How to Soften Leather - 7 Effective Ways to Remove the Stiffness of the Leather

How to Soften Leather – 7 Effective Ways to Remove the Stiffness of the Leather

It is easy to soften leather. Make your leather supple and soft once more by using the advice provided below.

If leather is not properly maintained, it can become rigid over time. When this occurs, it loses its comfort and is more likely to crack, which is something you want to prevent.

It’s crucial to take action to soften stiff leather. Items made of leather that have been left hard and stiff won’t feel as supple as you might expect and may even be more prone to cracking.

Below are some suggestions to help you get the right kind of finish if you want to learn how to soften leather.

How to Soften Leather?

There are a few different techniques you could try if you want to soften a leather item, such as a leather shoe you love or an old leather couch. Consider the methods for softening leather that is provided below and select the one that will work best for the particular stiff leather item you own. And here are ways to Get Scratches Out of Leather.

Mink Oil

Mink Oil

In situations like this, this is frequently used. Boots, bags, jackets, and a variety of other leather accessories frequently use mink oil. The results of using this technique are excellent, but it takes a little longer.

Oil should first be thoroughly applied to a rag. Apply it all over your leather accessory or garment. The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed, but you might need to apply up to three layers before you’re done rubbing.

Ensure that the oil is distributed evenly throughout the leather. To ensure an even distribution, move in circular motions. Give the leather at least two days, preferably three, to allow the mink oil to fully absorb. There will be a noticeable difference.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

The key with this one is to make sure the leather item is heated up before putting oil on it. To get the surface nice and warm, you can either use a hairdryer or leave it out in the sun for around 10 minutes.

A spoonful of coconut oil is required after that. While rubbing it into the leather object’s surface, spread the coconut oil around. As you rub, be sure to use even circular motions to ensure complete coverage.

It is crucial to remember that using coconut oil will make the leather’s color darker. How much coconut oil you apply depends on the leather’s state and how generously you apply it. However, if the color darkens a couple of shades, don’t be alarmed.

Using Hair Dryer

Hair Dryer

The leather is frequently softened using the heat from a hairdryer. Apply a moisturizer to the leather item, then turn on your hair dryer to medium heat and pass it over the cloth. Using a lot of heat could harm the leather.

Around 15 cm should separate the hairdryer from the leather clothing. Don’t keep it in one place for too long; move it back and forth. These methods aid in bringing out the shine and softening the leather’s surface.

Treat With Leather Conditioner

Leather Conditioner

You might be searching for a substitute if you don’t have one of these oils. There are leather conditioners that can help to soften the leather. These lanolin-based items are secure for use with leather.

Applying additional coats may be necessary if your item’s surface is still stiff after the initial application. There are many commercially available products that can help revive worn-out, outdated leather items.

Alcohol & Vaseline

Alcohol & Vaseline

For softer leather, use Vaseline. Start by rubbing alcohol onto a small cotton pad and dabbing it over the leather surface before applying Vaseline. Each area of the surface should be dabbed until it begins to shine. Attempt to uniformly shine the entire surface.

Next, smear a thin layer of Vaseline all over the surface. A second layer might be required in some situations if it appears that the leather will absorb more liquid. Allow the leather to absorb the alcohol and Vaseline overnight; the following day, it ought to feel noticeably softer.



Use water to soften hard leather if you don’t have any other tools on hand or want to avoid using chemicals or oil. Distilled water should be put in a spray bottle because tap water would leave behind minerals and stain things.


Spray the leather once more, being careful to evenly moisten all areas. A clean cloth should be used to blot up any excess water before allowing the leather item to finish drying in the air. To keep the leather’s soft finish and prevent the item from becoming brittle after it has dried, you should use a leather conditioner.

Put the Leather in a Dryer


If you need the leather clothing to dry quickly, you can put it in a dryer. Set the dryer’s temperature to medium and leave the item in there for 10 to 15 minutes. If the leather object is exposed to very high temperatures or is kept in the heat for a long time, it may scorch or shrink.

In this case, the leather should be either completely dry or slightly moist. Clothing made of leather shouldn’t be washed in a washing machine.

It is easy to soften different types of fabrics if you read our Fabric Soften Guide first.

Tips for Keeping Leather from Becoming Stiff

There are a few helpful tips that can help keep your leather from becoming stiff. Your leather will stay soft and smooth for a very long time with a little common sense and best practices.

  • Quality is important. To begin with, avoid purchasing leather goods and clothing of inferior quality. A higher-quality leather will be easier to maintain and won’t wear out or dry out as quickly as those lower-quality leathers, so make sure to choose that.
  • Limit sun exposure. Limiting exposure to the sun is generally a good idea for anything that isn’t a plant. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays causes leather to not only dry out but also fade and possibly crack. When not in use, be sure to store clothing and shoes properly.
  • Dry naturally. While you can soften your leather item by using the tumble dry cycle, it is not recommended. If at all possible, let the leather dry at room temperature or outside, but out of direct sunlight.
  • Regular maintenance. The leather will remain soft and malleable with just a little conditioner, mink oil, or olive oil.
  • Observe tags and labels. Following the manufacturer’s tag is one of the best ways to keep clothing and other leather products in the best possible condition. To increase softness and pliability and extend the lifespan of your leather goods, adhere to those instructions (and add some maintenance).
How to Soften Leather - 7 Effective Ways to Remove the Stiffness of the Leather

What Makes Leather Stiff?

There are several additional reasons why leather may become stiffer over time in addition to the fact that some leathers are softer because they are made better and with higher craftsmanship.

  • Storing Environment: Without giving it much thought, leather is frequently stuffed into closets. Extremely dry or wet conditions can harm the leather. A room with a relative humidity of between 40% and 50% is ideal for storing leather.
  • Stretching: The leather fibers may expand if you force your body into poorly fitting leather. As a result of the stretching, your leather might lose some of its suppleness and flexibility.
  • Using a Dryer: The dryer should never be used with leather. As a result of the high temperatures used in the dryers, the leather dries out and becomes less soft. A dry washcloth is the most secure method for drying leather.
  • Your Leather is Too Old: Maintaining leather in good condition will increase its lifespan. If leather is taken care of and maintained properly, it could last a very long time. However, this is not always the case. This will cause your leather to gradually lose its suppleness.

Conclusion: Soften Leather

Have you received an answer to your queries regarding how to restore the softness of leather? Hopefully, the techniques and pointers mentioned above will enable you to give your stiff leather items new life.

Each approach had some softening potential but also some restrictions. The use of leather conditioners is universal. Even though they are useful, oils can to some degree darken the leather. Although the flexibility was initially aided by the water, when it dried, it became stiff and needed conditioner.


What Oil Softens Leather?

The best oils for softening leather are neatsfoot oil, lanolin, almond oil, and mink oil. These are all organic oils that keep leather supple and prevent it from drying out and cracking. The fats in these organic oils will effectively moisturize the hide in products made of leather. For quick fixes, use Neatsfoot oil.

How Do You Soften a New Leather Purse?

The most efficient way to do this is by using a spray bottle to spray water on the entire leather surface. Spray just enough to dampen it without allowing it to begin to collect. Leather is a porous, natural material, so water will eventually seep into it and cause it to soften.

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