has the ability to polish, clean, and soften leather shoes in addition to being waterproof. vaseline's petroleum jelly can repair leather cracks and improve the color of your leather.

Is vaseline good for leather? ›

You don't need fancy leather moisturizer to take care of your favourite leather jacket. Petroleum jelly does the job just as well. Apply, rub it in, wipe off the excess, and you're ready to go.

Does coconut oil soften leather? ›

Treating leather with coconut oil does have a few upsides: it will soften the leather and provide a thin layer of waterproof protection. Because coconut oil is a natural oil (like neatsfoot oil, olive oil, and mink oil), it will darken leather boots when applied.

Can you ruin leather with water? ›

Water strips leather of its natural oils and when wet leather dries, you'll often find that it has become dry and brittle. While rain can ruin leather, the following steps can help you treat and fix water-damaged leatherto help preserve your valuable leather apparel.

Does hot water destroy leather? ›

Leather is a durable and fantastic material, which at the same time needs tender leather loving care. The next time you are faced with a wet leather situation, stop asking yourself “Does water ruin leather?” because it does! Water ruins leather IF you allow it to happen. We hope our expert tips were able to help you.

How long does leather take to break in? ›

High quality leather boots are made with very thick leather, so they will take time to break in. Normal break in time on these types of boots is an estimated 80-120 hours of active wear. That is about 2-3 weeks of full time active wear before these are fully broken in.

How do you soften leather with age? ›

Apply rubbing alcohol.

Using a spray bottle, lightly mist the leather with rubbing alcohol. You may also apply it with a cloth or even a toothbrush. Be sure to not drench your bag - you just want to dampen it with the rubbing alcohol, which will then dry out the leather and begin producing a weathered look.

Will wd40 soften leather? ›

Break In Your Leather—Or Revive It!

WD-40 makes stiff leather items soft and supple. Dog collars, baseball gloves, work boots, shoes, and sandals all benefit from a spray. As a bonus, you'll remove stubborn stains which means the lubricant is particularly useful in treating vintage items.

Does vinegar soften leather? ›

Use Vinegar for Cleaning and Conditioning Leather Items

Mix together two parts linseed oil and one part white vinegar to create a leather cleaning/conditioning solution that cleans even as it helps keep the leather soft.

Can you restore dried out leather? ›

It is possible to soften and restore the leather by using Leather Revive. Leather Revive is a water-based oil emulsified conditioner that works to soften leather by replenishing the fatliquors.

Does oil destroy leather? ›

As body oils build up on leather furniture from daily use, those oils can build up and weaken the fibers of leather. This type of slow accumulation of damage can result in something as small as a dark spot on your furniture to your leather actually cracking and tearing.

What is the best natural oil for leather? ›

Out of all the leather oils we sampled, mink oil showed the best result, removing surface scratches and subtly darkening the tone of the leather for a uniform finish. In addition, mink oil is a natural leather softener, provides temporary waterproof resistance and improves flexibility by lubricating cracked fibres.

Will baby oil soften leather? ›

Baby oil is a pretty light lubricant (it's mineral oil with some fragrance added) but will still over-soften the leather, much like mink oil would do. So you might find that the leather has turned to something akin to mush.

Can you use hair conditioner to soften leather? ›

Cheap Hair Conditioner

Inexpensive hair conditioners contain more wax than fancy conditioners, so they're great for moisturizing and protecting leather. Use a clean rag to gently rub small amounts of the conditioner into clean, dry leather.

What should you not use on leather? ›

Be sure to avoid these products when cleaning your leather: Baking soda, white vinegar, cream of tartar, and lemon juice. Some sources online cite these common household products as a DIY solution for cleaning leather. This is actually false as they can be extremely harsh on the material and make stains worse.

Can I use lotion as leather conditioner? ›

Use a leather conditioner, it will help repair dried leather, reduce visibility of scratches, and help to keep the leather looking as good as new. If you don't have leather conditioner on hand, use body lotion as a substitute.

Does beeswax soften leather? ›

Beeswax provides just enough lubrication to prevent hardening of leather in typical use. It does not soften leather.

How can I moisturize my leather naturally? ›

Mix two cups of warm water, a tablespoon of natural baby soap and a splash of vinegar in a bowl. Use a microfiber cloth to rub the conditioning mixture into the leather, making sure not to soak the area. Simply moisten the leather and leave the conditioner on the furniture.

Can you clean leather with Murphy's oil soap? ›

Use the oil soap like a leather conditioner on leather furniture or your vehicle's dashboard area or upholstery (not cloth). Use the product at full strength and apply it to a dry cloth. Work it over the area, then use a second cloth to buff it.

What do you put on leather to keep it from cracking? ›

Use a protection cream or conditioner after cleaning to smooth out the leather. This will plump up the gaps that form the cracks and wrinkles. Make sure to allow the leather sufficient time to dry before sitting on it.

What does olive oil do to leather? ›

Using olive oil on leather can restore colour and repair small scratches. This works on shoes, couches, chairs and other items. The process is the same as with wooden furniture, but just use straight olive oil – no lemon needed! Pour some oil onto a cloth and rub into the leather in a circular motion.

Will lemon oil soften leather? ›

#3 - Condition Leather

The answer is "of course yes"! Much better than the commonly used olive oil alternative, lemon essential oil can help condition and bring your favorite leather pieces back to tip top shape.

What is a natural conditioner for leather? ›

Prepare a conditioning solution by combining one part white vinegar with two parts linseed or mink oil. Apply with a chamois cloth in circular motions. After 10-15 minutes, rub the area with a dry chamois towel.

How do you make leather more supple? ›

How to Soften Old Leather
  1. Apply a generous portion of rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad. Then, dab the pad on the leather surface until it is shiny.
  2. Afterward, apply Vaseline to the surface. You can apply a few layers if you feel that leather can absorb more. Leave it to dry overnight.
Jan 12, 2023

What liquids ruin leather? ›

The best way to remember what you can and can't use on your leather is to keep this in mind: The two most commonly used chemicals that will cause severe damage to your leather are alcohol and acetone. Stay away from products that contain these substances at all costs, regardless of what you read online.

What does soaking leather in water do? ›

The oils in the skin bind to the water molecules, so as the water dries and evaporates, it starts drawing the oils out. It's this shedding of natural oils that causes the leather to lose its supple quality and become stiff and brittle. Water can also cause staining and can move dyes leaving streaks and spots.

Does steam loosen leather? ›

After heating, you can wear your leather shoes with thick socks to stretch them out. Steam from a clothes steamer or tea kettle can be used to heat the shoe. If using the kettle, boil the water on the stove. Position the kettle under the shoe and let the steam rise (30 seconds for each shoe).

What happens if you soak leather in water? ›

When leather gets wet, the oils in the leather bind to the water molecules. As the water dries and evaporates, it draws out the oils with it. The leather's loss of natural oils causes it to lose its supple quality and turn brittle.

Does leather relax over time? ›

Leather is a material that will naturally stretch over time, but sometimes you want to quicken that process. Whether you want to stretch out your leather shoes, jacket, or accessory, there are several strategies you can follow.

Does leather feel better over time? ›

Leather has very interesting characteristics. With time it becomes softer, more malleable, and develops a beautiful patina, or color change.

Is leather tight at first? ›

While leather shoes naturally stretch with wear and shape to your feet, when they're new, they can feel tight and painful.

Will saddle soap soften leather? ›

Saddle soap will soften the surface of the leather, making it more supple. It will also help hide imperfections in surfaces of leather. It will not make hard leather items too soft, causing it to lose its form.

How do you rejuvenate old leather? ›

Moisturize And Condition
  1. Avoid staining laces, zippers or other detailing on the products by removing or covering them.
  2. Let your leather air-dry before applying the conditioner.
  3. Use a minimal amount! ...
  4. To apply, use a warm cloth or a sponge.
  5. Allow the conditioner to soak into the leather overnight.

Does mink oil soften leather? ›

Mink oil has some great benefits for those working with leather. The most well-known benefit is how it operates as a leather conditioner; working some mink oil into your leather softens it considerably, and it does so by replenishing the oils in leather that dissipate over time.

What happens if you put heat on leather? ›

Heat Sources

Your skin cracks and, ultimately, peels. The same happens with a leather couch. Too much heat can cause the leather finish to crack and eventually pull away from the rest of the piece of furniture. Sunlight isn't the only heat source that can negatively affect a piece of leather furniture.

Does heat do anything to leather? ›

Over time, your leather can become discolored, indicating a molecular change in the natural material. Though many do this for decorative purposes at times, it's the initial sign that damage is occurring. However, the heat also does damage, as it evaporated the natural oils in the fabric, causing it to dry up.

Does heat tighten or loosen leather? ›

Leather can shrink and harden by excessive heat. Typical example of this is damaged car leather along the top of the rear backrest, the headrests and on dashboards. Leather also hardens because it dries out with time (without leather care). Leather fibres stiffen and become brittle.

Is Murphy's oil soap good for leather? ›

Use the oil soap like a leather conditioner on leather furniture or your vehicle's dashboard area or upholstery (not cloth). Use the product at full strength and apply it to a dry cloth. Work it over the area, then use a second cloth to buff it.

How do you soften leather with wd40? ›

You can use WD-40 to soften the leather and make the shoes comfortable to wear. To soften the leather, spray WD-40 generously over the leather material, and rub the material into the shoe with a clean, dry cloth. An application of WD-40 will also soften any other leather items, from dog collars to baseball gloves.

What does hot water do to leather? ›

The result can be a spotty, stained appearance and a loss of the suppleness of the leather, leaving it brittle… even cracked. If the water takes a long time to evaporate, the leather can even begin to rot.

What happens to leather in hot water? ›

The oils in the skin bind to the water molecules, so as the water dries and evaporates, it starts drawing the oils out. It's this shedding of natural oils that causes the leather to lose its supple quality and become stiff and brittle. Water can also cause staining and can move dyes leaving streaks and spots.

Does leather stretch better when wet? ›

It only needs to be moistened. Once it is moist enough, start expanding it using your hands from areas where you want to stretch your leather. For clothing such as leather jackets, put the jacket on and try to stretch and bend the areas where you want the stretch.

Does getting leather wet stretch it? ›

Make sure your leather is entirely saturated with water. A good way to check for this is to wait until there are no more bubbles coming from the leather. Once you think it's saturated with water, let the leather continue to soak for 10 minutes. Wear the leather while it's wet to stretch it out.

Does leather become more flexible? ›

The stretchability of leather

This flexibility also means the leather will stretch over time and, if sufficient force is applied, wrinkles, creases and pressure marks will form that can be as stubborn as embossing.


1. How I soften new/old stiff leather fast Pt. 2
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2. How to Soften Leather Shoes
3. How I soften stiff new or neglected leather Part 1
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4. How to soften leather boots
5. leather conditioning the natural way
6. AMAZING! We've NEVER Seen a Leather Conditioner WORK Like This One!
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