How to repair a peeling leather couch

A leather sofa can be one of the most expensive pieces of furniture in your home, it will often form the centerpiece of many living rooms and looks fab when paired with almost any type of coffee table.

Therefore, it’s also a great idea to take care of it and keep it looking new as long as possible. Unfortunately, peeling leather is not only unsightly but can also damage the leather underneath and make it unusable. Here are some easy steps that will allow you to restore your peeling leather sofas with simple steps!

How to repair a peeling leather couch, Zazzy Home

Why is my leather couch peeling?

Leather is a natural leather made from animal skin, so it can be delicate—leather peels when the leather becomes dry and loose due to excess exposure to air or light. Likewise, the leather starts splitting as it’s exposed because of heat, humidity, sunlight (UV rays), improper cleaning methods, or prolonged use of very hot water. All these factors make leather vulnerable and prone to rips and tears that cause peeling in high-traffic areas like armchairs or couches.

If leather is left untreated, it will eventually start to come off in sheets. This can be very bad for leather furniture because the leather starts to fall apart and may not return to its original state even if properly treated with leather conditioners or oil.

Repairing a peeling leather sofa.

-Use a leather conditioner. Apply the leather conditioner evenly to the leather and wait for it to absorb. This is also a good time to use any other leather cleaning products you may have on hand, such as saddle soap or vinegar water.

-Apply leather polish with your fingertips until all of the scratches in your leather are gone, and it is shiny again. You can finish up by using an old toothbrush and some extra hard bristles (such as from a hairbrush) rubbing in a circular motion over the entire couch cushion

-Apply contact cement or a similar product, such as rubberized paint, glue with latex adhesive, epoxy resin sealant, etc., in sections of your leather sofa where you need more protection from future wear and tear by seams, for example: on top of armrests

How to repair a peeling leather couch, Zazzy Home

-Let dry overnight before proceeding with any further steps below. For seam repairs, after attaching back together, use either elastic cord or stitching for reinforcement that will prevent tearing apart at the next stress point

For the exterior spot clean spills immediately using water or soapy water (depending on what may have spilled), then follow up with an old toothbrush and leather conditioning product as needed

-Do not use any leather soaps, polishes, or other products that are designed to be used on furniture upholstery. These can leave a film coating which will, in turn, attract dirt and cause premature wear of the leather

-If peeling has occurred near seams, apply contact cement as needed at first, then attach sections together with tape while waiting for them both to dry before proceeding further steps below: Using sandpaper, lightly sand leather until it is smooth. Apply leather conditioner and leather polish to newly smoothed areas to ensure the peeling has been completely removed

Avoid using water or cleaning products containing alcohol (such as vinegar) when working with leather because these substances may dissolve some finishes.

-Wear leather gloves when working with leather products to avoid premature wear of the leather. Use them for any activity that involves contact, such as dusting or vacuuming

How to repair a peeling leather couch, Zazzy Home

-Avoid using hot water and instead use cool water only on your leather sofa in order to keep it from shrinking and cracking prematurely

Always make sure that you are applying these steps regularly so you can maintain a good-looking couch cushion! This will help prevent peeling again later down the road. You may also want to consider having some extra protection applied by professionals at an upholstery store if possible. It’s worth spending money now than waiting until the damage has already been done!

What do our readers think?

You’ve heard how we would repair a peeling leather sofa, but here are the best tips from Zazzy Home readers.

Check the basics first, just give it a quick once over and look for visible problems. Is it still standing? Does the peeling seem more like paint than fabric? If yes to either of these questions, then you’ll need to determine what caused the peeling- sometimes it’s easy to do yourself, but other times you’ll need professional help. The most common causes are water damage, damage by animals or pests, abuse (stains from dirty hands), reactions with additional items such as chemicals for cleaning the furnitureFrancesco Balls

There are a few different things that you could do to repair your peeling sofa. One might be that you can use the clothes iron on the affected areas in order to flatten down any surrounding fabric that is loose and wrinkled. Another approach would be to cut black vinyl sheets into small pieces and place them over the problem area with double-sided tape. You will need to trim around all edges, so they don’t show, then cover with another piece of backing paper or fabric before attaching it using an apply glue with spray adhesive. Any type of contact cement should work as well for this type of project, which also entails lining up as accurately as possible and pressing firmly around onto floor tiles or what have you before leaving it dry enough, Ferne Dupler.

The best way to repair a peeling sofa is by using upholstery nails.

Buying new furniture isn’t the only option if your old couch has seen better days; you can try your hand at upholstery repairs. I know what you’re thinking, “but I don’t have that kind of time!” despite being a major project, it’s not as bad as it sounds and much easier than you think. Here are some easy tutorials for reupholstering a couch with slide-out arms and recovering fabric onto cushions so that they don’t slip off the corners of the foam pads or sag over time, Josh Marsch

I’m sorry to tell you what you don’t want to hear, but the only way to repair the peeling is by replacing that section of the fabric with new fabric.

How to repair a peeling leather couch, Zazzy Home

It’s difficult because there are different oils from your hands seeped into every surface layer–the backing, the upholstery, and hidden inside all those tiny little fibers. What happens over time is that these oils sear themselves onto each layer in varying degrees of severity. In other words, removing these oils with soap and detergent will either be ineffective, or it will strip off all oil from everywhere else too. So no matter how much you scrub at it–rest assured–you’ll only end up causing more damage than necessary as all those chemicals are clogging, Madie Trickey.

Good question. Before we repair a peeling sofa, there are a few things you need to know!

The first thing is that skin is leather-like, and it’s not the same as human skin. You can still peel people’s skin, but it has dead layers below it like the epidermis and dermis with a fatty tissue called subcutaneous fat between them. Leather doesn’t have these layers, and so in order to fix up the couch, you’ll probably need to take off more than just what’s peeled off if you want any lasting change.

It seems like your best bet for getting the couch fixed will be having a professional do some refinishing on it. If those professionals don’t seem too sure about, Lon Sweet.

One way to repair a peeling sofa may be painting exterior latex paint over the scratches, nicks, and other damage without sanding (removing or scuffing) it down.

There are several different ways to polish up wood furniture, from heavy liquids that might lighten up the patina on your wood to homemade concoctions of vinegar and water.

To finish it off, just apply a little beeswax furniture wax. With repeated use, this will make your piece look brand new for years. Use sparingly and buff in with a soft cotton cloth after letting it dry, Jarred Burgett

If the peeling is only along seams or on small areas, go to your local hardware store and purchase wood filler or a putty-like material designed specifically for furniture. If it’s more extensive, you should bring it to a professional restorer or furniture maker, Rachell Loudon

It can be hard for some people to repair a peeling couch. It’s not as easy as it may sound, and most people ruin the first layer of material more times than they succeed in repairing it. If you’re up to trying, though, there are a few steps one should take before getting rid of what might just be salvageable.

First off, one must stop laughing. Second, take a deep breath and let go of the fact that this seems like an impossible task – when we believe something is too much, we often don’t even try to do it because we don’t think we’ll succeed anyway after an initial failure or two, Elwanda Sequeira

More than likely, the peeling is a result of water getting into the foam. Cleaning might make your sofa feel better, but it won’t actually help. Water usually causes this issue, so you should be looking for an underlying cause for it. For a quick fix, wipe the sofa with a damp rag and then dry it off by patting and blotting with paper towels or dishcloths.

If you can identify the source of the water intrusion, put in your best effort to protect your couch from that particular threat either by purchasing covers or extra pillows or leg pads to keep external items away from the surface of your couch…but know that some exterior elements like snow and rain will still get in there no matter how thick, Shena Massman

All you need to do is reupholster the sofa or else get a new cover for it.

-If your sofas are still in decent shape, you can get inexpensive slipcovers. Slipcovers protect the upholstery and make them last much longer! They’re also easier to clean if kids or pets have an ‘accident’ on them, as they can be whipped out and washed without damage to those pesky zippers!

-If you love your sofas just as they are, then some DIY upholstery work could be done. If this is not in your ken, there is always money that can be spent on hiring someone who does this carpentry very well for a good price, Carma Almanza



Meet Jeff. For the last 10 years, he's been repairing and fixing problem homes - from leaky roofs to faulty wiring. He started blogging about his experiences as a way to help others who might be struggling with home repairs, and he's become something of an expert in the field. Jeff is always up for a challenge, and he loves sharing his tips and advice with others. When it comes to home repairs, Jeff knows what he's talking about. So if you're looking for some help and guidance, be sure to check out his latest guide!

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