How to Soften Hardened Leather : Reviving Your Old Leather Goods

Last updated on November 14th, 2023 at 06:37 am

How to soften hardened leather. Softening leather is a simple process that requires only a few household items. Find out how to soften leather here.

So many people like using leather products in their daily life. Most people really like it because of its strength and durability. Unfortunately, after some time, the leather becomes harder. It tends to become harder and harder and stiffer and stiffer. This is actually not good for leather products. To soften hardened natural leather is something that you can, of course, do all by yourself.

What is leather?

The leather material is a durable, resilient material made by tanning putrescible animal skins, mainly cowhide. Different manufacturing processes can produce the product, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry. It is most commonly derived from pigs, cows, and sheep.

Millions of animals are slaughtered to produce leather and leather products each year. Making leather begins by removing the skin of an animal, removing the flesh, and tanning the skin. There are many countries where treating animals in this manner is illegal.

However, many parts of the world do not enforce the laws concerning animal cruelty. Many leather goods are produced using cowhides. In addition to leather goods, cows are often used to source leather goods, such as boots, belts, and jackets. There are relatively few alternatives to leather. Most people are unaware that the leather goods they purchase are made from animal skins.

What is hardened leather?

Hardened leather is a new material getting introduced into the market. This material is made from leather scraps of Nike and Red Deer brands. They are prepared to create a new material that is much stronger than leather. This material will be used for shoes, belts, handbags, and other leather products.

The leather is dipped in a solution of vinyl acetate and other chemicals in the presence of air. It will be cured under heat and pressure. The end product will be a solid and hard material like a brick.

The most common type of hardened leather is known as drum-dyed leather. This type of leather is dyed and sang with an open flame to create uniquely textured and patterned leather. Typically this type of leather is dyed before the patterning process, but it can also be dyed after the patterning process.

The patterns on this type of leather range from simple emboss to complex designs that create a three-dimensional look and feel. This process is very labor-intensive, and the patterning process typically takes about 25 minutes for each piece of leather. The labor involved in the production of drum-dyed leather makes it one of the most expensive types of leather available.

how to soften hardened leather
how to soften hardened leather

What makes up leather?

Leather is almost entirely composed of collagen and elastin, two proteins found naturally in skin, and the fibers of the collagen make up the hair-like texture that is the hallmark of all leather.

A tannery can harvest these natural skin secretions by soaking and simmering animal skins until the collagen softens and can be scraped from the skins and then be treated and colored in various ways to produce leather of different colors, textures, and finishes.

The leather dress shoes are made up of thousands of leather fibers. Split leather, full-grained leather, suede, nubuck, and pigskin are the main kinds used in shoes. The choice you make will depend on the type of shoe you want to buy and your personal preference.

Split leather is the most commonly used leather and is the most affordable. Full-grain leather is the most durable and the most expensive; suede is the softest and somewhat less durable than split leather. Pigskin is a favorite for its durability and abrasion resistance.

The fiber taken from the animal skin is called leather fiber. Two types of leather fiber are aniline and pigmented leather. The leather fiber is taken from the hide of the animal skin. The leather is processed in different ways by different companies to get other types of leather.

The processing methods are done by tanning, chroming, and coating. The leather is processed to make it soft and supple for shoe manufacturing.

How to soften hardened leather

The leather industry is enormous. People everywhere need leather. As a result, leather is found in leather couches, leather jackets, and leather shoes. However, leather can become complex and brittle if you don’t take proper care. Therefore, it is essential to take care of your leather, especially if you want it to last. Luckily, there is a way to soften hardened leather. The following are some tips on how to soften hardened leather.

Total Time: 1 hour

1. Clean the leather

how to soften hardened leather

In some cases, the leather may harden over time and smell bad. This is due to the drying of natural fats found in the skin. The way to soften the leather is through the process of oiling. Firstly, you need to clean the leather. Take a cloth and rub it on a soap bar, then rub the leather. 

2. Take warm water

How to Soften Hardened Leather

After that, take a bucket of warm water and dip your leather into it. The soap will help make the leather easier to clean. Let the leather dry after dipping it into the bucket. 

3. Dry it

How to Soften Hardened Leather

After it dries, take a clean cloth and rub the leather with water.

4. Rub the leather with oil

How to Soften Hardened Leather

Then, take a clean cloth and rub the leather with olive oil. Rub the oil on the leather until it’s fully absorbed. This will soften the leather, and the foul smell may go away.

Estimated Cost: 30 USD


  • Cloth
  • Warm water
  • soap
  • Olive oil

How to clean and soften the leather

Cleaning leather goods is not much of a concern because leather is a material that repels water and dirt. But, in case of any stains, they should be cleaned and removed immediately. Here are some tips that will help you clean and soften your leather accessories:

  • Use a small amount of mild detergent to spot clean the leather goods. You can use a damp, soft cloth for dust and dirt.
  • Always make sure to dry the leather after cleaning. Moisture and leather do not go well together.
  • Apply a leather conditioner periodically to keep the leather smooth and soft.

You can use saddle soap to clean the leather, but use it in moderation because it can easily ruin the color of the leather. An excellent way to soften leather is to use a hairdryer in low heat and blow it on the leather. You can also get a small piece of cloth and rub it on the leather. Do it slowly, because otherwise your leather will get damaged.

How to soften hardened leather in your home

Home remedies for restoring hardened leather Not all leather goods are brand-new to open the box. Sometimes you can buy leather goods that are still in their original box, but years of storage have turned them stiff and unable to be used for their intended purpose. 

This is the case with many leather wallets. Over the years, the leather wallets have become coated with a layer of dirt and grime, which is pretty hard to get rid of. Some natural home remedies help make the leather goods softer and more pliable again. 

Before using any of the following treatments on your leather goods, ensure that they are genuine leather. 

The following remedies are suitable for restoring leather wallets, boots, and other leather goods. 

Olive Oil

how to soften hardened leather using olive oil
how to soften hardened leather using olive oil

Olive oil is one of the best natural leather softeners. The oil is the source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. It has moisturizing and nourishing properties, making it an ideal natural leather softener. 

You can use the oil to restore the suppleness of your leather goods. Before using the oil, however, ensure that the leather goods are dehydrated and free from any residual dirt.

How to soften hardened leather using strips

There are many different ways to try to soften rugged leather. It’s not a straightforward process. But, there is a way to soften hardened leather using strips. When you look at leather, and it’s hard, it doesn’t mean you can’t mute it. 

You can work on the leather and make it very soft. To soften hardened leather, you need to work with the grain of the leather. It would be best if you used leather strips. This is the only way to soften hardened leather without ruining it.

What are the causes of hardened leather?

There are several reasons why leather can become complicated, dry, and cracked. 

Leather tanning solutions used on the hides can sometimes cause the hardening of the leather if they have too high a concentration of salts or chemicals. This is one reason why it is necessary to use only tanners known for their experience and reputation. 

If you are making your leather goods at home, then a leather conditioner may be used to soften the leather. This type of conditioner is available at most leather and craft stores. A simple test for hardening is to try and cut a straight line with your knife. 

If the blade does not cut straight, the leather item is too hard. Also, if you find it hard to bend the leather, it may indicate that your leather is too hard.

How to repeat the process and make sure the leather gets soft?

  • After finishing the process of tanning, you need to stretch the leather to make it soft. 
  • First, you need to wipe away the excess water and other chemicals with a soft cloth. 
  • Then you need to place the leather section in a top drawer in your room, leaving enough space for the leather to breathe. 
  • After a day, you can pull out the leather. As a result, the leather will be stretched. You can repeat this process until the leather is soft.

What to do if the leather is not responding

Leather is a natural material that can undergo a variety of changes. If the leather is not responding to your treatment, it means your leather is probably dry. 

In this case, you need to apply some leather moisturizer. There are many different moisturizers available, but they are all designed to get a similar result. 

The first step is to condition the leather. Take a soft cloth and apply the moisturizer to it. 

Rub it into your leather. You can do this daily or twice a week. This will keep your leather soft, flexible, and healthy. 

You can use a leather cleaner and conditioner if you have an incredibly stubborn leather section. This will remove any dirt, grime, or oils from your leather and leave it feeling fresh and clean.

Why does leather smell?

Leather is a natural product, so it can “breathe.” It doesn’t have a powerful odor like synthetic fabrics. The skin’s natural oils will slowly evaporate into the air, and this is why your leather jacket or a pair of shoes will smell after you have worn them for a while. 

It is important to note, however, that leather can absorb a lot of different odors, and it is also important to note that the oil used during the tanning process 


How to soften hardened leather notebook cover

To soften up your leather notebook cover, you can use a leather conditioner or cream. Rub the conditioner or cream into the leather in a circular motion and let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, if all else fails, you can try soaking it in warm water for a few minutes. This should help it soften up so that you can use it again. You can also use a hair dryer to heat up the leather, which will make it more pliable.

How to soften hardened leather gloves

Several ways can be used to soften up leather gloves if they have become stiff and hard to bend. The gloves can be softened by soaking them in warm water for about 15 minutes. This will loosen the fibers and make them more flexible. Leather gloves can also be softened by rubbing them with a conditioner or oil. This will help to replenish the natural oils in the leather and make them more supple.

How to soften hardened leather caused by water

The easiest way is to rub the leather with a soft cloth dampened with water. This will loosen the fibers and make the leather more flexible. Another method is to apply leather conditioner to the leather. This will help moisturize the leather and make it softer.

Is it safe to use heat to soften hardened leather?

Yes, it’s safe to use heat to soften hardened leather as long as you don’t overheat the leather. Make sure to use a steaming pot of water and hold the leather over the steam for only a few seconds.

Can I use regular oil to soften leather?

No, it’s not recommended to use regular oil to soften leather as it can stain and damage the leather. Use a leather conditioner or oil specifically designed for leather.

Can I use a hairdryer to soften hardened leather?

No, it’s not recommended to use a hairdryer to soften hardened leather as the heat can be too intense and cause the leather to crack.


Leather is a durable and timeless material, but it can become hardened and stiff over time. However, with the right methods and techniques, you can soften hardened leather and bring your old leather goods back to life. Whether you use a leather conditioner, heat, moisture, or a combination of these methods, be sure to follow the steps carefully and take proper care of your leather goods to keep them soft and supple for years to come.

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