How Do You Soften Hardened Leather?

soften-hardened-leather Credit: JD Baskin/CC-BY 2.0

New and old leather can become hard from an array of circumstances. Softening leather helps to preserve and better care for the leather over time. Leather can be softened by cleaning it and applying at least one coat of leather oil. You need leather cleaner, leather oil and cotton cloths for the job.

  1. Clean the leather

    In order for the leather oil to properly absorb into the leather, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned of dirt and debris. Apply leather cleaner to a clean cotton cloth. Rub the cleaner onto the leather in circular motions until you have fully cleaned the leather. Allow to dry before applying oil.

  2. Apply leather oil

    Pour quality leather oil onto a clean cotton cloth. Rub the oil into the leather until it has absorbed. Any excess oil left on the leather should be removed with a dry cloth. Continue until you have oiled all of the leather.

  3. Allow the leather to dry

    Let the leather completely dry and test the softness of the leather. Often new or severely dry leather requires a second or third coat of leather oil. Allow the leather to dry in between oiling to determine if an additional coat is necessary.