How to Soften Leather – 2 Tried & Tested Methods


How to Soften Leather – 2 Tried & Tested Methods

There is nothing better than a nice handbag or a new leather jacket. However, new leather can often be stiff, which can spoil your style and make your new clothes uncomfortable to wear. Fortunately, it is easy to loosen stiff new leather with a few simple techniques.

You can rub its surface with a product formulated specifically for this task, moisturize it to give it the moisture it needs or even manipulate it to give it a worn quality much faster than waiting for it to soften naturally.

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Method 1 – Using leather softener

1. Buy a good product

The oils in the fabric softener lubricate the porous leather so that it becomes more flexible and follows your movements more easily. Unlike homemade oil treatments, leather softeners do not make the material less resistant and do not leave a greasy residue.

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you could even buy a leathers care kit. These sets often contain other products to help leathers items last longer, such as ointment oil, leathers cleaner milk and waterproofing beeswax.

Avoid natural alternatives like coconut or olive oil. While these products can help soften the leathers in the short term, they tend to penetrate deeply. Over time, this can permanently change the color of the leathers or even damage and split it.

2. Take a rag

Put some leathers softener on a clean cloth. Fold the fabric over your fingertip so that only a small corner is exposed. Use this part to pick up some fabric softener. This way you can be sure you are taking exactly the right amount.

Leather care products should be applied sparingly. The goal is simply to treat the surface of matter and not to saturate it.

Do not apply fabric softener directly to leathers. It can be very messy and it is much more difficult to distribute the product evenly.

3. Spread the fabric softener

Distribute it over the surface of the leathers. Use circular or long, flowing rag strokes, working over an increasingly large area. Try to apply a single thin layer. The leather should be very slightly shiny without appearing wet or saturated.

You can apply fabric softener to almost any part of the outside of a leather item, but focus on the more important parts, like the elbows of a jacket or the parts of a pair of shoes that cover the ankles and toes.

There is no need to apply multiple coats. If you add fabric softener on top of the first coat, it will simply build up on the surface of the item.

4. Maintain the leather regularly

Repeat the process every few months or less to keep your clothes and accessories in good condition. The stiff leather will soften more and more with each application.

If you live in a hot, dry climate and your leather goods are often exposed to outdoor conditions, it might even be necessary to treat them every fortnight.

Since leathers furniture stays in an environment where conditions are controlled, it is sufficient to treat it about once every 6 months.

Method 2 – Use heat

1. Use a tumble dryer

If you’re in a hurry, a small tumble dryer on medium heat should work. The heat in the appliance associated with impacts from drum movements will mimic the effects of wear and tear produced when a garment is worn for a long time. Do not run the dryer for more than 10 to 15 minutes, as if you leave the item in it longer it may shrink or burn.

It is advisable to reserve this method for relatively new accessories that do not bend or curl well, as heat can easily dehydrate older leather.

Leathers should be dry or very slightly damp when you put it in the dryer. It is strongly recommended not to wash and dry it in the same way as other clothes.

For even better results, also put a heavy athletic shoe or a few tennis balls in the dryer. The additional friction will wear the leather more evenly.

2. Find a humid place

Leave the item somewhere warm and humid. Keep it under your car’s windshield to catch the sun or hang it in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The important thing is not to leave it on for too long, as after a while direct heat can discolor or dry out the leather.

The steam produced by the shower water also helps to moisten the leather, which makes this method even more effective.

3. Use a hair dryer

The device will produce the same effect as a warm room or a tumble in a dryer while allowing you to target the steeper parts of the item. Send warm air over pleats, hems and any other part you want to make more flexible. Once the leather is soft, put on the garment and wear it until it cools.

Set the device to low heat and do not bring it too close to the leather surface to avoid damaging it. When you’re done, consider applying a coat of nourishing leather softener.


Soften and wear the leathers little by little until it is perfect. Always test fabric softeners and other products on an inconspicuous area of ​​the leather to see how it reacts. To find out exactly how to care for a leather item, see the care instructions on the label.


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