How to Break in a New Stiff Leather Belt

by Michael Briggs
Make a leather belt less stiff with a few household products.

Make a leather belt less stiff with a few household products.

Like other leather products, belts can be stiff before they have been worn a few times. Breaking it in naturally through normal wear is the most effective solution, but the softening process can take some time if you don't wear the same belt every day. Speed up the process with one of three simple tricks to give your leather belt the desired worn-in look and feel.

Rub a cotton ball with petroleum jelly onto the belt in a circular motion, making sure to cover the entire belt with a thin layer.

Gently rub a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol onto the belt until it covers the entire surface of the belt to loosen up the leather. Repeat the application of rubbing alcohol as many as two more times to properly soften the material.

Treat the new belt with leather conditioner right after you buy it by applying a dime-sized amount from a cotton ball onto both sides of the belt.

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Items you will need

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
  • Leather conditioner


  • If you use leather conditioner, let your belt dry for a few hours after application.
  • If your belt becomes wet, lay it out flat and let it dry naturally.


  • Do not bend, fold or roughly wrap a new belt, as it can crack or wrinkle the stiff leather.
  • Do not use oil to soften your belt.

About the Author

Michael Briggs is a trending news reporter for He has interned for digital and print publications including "The New York Daily News," "The Princeton Packet" and Thrillist. He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in journalism with a sports reporting concentration.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images