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How to soften leather the right way

How to soften leather the right way

When it comes to working with leather, finding a good quality leather softener is always a good idea. As you might know, leather can often become cracked, damaged, dried out, or otherwise week over time. 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 get the right kind of finish.

How to soften old leather 

Alcohol + Vaseline

Rubbing alcohol – take a cotton pad and like dab in on the leather surface, keep going over for a little while.

When it’s done, take some Vaseline and apply it over.

You could apply a few layers if needed. Leave it to dry overnight.

Coconut Oil

Leave the leather item in the Sun for 10 minutes or use a hair dryer to heat it up. Then take a coconut oil and just rub it over.

But remember that oil is gonna darken the leather (a shade or two darker than you initially had).


Use a leather care conditioner (lanolin based product).

If the leather is very stiff apply it multiple times.

Read about the commercial care products and how differ their properties below.

Mink Oil

You could use it for jackets, boots, bags or other leather accessories. Use a dry rag.

Saturate it with the oil and apply up to 3 layers or oil rubbing it into the surface in circle motions. Give it extra time to absorb (2-3 days is enough).

Is it possible to soften new hard leather without any special products?

If you work with hard leather material, you might wonder what you can do to make it feel a bit nicer. While you could use some leather softening oil as above, to have a quick but temporary result use heat.

If you are the owner of a tumble dryer, then you can use it to soften hard leather. This is one of the best methods to use if you aren’t looking to buy any products to soften hard leather. If you wish to know how to soften new leather that is quite hard, too, this same solution will work.

The reason why throwing it in the dryer works so well is that with constant spinning of the drum and heat exposure the leather gets an experience that is similar to the long-term wearing. If you dare to do this, don't forget to turn inside out your leather jacket and zipp it up or to put any other accessory into the protective washing bag.

Many new leathers can feel too stiff and breaking them in associated with a very uncomfortable experience. However, keep the following in mind using a dryer :

  • You must use medium heat; anything above or could have adverse impact.
  • The timing is important, too. To soften stiff leather, 10-15 minutes is enough.
  • Too long in the dryer can ruin the structure of the leather!
  • Don’t put wet leather in.
  • Leather conditioner or mink oil is still highly welcomed after the heating up.

Buying a commercial softener to soften dry leather

Typically, if you want to learn how to soften old leather – or even how to soften new leather – then you should think about buying a good quality leather conditioner. Leather conditioners are very useful, as it will help to give the leather some form of lubrication that was previously missing.

It’s recommended that you do this with both new and old leather. Why? Because it will 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.

So we agree that it's better to buy a commercial softener as a special product for professional leather care. It will be the ideal solution to renew and soften your leather easily. However, the problem with buying something like this comes from the fact that you have so many different kinds of leather.

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 will be different to dealing with old leather. And dry leather will take a different style again. Keep in mind, then, that not every leather softener is going to be suitable for all of your leather needs.


And some of them can darken the leather more than others. So try the lotion first on the downside.








How to choose a leather conditioner

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

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

If you have some time and like making things by yourself, try preparing your own conditioner by heating and mixing healthy natural oils with natural bee wax. This is the only way to be sure what the blend consists of. Wax based conditioner applies more evenly than oil and doesn’t darken as much.

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

It’s hard to make a considered choice as many manufacturers doesn’t show the composition ingredients clearly and you may never know what you are exactly buying.

Most rated Amazon leather care products

  • Leather Rescue Conditioner and Restorer at $17.95
  • Leather Honey Leather Conditioner at $18.95
  • Bickmore Bick 4 Leather Conditioner at $9.79
  • Chamberlain’s Leather Milk at $16.95
  • Fiebings Mink Oil Paste at $8.99

1 comment

  • My bag is a medium brown. Ten years has stiffened. Brand Louis quatorze
    Should I revive the brown color on the bag first Or soften it first? Please advise

    Renee grouskay

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1 comment

  • My bag is a medium brown. Ten years has stiffened. Brand Louis quatorze
    Should I revive the brown color on the bag first Or soften it first? Please advise

    Renee grouskay