How to Restore Flaking Leather

Worn brown leather

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When leather is new and well-taken care of, it feels soft and supple to the touch and has a smooth, shiny appearance. As leather begins to age, it begins to flake or crack. Flaking occurs when the leather dries out from a lack of moisture. Putting moisture back into the leather with a conditioner made for that purpose will stop flaking and restore the leather to its original softness. Storing your leather items in a place where they are not prone to direct heat sources and moisturizing them regularly will keep them like-new for years.

Clean the flaking leather item using leather cleaner and a clean cloth. Apply the cleaner directly to the cloth, and wipe the leather gently to remove all surface dust and dirt, which will prevent you from grinding the dirt into the pores on the next step.

Apply a leather conditioner to a clean cloth. Using a circular motion, first rub the cloth into the area where the leather is flaking. Cover the entire leather item in the conditioner to avoid future flaking. If you cannot find a leather conditioner, substitute with neatsfoot oil. Neatsfoot oil is safe for moisturizing leather. It can leave a slick feel, however, so it is best used on items that will not be touched frequently.

Buff the leather with a clean cloth to add shine once it has been covered in conditioner.

Apply a leather protection agent, usually available in cream form, to the leather. Use a new cloth, and rub it into the leather in circular motions to allow the cream to penetrate the pores to create a coating that will help prevent flaking later on.