How to Repair Torn Leather

A torn leather car seat.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
Leather repair kit
Oil-free dish detergent
Leather conditioner
Spray bottle

Leather is an expensive material. When you need to repair torn leather you'll find the cost could be as much as it would be to replace the item. Accidents happen and, regardless of how strong leather is, it can be torn. Seat cushions can get worn down and rip. Clothing can get caught on nails and become torn. There is no reason to pay a lot of money to repair torn leather when you can do it yourself easily and inexpensively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to show you how.

Step 1 - Clean the Leather

In order to make a clean, strong bond with the adhesive and patch you need to start with a clean surface. If there is any grime, dirt or oily residue left behind then the adhesive may not bond to the leather. Mix a small amount of dishwashing detergent with water in a spray bottle and shake it up to make it soapy. Spray the leather with the water and wipe it down with a rag.

Step 2 - Make an Even Tear

In order to make the repair, you need to have a tear that is more precise than jagged. Use a pair of scissors and trim the torn leather. Make the tear in the leather as straight as you can as this will allow you to repair torn leather so it looks seamless when it is dry.

Step 3 - Prepare the Surface

Now that you have a leather surface that is clean and trimmed, you can prepare the surface to accept the adhesive and the patch successfully. The leather repair kit will come with two significant items: sandpaper and alcohol. Surfaces that are textured are more likely to allow for proper adhesion than flat surfaces. Use the sandpaper and gently scuff the leather around the tear. You do not want the leather to dry out because it can become brittle. Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and wipe it over the leather where you scuffed it. Do the same thing with the piece of patch leather that is provided in the leather repair kit as described in the next step.

Step 4 - Patch the Leather

The leather repair kit will come with a piece of patch leather. If the size of the tear warrants it, you can use the entire piece, otherwise, you will need to trim it to fit the tear. Cut the piece of leather to be slightly larger than the tear. Apply the adhesive to the edges of the patch and place it under the tear and apply pressure.

Step 5 - Match the Color

It is rare to get the exact color of leather but the leather repair kit comes with color that you can mix to get the right color. Consult the color matching guide in the kit and apply it to the leather patch and edges. Blend the color as well as you can then let it dry. Finally, apply the leather conditioner for a clean and uniform finish.