How to Soften Leather Furniture

Make your leather feel worn in with natural oils.
Make your leather feel worn in with natural oils. (Image: Overstuffed Brown Leather Reclining Sofa image by James Phelps from

Leather furniture in your home can be a costly investment, and one that you should be eager to protect. But after spending such a large sum, you want your luxury your way. Often new leather comes with little give, feeling a little hard to the touch when you sit down on it for the first few weeks. If you want that soft worked-in feeling fast, you can soften up the leather using natural oils and chemicals that reach into the pores of the leather and add a healthy moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Blow dryer
  • Cotton rags
  • Neatsfoot oil or mink oil
  • Lanolin oil
  • Professional leather conditioner

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Apply a little light heat with the dryer to open up the pores of the leather, which will allow the oils to sink in fully.

Apply a generous amount of neatsfoot oil or mink oil to a clean cloth. Wipe across the surface of the leather gently in a circular buffing motion. Be sure to cover the entire surface.

Repeat the previous step with a generous amount of lanolin oil.

Wipe off any excess oil with a separate clean rag. Let the oils sit for about a day before using the furniture.

Finish off the furniture with a professional leather conditioner, preferably one that contains a little bit of beeswax, which will provide a protective coat for the leather and also waterproof it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you think you may be using too much of a product, use a smaller amount, since you can always add a bit more.
  • You can find a number of products that contain neatsfoot oil and lanolin oil in the same compound.
  • Always test each substance in a small inconspicuous area before applying to your entire piece.


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