How to Restore Leather


Leather is a natural fabric. While natural leather is wonderful, it can also dry out and begin to look worn. You don't have to settle for dry, worn leather. There are things you can do to restore your leather back to its original beauty. In fact, restored leather sometimes looks even more beautiful than it did when it was brand new. It has more life and character. If you find an old leather heirloom, restore it back to its old glory.

Things You'll Need

  • Mink oil
  • White vinegar
  • 2 chamois
  • Bucket
  • Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1 cup mink oil. The vinegar will act as a cleansing agent, removing the dirt and grime from the leather grain. The oil will work to soften the leather to make it more pliable and supple. Leather has its own natural oil, but over time, that oil dries.

  • Dip a chamois into the solution and gently squeeze out the excess oil. If your chamois is dripping, you have too much.

  • Cover the leather with the oil and vinegar to make an even coat. First off, you want to cover every inch of the leather with oil, because this will help the color restore more evenly over the entire piece. At this point you don't need to worry about your rubbing pattern; just apply the oil.

  • Rub the area with your chamois in circular motions. Once the oil is applied, begin rubbing the oil into the leather. This should take about 15 minutes. You need to work the oil into the leather to affect it enough for restoration purposes.

  • Grab another chamois and rub the area until the excess oil is removed from the leather. The leather will still shine because a light film will still remain. You do not, however, want any pooling or dripping.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mink oil can be found at tack shops. Most of the time tack shops have the best quality oil available for people who want to restore their leather saddles.
  • Don't let excess oil dry on your leather. It will create uneven dark spots.

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  • Photo Credit brown leather furniture image by Leonid Nyshko from
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