4 Ways to Repair Leather Seats

damaged leather chair

When your leather furniture suffers damage in the form of a cut or a scratch, it's actually possible to repair it on your own and save yourself an expensive trip to a professional leather upholsterer, as that route is only necessary when there is severe damage.

There is plenty you can do yourself in terms of leather seat repair using items you already have in the house. There are even kits available. However, you usually achieve better results with other methods specific to your couch's damage.


Leather furniture becomes scratched for many different reasons and can look unsightly. In most cases, repairing the scratch is easy.

Some people recommend rubbing either orange oil or olive oil into the scratch and its surrounding area. Regardless of which substance you choose, rubbing it in by making buffing motions with a damp cloth does have the effect of conditioning the leather, which is always a nice practice.

Another method is to rub neutral-colored shoe polish into the area and follow up with an application of vegetable-based oil soap. This technique is especially useful when the leather is dark brown, as the scratch can be masked by a very careful application of dark brown furniture polish.

  • Certain leathers vary in how treated and how sensitive they are. If you are concerned or know for a fact that your leather furniture is delicate enough to be harmed by anything harsher, try using only warm water and a damp cloth to start. You can also test an inconspicuous spot to ensure the oils or polish won't do more harm than good.


When you’re repairing a cut in leather, use a circular under patch for the leather seat repair. This makes it easier to slide under the cut. Plus, your job will be made even simpler if you use a patch that is coated with heat-activated glue on one side.

If you’re using low-cure leather repair compound, you should smooth it over the cut and use a heat gun on it to cure it off. Be sure to hold the heat gun a fair distance away from the area you’re repairing. This lets you cure the compound without shrinking or burning the leather.

To finish, you’ll need to match the dye of the leather. Apply it on top of a small amount of grip base and blend the dye. Then repair into the rest of the seat so that it becomes invisible. Use a hairdryer to dry it.

  • Both the glues and dyes in question can be messy or even harmful depending on the substances a manufacturer has included. Always wear protective gloves simply to keep the substances off your hands, and consult your product warning labels to learn about any other safety procedures you should be adhering to.


Small abrasions are interesting. If they are truly small enough, they don't represent real damage. Under the right circumstance, they can be removed without any indication they were there to begin with.

Spray the area with water and take a small piece of 1000-grit sandpaper. Sand only the area of the abrasion very lightly until the entire area feels smooth. Note that in some cases, especially with larger abrasions, the area might need to be re-dyed.

  • Sand slowly and stop multiple times to check the surface of the leather frequently. Since the damage is subtle and the sandpaper won't offer much real resistance in your hand either way, it can be difficult to simply feel or intuitively know when it's time to stop sanding.


Over time, leather furniture will crack if it’s not maintained. The only way to make a complete repair to cracked leather is to replace the affected area. However, you can make a cosmetic difference on your own by cleaning the leather thoroughly and re-coloring it. This isn’t going to eliminate the cracks, but it will have the effect of hiding them. This is not a long-term repair, but will be fine for a short period of time before you have to finally replace the leather.