Can Leather Get Wet? What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?

Can Leather Get Wet? What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?

Follow these instructions to stop the leather from becoming brittle if you’ve been caught in the rain with a leather messenger bag, briefcase, boots, or shoes that are soaked.

Either you forgot your umbrella once more or the weatherman was wrong. Whichever way, water found its way inside your favorite leather bag.

Can leather get wet? Sure, leather can get wet – but it’s not a great idea. Leather that has been wet actually experiences its biggest issue during the drying process. Leather binds to water molecules when it is wet because of its natural oils.

Make sure you are prepared in case it does. The first piece of advice: move swiftly. Here are the remaining instructions for caring for wet leather.

Can Leather Get Wet?

Depending on the finish and treatment, leather can get wet and you might even get away with it without having to take any action. When leather is wet, the water molecules attach to the leather’s oils and draw those oils out as the water evaporates.

Furthermore, it repositions the dyes, eradicating a uniform, smooth color and generating spots and streaks. The leather may become brittle or even cracked, appear stained and spotty, and lose its suppleness. The leather may even start to rot if the water doesn’t evaporate quickly enough.

Which Type of Leather Can Get Wet?

There are various kinds of leather, and they are all water-resistant to varying degrees. The highest quality leather is top-grain and full-grain, but water can get on them and ruin them.

Full-grain leather that has been tanned primarily with vegetables absorbs water and becomes stained by it. Contrarily, the grained or patterned leathers are typically chrome-tanned and have a thick protective layer covering them, making them less susceptible to soaking up water.

Suede leather is easily damaged by water, so saving it can be a challenging task. Therefore, it is always advisable to spray a waterproof coating on items made of suede leather.

Can Faux Leather Get Wet?

Can Leather Get Wet? What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?

This is a question that is frequently asked. No actual animal skin is used to create synthetic or faux leather, which is made from a plastic base. As a result, they are less invasive. Additionally, they are already waterproofed, so they are not affected by water and do not get wet like plastic.

To be ready to go, simply wipe away any standing liquid with a dry cloth. Additionally, this means that no amount of conditioning agents will be able to penetrate the faux leather to prevent it from peeling and drying, which happens to faux leather over time or after prolonged exposure to the sun.

Related: Can Suede Get Wet?

What Happens When Leather Gets Wet?

Now that leather and water have met, what exactly happened? Natural oils and moisture are essential for leather hides, just as they are for human skin, which becomes dry and brittle without them.

Therefore, when leather is in contact with water, the natural oils it contains bind with the water molecules, and when leather dries out, these oils also evaporate, leaving dry, stiff, and brittle leather that has lost its supple and soft texture.

In addition to this, water can move leather dyes, leaving unattractive stains and spots. The likelihood of getting the stain in the first place can be decreased by quickly wiping away the water with a dry cloth.

Therefore, it is crucial to prevent the leather from becoming brittle and stiff by quickly removing the water from the leather and treating it with a high-quality conditioner.

What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?

Don’t panic, just stop there! Read the advice from our leather experts; it will undoubtedly be helpful.

Can Leather Get Wet? What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?

Wipe Off the Excess Water Gently

Wipe away the extra moisture and debris using a dry cloth, preferably one made of microfiber. Alternatively, you could first gently soak the water off the material before gently wiping it.

Avoid vigorously rubbing the leather to avoid leaving scratches. The leather should be allowed to dry naturally, which is another crucial reminder. Avoid using blow dryers or other artificial heat sources because they might harm the leather. Your objective is to turn the leather from wet to damp by simply letting it air dry.

Elevate a leather jacket by hanging it on a hanger. In order to avoid difficulty closing wallets if they harden during the drying process, dry them with the flap closed.

You could also raise it and stuff it with crumpled papers for leather accessories such as bags, shoes, and other items. By doing so, you can help the leather keep its shape and absorb interior moisture.

Condition It

After removing the excess water, apply a generous layer of leather conditioner to the surface. It is simple for the leather to absorb the nourishing components in a leather conditioner.

When leather is treated with conditioner, its fibers are nourished, and its suppleness and flexibility are recovered. It replenishes the moisture that was lost due to water evaporation by penetrating every crevice of the material. A high-quality leather conditioner aids in preventing cracking and other harm to the leather.

Allow the leather to absorb the conditioner after conditioning it and let it sit overnight. Apply additional conditioner if your leather clothing still has dry patches.

Can Leather Get Wet? What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?

Buff It

Buff the product’s entire surface with care after the conditioner has dried.

There you go! You have successfully managed the “wet leather situation”. It should not, however, end there. Our leather experts advise taking extra precautions to keep leather from getting wet and deteriorating easily in order to make leather clothing and products last longer.

How to Get a Water Stain Out of Leather?

Choose a high-quality commercial leather cleaner if you need to know how to remove a water stain from leather on a wallet, jacket, or leather portfolio that has been water damaged.

To make sure it won’t leave new stains on the leather, test the cleaner on a discrete area. Next, apply the leather cleaner gently to the water stain with a soft cloth. Apply leather conditioner after the area has completely dried.

What is the Best Way to Dry Wet Leather?

The first step is to wash your hands with soap and water. Leather readily absorbs the natural oils from human hands, which can result in further discoloration when the leather is wet. After that, gently wipe any remaining water from the leather, both inside and out, being careful not to rub or scratch the leather’s surface.

Some products are also better suited to the drying process in specific positions:

Can Leather Get Wet? What to Do When Leather Gets Wet?
  • A wallet is dry in the closed state, therefore any hardness will result in it remaining closed rather than straining to flatten out and open. A stiff wallet is easy enough to open, and the leather should become softer with use.
  • A bag or purse should be stuffed with newspaper or similar absorbent material until it regains its original shape, then dried laying flat, depending on the shape of the bag. Bags that are wider, heavier, and more rigidly constructed may dry faster when they are upright.
  • If the item’s bottom is moist, placing it on a very clean drying rack (for baked products) may aid with ventilation. Go ahead and do it if you don’t mind some crossing patterns on the surface that touches the drying rack.
  • Apply a leather conditioner to the leather once it is no longer wet but still moist. These conditioners contain oils that the leather will readily absorb, replenishing any oils that have evaporated with the water. The leather should be thoroughly oiled. Give drying time of 8–10 hours.

How to Prevent Leather from Getting Wet?

The best way to maintain their gorgeous appearance is to treat your leather goods before an issue or injury arises. Various treatments (sprays or lotions) can help leather move in the right direction, even though it will never be completely waterproof.

Every six months or so, products made of leather other than suede and nubuck should be treated with leather conditioner. Apply a small amount with a clean cloth in a tight, circular motion, remove any extra with a damp towel, and allow to dry. Here’s how to do it:

  • In order to maximize the wax’s effectiveness, the leather must be free of dirt.
  • On a clean, dry cloth, do not apply wax; instead, do it on the cloth and then the leather.
  • Repeat the process as necessary. Allocate between 30 and 60 minutes for drying. It is not advisable to use artificial heat to accelerate the process because it could result in cracking.
  • Once the wax has completely dried, buff it off with a clean, dry towel.
  • The skin of suede and nubuck leather will be destroyed by wax. Instead, the leather needs to be sprayed with waterproofing spray. Any water will be prevented from penetrating the faux/vegan leather thanks to a synthetic spray.

Conclusion: Can Leather Get Wet?

The first thing you should do if your jacket has gotten wet during a storm is gently tap dry it with a piece of cloth, even though leather can withstand very small amounts of water. Enable complete room-temperature air drying.

After dealing with the wet leather issue at hand, you can work to make your leather more water-resistant. Prior to it getting wet again, apply water- and stain-repellent.


Can Genuine Leather Get Wet?

No! Genuine leather made from these skins does not hold up well to water exposure due to the porous nature of hides. Leather can absorb liquids and leave behind stains, and getting wet can even reduce the material’s durability.

Can Leather Survive Rain?

Leather and water don’t mix very well, although leather does have a degree of natural water resistance. Although natural animal leather is a porous material, it will never be completely waterproof. This is acceptable if it comes into contact with small amounts of water (such as light rain).

Is Leather Waterproof Naturally?

Real leather is porous and because of that, it cannot be 100% waterproof. Leather is more like something that can withstand water. If you quickly step into the rain to get to your car, your shoes or handbag will be fine, but this is not the same as submerging leather.

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