How to Remove a Scratch From Leather

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Leather wears well, and part of the charm of leather apparel is that the more it wears, the softer it gets. Worn or weathered leather takes on a stylish charm -- but its looks can be ruined by unwanted scratches and scrapes. If you lightly scrape your leather jacket, purse, shoes or boots -- for example with a stray fingernail or when walking by a wooden gate -- it's a pretty easy repair. Deeper scratches, from the cat or other dangerous implements, take a little more effort. You can use the same methods to repair leather apparel that you would to fix scratches on your leather furniture.

Minor Scratches

Your everyday purse and frequently worn leather jackets and shoes sustain all kinds of minor scratches. If one stands out, you can "erase" it quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Horsehair or other clothing-safe brush
  • Clean white cotton rag
  • Shoe cream or paste wax
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Shoe polish 

Step 1

Brush the scratch to remove dirt and fluff up the leather fibers a bit.

Step 2

Use the clean rag to apply a bit of shoe cream or paste wax, to further swell the fibers. White vinegar also works, and you can use it instead.

Step 3

Buff the scratch with a clean, dry area of the rag.

Step 4

If you can still see the scratch, rub it with a bit of clear or matching shoe polish. Let the polish dry, and buff the area again with the rag.

Deeper Scratches

Sometimes the scratch in your jacket or shoe is more like a gouge. But if the leather isn't torn all the way through, the scratch should still be fairly easy to fix. For a very deep, discolored scratch, you can use a leather repair kit, but you must be careful to get the color exactly right -- especially if the scratch is in a conspicuous spot. Shoe polish should conceal most scratches nicely, so try it before moving on to the more permanent leather repair kit method.

Things You'll Need

  • Horsehair or other clothing-safe brush
  • Clean white cotton rags
  • Shoe cream or paste wax
  • Shoe polish
  • Leather repair kit in matching color (optional)

Step 1

Brush the scratch gently to remove dirt and fluff up the fibers.

Step 2

Apply shoe cream or paste wax to the scratch.

Step 3

Scoop a bit of clear or matching color shoe polish onto the rag and rub it into the scratch. Don't press hard enough to widen the scratch, but make sure any discoloration is covered and concealed. Let the polish dry.

Step 4

If the scratch is still very noticeable, move on to the leather repair kit. Start by cleaning the area with a damp cloth.

Step 5

Apply the leather repair preparation fluid with a clean rag.

Warning

  • Leather repair fluid can be highly flammable. Work in a well ventilated room away from any open flames.

Step 6

Let the area dry. Then scuff the area lightly with the sandpaper in the kit. Do not use your own sandpaper -- the piece in the kit has been made specially for this purpose.

Step 7

Spread the repair compound from the kit over the scratch, carefully applying several coats until the scratch is filled in. The kit should include a small spatula for this purpose. Let the compound dry completely.

Step 8

Brush on the leather colorant from the kit in a very light coat. Let it dry thoroughly, and apply another coat if you can still see the scratch. Repeat the process until the scratch is gone.

References

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