How to Fix Slippery Leather Furniture


In 1921, the American Technical Society recommended correcting slippery leather by "washing it first with gasoline and then with water.” No right-minded person would follow such a recommendation today, but the Society was on the right track. Slippery leather has a coating--heavy in carnauba wax or beeswax--which makes it too slick to be comfortable for the sitter. Although gasoline will certainly clear away that coating, there are safer, modern-day alternatives to achieve the same result.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft lint-free cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Leather conditioner
  • Mix a solution of three parts rubbing alcohol to one part water.

  • Rub the solution gently over the surface of the leather, using a wet, lint-free cloth. Do not rub vigorously, or you may remove the surface color.

  • Allow the leather to dry completely for two to four hours.

  • Treat and soften the leather with a top-quality conditioner. If the leather is slippery because it is stiff, a conditioner will loosen the stiffness.

  • Test the furniture. It should have far more “grab” to it because you have exposed the grain and conditioned the leather.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may wish to treat the leather with a surface treatment to protect it from stains and fading. The surface treatment will contain the same waxes that made your leather slippery, but in a lesser amount.
  • Wax is actually a solid form of alcohol, so, the alcohol/water solution should dissolve it readily. Repeat the treatment with the alcohol/water solution until you achieve satisfactory results.

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  • Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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