How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

To keep your leather couch in good condition and prevent peeling, you should take proactive measures to protect it from damage.

In this article, we’ll explore different methods of how to fix a peeling leather couch such as moisturizing it regularly with a high-quality leather moisturizer to maintain the leather’s quality and extend its lifespan.

Why Does Leather Peel and Crack?

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

Leather couches can start peeling over time for a couple of reasons. First, it could be because the leather wasn’t treated properly during the manufacturing process. This lack of proper treatment can make the leather more prone to peeling.

Second, excessive exposure to UV light can cause the leather to deteriorate and peel. Third, if you haven’t been taking proper care of your leather furniture, such as not moisturizing or cleaning it regularly, it can contribute to peeling.

Let’s discuss the reasons further.

1. Poor quality leather

Peeling leather on your couch usually means that the leather used is not good quality or the furniture was not made well.

If you notice peeling, it’s likely because the hide (animal skin) used to make the furniture wasn’t treated properly during the process of turning it into leather.

This can cause the natural oils in the leather to break down over time, which makes the leather couch dry out and start peeling.

Another reason for leather peeling could be if your couch is made from fake or bonded leather. Real leather doesn’t naturally peel, but fake leather which is often made from PVC(polyvinyl chloride), tends to age poorly and peel easily with regular use.

Bonded leather, which is a mixture of shredded leather and synthetic materials, can also be prone to peeling. These materials aren’t as strong and durable as real leather, and that makes them more likely to deteriorate and peel over time.

So, if you’re experiencing peeling on your couch, it’sprobably due to low-quality leather or poor construction.

2. Leather wasn’t sealed properly

Another possibility for leather peeling is that the leather used in its production was not adequately treated during the manufacturing process.

If the leather is not appropriately finished or treated with a protective polymer coating, it becomes susceptible to peeling over time.

To prevent this, it is crucial to apply a finishing agent or protective coating to your leather furniture. This finishing agent acts as a barrier, sealing the leather and preventing it from peeling and deteriorating.

By ensuring that the leather used in the manufacturing of your furniture is properly treated and applying a suitable finishing agent, you can significantly reduce the risk of peeling and prolong the lifespan of your leather upholstery.

3. Lack of proper care and cleaning

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

Lack of care and proper cleaning is a significant contributing factor to leather couch peeling. When leather furniture is not regularly maintained, dust, dirt, and grime can accumulate on its surface.

This results in gradually wearing down the protective layer and causing the leather to deteriorate. Over time, these particles act as abrasive agents, creating friction against the leather whenever someone sits or moves on the couch.

This constant rubbing can lead to the gradual breakdown of the top layer of the leather, resulting in peeling.

Moreover, without proper cleaning, spills and stains can penetrate the leather, leaving behind residues that can further weaken its structure.

Substances such as food and beverages, oils, and even sweat can seep into the leather’s pores, causing it to become discolored, dry, and eventually peel.

Furthermore, if these spills are not promptly addressed, they can foster the growth of mold and mildew, which accelerates the degradation of the leather.

Neglecting to moisturize the leather is another common mistake that can contribute to peeling. Leather needs regular conditioning to replenish its natural oils and maintain its softness and flexibility.

Without proper moisturizing, the leather can dry out, causing it to become brittle and prone to cracking and peeling.

4. Moisture damage

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

Being exposed to excessive moisture is another potential cause of peeling on your leather couch. If your couch has been subjected to excessive dampness or water, such as spills or pet urine, it can lead to moisture damage.

When leather is not adequately protected from moisture, it can start to deteriorate, rot, and eventually peel.

The excessive moisture disrupts the leather’s structure, causing it to lose its natural oils and flexibility. Over time, this can weaken the leather fibers and result in peeling.

To prevent moisture damage and subsequent peeling, it is important to protect your leather couch from spills and liquid accidents.

Quickly blotting and cleaning up any spills or stains, particularly those involving water or liquids, can help minimize the risk of moisture seeping into the leather and causing damage.

In addition, using a leather protector or conditioner can provide a barrier against moisture and help maintain the leather’s integrity providing an extra layer of protection against any possible damage.

5. Extreme exposure to UV

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

Exposing leather furniture to direct sunlight can have detrimental effects on its lifespan and appearance.

When placed near a window or in a sun-drenched area, the sun’s rays can cause the leather to fade, dry out, and undergo undesirable changes.

The fading and drying out occur as the leather’s natural oils gradually evaporate under the sun’s rays. This process causes the leather to become stiff, prone to cracking, and eventually peeling.

The loss of essential oils that keep the leather supple and flexible weakens its structure, which leads the surface of the leather to deterioration.

To protect your leather furniture from sun-related damage and prevent peeling, it’s advisable to avoid placing it in direct sunlight or near windows where it’s exposed to prolonged UV exposure.

Implementing preventive measures like using blinds or curtains to block the sunlight, or relocating the furniture to a shaded area, can help mitigate the effects of sun damage.

In addition, regular conditioning with appropriate leather products can replenish lost moisture and maintain the suppleness of the leather, reducing the likelihood of peeling.

6. Dried out leather

When leather becomes overly dry, it starts to lose its flexibility and can start to crack and flake. This happens because leather (animal skin) needs regular moisturizing, just like our own skin, so as to stay supple and avoid drying out or peeling.

To guarantee the longevity of your leather couch, it’s important to keep it well-moisturized as regular conditioning is essential, especially if you live in a dry climate.

By providing the necessary moisture, you can prevent the leather from becoming brittle and susceptible to flaking. Just as we take care of our skin by applying moisturizers, it’s important to extend the same care to your leather furniture.

Keep in mind to choose a high-quality leather conditioner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you apply it.

This will help replenish the natural oils in the leather and maintain its softness and flexibility while minimizing the risk of drying out and peeling.

When you prioritize moisturizing and conditioning regularly, especially in drier climates, you can ensure that your leather couch remains in good condition and stands for a long time.

7. Harsh cleaning chemicals

Using harsh cleaning chemicals on your leather couch can cause significant damage to it. That’s because leather is a delicate material that needs gentle care and strong cleaners such as bleach or abrasive solvents can change the leather’s color, make it fade, and even ruin it.

These cleaning chemicals can remove the natural oils and protective finishes which makes the leather dry and fragile. They can also weaken the leather, leading to cracks and peeling.

To avoid this, it’s important to use mild, leather-specific cleaners that are pH-balanced and follow the instructions provided so you can protect your leather couch and keep it looking great without causing harm with harsh chemicals.

8. Leather aging

While most leather couches don’t peel for a long time, it’scommon for peeling to occur as the furniture ages.

The reason behind this is the gradual loss of natural oils in the leather which causes it to become dry and brittle over time.

If you have an older leather seat that is starting to peel, it’s a wise decision to hydrate it by applying a high-quality leather oil or conditioner that can effectively moisturize and soften the leather, which has become dried out and stiff.

By replenishing the lost moisture, you help revive the leather’s suppleness and prevent it from further peeling.

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

If you’re dealing with a peeling leather couch, there are several things you can do to address this issue. You can consider using a leather repair kit, leather paint, or leather filler as potential solutions.

These products will help you restore the appearance of the affected areas and improve the overall condition of your leather sofa.

1. Leather repair kit:

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

The first step in fixing a peeling leather couch is to determine the type of leather or leather-like material it is made of. If the couch is real leather, you can follow these steps using a leather repair kit to address the peeling issue:

  • Start by removing dust using a vacuum or a microfiber cloth. Clean the couch using the provided leather cleaning solution from the repair kit.
  • Use a leather prep product, abrasive cloth, or pad to remove the finish from the peeling areas of the leather.
  • Wipe the cleaned area with alcohol, allowing it to be absorbed for around 30 minutes.
  • Apply three to five coats of a leather binder from the kit to strengthen the leather. Make sure to let each coat dry before applying the next.
  • Fill in the cracks or peeling areas with the provided leather filler, using a small spatula. Smooth it out and let it dry for a couple of hours.
  • Use fine sandpaper to smooth the surface and remove any residue. Apply one layer of colorant at a time to match the couch, using an airbrush if available. Allow each layer to dry before applying the next.
  • Once the colorant is dry, apply a few layers of leather finish to strengthen and protect the repaired area.

Bear in mind that you have the option to perform the leather couch repair yourself using a leather repair kit or seek assistance from a professional if needed.

2. Leather paint:

Acrylic paints have long been used to paint leather, making it unsurprising that they can also be used for repairing peeled leather.

One advantage of acrylic paints is that they provide a glossy finish to the leather, which can be easily cleaned with soap and water.

Moreover, these paints are less likely to rub off or crack. Nevertheless, it is essential to apply a sealant or finisher after painting to safeguard your couch from scratches and scuffs.

  • Remove any peeled-off bits from the damaged area.
  • Apply the leather paint to cover the damaged area.
  • Allow the paint to dry completely before proceeding. Once the paint is dry, apply a layer of leather finish to provide additional protection.
  • Apply extra coats of the finish.

3. Use Leather Filler:

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

Leather filler is a flexible substance used for fixing cracks, tears, and holes in leather or vinyl. It is most effective in areas where the leather has worn out extensively, exposing the backing due to peeling, cracking, or tearing.

However, it is important to note that leather filler should not be used for repairing peeling or flaking on bonded or faux leather surfaces.

  • Start by removing any peeled-off bits from the damaged area.
  • Apply the leather filler to fill in the damaged portion.
  • Allow the filler to cure for about thirty minutes.
  • Create a texture on the filler to match the look and feel of your faux leather.
  • Once the texture is created, ensure that it blends seamlessly with the surrounding area.

4. Try a Leather Binder

Once you have finished repairing your peeling leather, applying a leather binder can be a beneficial step to prevent future issues and strengthen the material.

A bottle of leather binder usually has a price of around $20, and you will need to apply multiple coats for satisfactory results.

5. Try Recoloring Balms

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Couch

Recoloring balm is most suitable for smaller tasks, such as minor cracks or small areas of peeling on your leather couch. You can find recoloring balm at a nearby home improvement store, typically priced between $10 to $30.

Recoloring balm not only serves repair purposes but can also be used to restore color to fading leather or repair scratched leather.

Its affordability and multi-functional nature make it a convenient choice for various leather restoration projects.

How to Fix a Peeling Faux Leather Couch

While there are leather fillers available on the market for fixing a peeling faux leather couch, they provide short-term solutions that may last only a few months.

However, if you are seeking a quick fix rather than a long-term resolution, you can follow these steps:

  • Use scissors and a razor blade to carefully peel away the loose peeling leather until you reach a point where it no longer detaches.
  • Vacuum the area and use a brush to remove any dust or dirt. This step is fundamental to guarantee proper adhesion of the filler, as it may not hold well on a dirty surface.
  • Apply the leather filler (or spray) to the damaged area using a putty knife and be careful not to accidentally coat the seams. Feather the edges with your fingers to ensure a smooth and flush fit.
  • Allow the filler to cure, and if necessary, apply extra layers until you achieve the desired result. Repeat this process as needed.
  • If applicable, create texture on the repaired area using a sponge, cloth, or a pair of plastic gloves.
  • Apply colorant and sealant to the dried patch to achieve the desired result.

Tips to Keep Leather From Peeling

  • Remember to condition your leather regularly to keep it moist and supple
  • Use quality leather cleaning products that are not abrasive or harsh on the leather
  • Make sure your leather couch is properly sealed and shouldn’t be exposed to water or kept in a damp place.
  • Avoid placing your couch near a bright window to protect it from sun damage.
  • Make sure the humidity levels in your home aren’t too low
Laura from Couchtips
Laura from Couchtips
We are passionate about furniture and love to share everything that has to do with the furniture industry. We are your ultimate resource for learning everything about furniture, and your guide to choose the ideal home decor.


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