Free Shipping within the U.S. for orders over $70 - FREE RETURNS

The Journal

How To Fix Cracked Leather

Cracked leather is an unsightly and irreversible problem for many different types of leather goods. Depending on the type of crack, it might be possible to fix with a patch. 

But most cracks require professional repair and refinishing, which can be time-consuming and expensive. The following article will provide you with step by step information on how to repair cracked leather and how to rehydrate the leather.

Methods Used in Fixing Cracked Leather

Step by Step: Fixing Cracked Leather: Prepping the Leather

Materials Needed:

  • Soap or Leather Cleaner
  • Cloth or Sponge
  • 600-Grit Super-Fine Sandpaper
  • Good Quality Leather Filler
  • Palette Knife


1. Clean Up Your Leather

One of the most important steps in fixing cracked leather is cleaning the affected area. Take special care to avoid any dirt or debris that might contaminate the leather. 

Use warm soapy water to wash the surface of the leather using a cotton cloth or some warm water. Don’t make any effort to massage the leather, or the scuffs will last for longer. 

In addition, wash the piece with soap and water before beginning the repairs. The area should be thoroughly washed in warm water, as that will encourage your leather to hydrate faster. You can also use a soft sponge and a clean cloth. 

2. Allow the Leather To Dry Completely

You will need to wait at least 24 hours before using a water solution on your leather. This prevents the leather from becoming waterlogged and starts to flake and crack. Before starting the repair process, you need to locate and clean the crack. 

3. Smooth Out the Repair Area

Remove all dirt and dust. Use a clean and soft cloth and gently wipe away the excess dirt. You should start at the top, under the crack and work your way down the leather. 

Use a very fine edge sanding brush or paper to work the leather. Dust off all the surface debris. You may want to use a light dry leather scouring pad to apply a small amount of tack cloth. 

4. Time to Add Some Leather Filler

Before you can fix cracked leather, you will first need to apply leather filler to restore its original structure. This will save you a lot of money in the long run because you will not need to repair the leather as it is not that noticeable. 

To apply leather filler to the leather, it should be moist. Make sure to use a leather filler that doesn’t dry too quickly, rather than dry filler. 

Start with a thin coat at first and then apply more until the crack is smooth at the surface. 

5. Use a Putty Knife to Remove the Excess Paste

Use a putty knife or soft chisel to remove the excess paste. Then, add a little bit of sandpaper or microfiber cloth to remove the layer of wax residue and the film of grease that coated the leather after the putty knife work. 

Wipe the excess paste on a clean damp sponge or towel and then with a leather cleaner (the alcohol in one could burn your fingers). Apply a thin coat of leather cleaner to remove any residue. 

6. Have Patience When Letting the Leather Dry

Allow the leather to dry for at least 6 hours. The longer you allow it to dry, the more permanent the fix will be. This is very important, so have some patience when allowing the leather to dry itself out.

Using Leather Crack Filler

Step by Step: Fixing Cracked Leather: Repairing the Leather

Materials Needed:

  • Clean
  • Soap or Leather Cleaner
  • Cloth or Sponge
  • 600-Grit Super-Fine Sandpaper
  • Good Quality Leather Filler
  • Palette Knife
  • Leather Dye
  • Color-Fast Sponge or Applicator Pad
  • Hairdryer
  • Leather Sealer


1. Start With the Filler

You’ll need some leather filler to repair and fill the cracks on the surface of the leather. Filler is a solid substance such as glue, glue stick or sand, and it is also known as leather fixer. 

After you have removed all of the dirt, apply a thin layer of the filler. Carefully push the filler into the cracks and lines of the leather. Be careful not to go too deep or the cracks might open. 

2. Carefully Sand and Smooth the Repair

Using the sandpaper, carefully rub the area around the crack and at the edges where the leather is either cracked or split. After this, you should be able to see the cracks or splits less clearly. 

3. Applying the Leather Dye

We must first use a leather dye to cover the leather crack. This dye is either water based or oil based. This will also prevent the color from fading away too fast. In some cases, you might be interested to use a water based dye in order to whiten your leather. 

Apply the water based dye on the leather crack. You can use an applicator pad or one of those square sponge applicators as well. Be sure to let the dye dry between applications if needed.

4. Let The Area Dry

Even if the leather has been cleaned and sanded, the filler material itself may still be wet. In some cases, the leather is heavily saturated with water and the filler is not dry enough to use. 

Allow the piece to dry thoroughly. 

5. Blend the Cracks With the Dye

Before starting to repair, start by making the crack more uniform by blending it. with more of the dye. You might have to apply the dye several times to get the crack smooth. 

Let each application of the dye dry properly. You can always use the hairdryer mentioned above. Just don’t set it to a high heat.  

6. Seal the Repair Area

Our final step is to seal the affected area. You can find many great sealers at most stores and especially shoe repair shops locally and even online sites. Spray on your sealant, allow it to dry between applications and you should be finished.

Rehydrating Leather With a Conditioner

Materials Needed:

  • Commercial Soap & Leather Cleaner
  • Cloth or Sponge
  • 600-Grit Super-Fine Sandpaper
  • Good Quality Leather Filler
  • Palette Knife
  • Distilled Water
  • Leather Conditioner


1. Wipe Off the Leather With a Cleaner and a Microfiber Cloth

After cleaning the leather, place a microfiber cloth over the leather surface and wipe away any excess dirt and debris. Wipe off any excess conditioner and water that may have entered the leather through the cracks. 

2. Let the Leather To Dry

It is essential that the leather stays dry during the entire process of rejuvenating it. Cracks and other surface stains will continue to spread as long as they are exposed to moisture. 

So waiting for the leather to dry completely before treating it with a conditioner is the best way to get an end result that is true to your original intentions.

3. Time to Apply the Conditioner

First of all, make sure to apply the leather conditioner liberally. The more the leather is saturated with conditioner, the more it will hold its shape. 

So you don't have to apply as much as you think you need. Apply the conditioner liberally with a tissue, pressing it firmly into the cracks. It will take no longer than a minute or so. 

The leather will instantly begin to absorb the conditioner and will start to regain its shape. It is even better if you spread a thick layer of the conditioner on each side of the leather. When the cloth dries, you'll see that the conditioner has seeped into the cracks. 

4. Have No Fear, Use Additional Conditioner

If needed, apply a protective layer of conditioner. This step is especially important to prevent the leather from drying out too much. Just like any moisturizer, conditioner protects and strengthens the leather. 

Conditioners should be applied with the grain and areas that already have cracked. Also, be sure to apply conditioner evenly over all of the leather surfaces. 

5. Let the Leather Rest Until It Feels Dry to the Touch

When a leather surface is exposed to direct sunlight, it experiences exposure to air which can result in dehydration. This is especially true for skin leather. 

As a result, before using any kind of moisturizer, it's recommended that you let the leather surface dry out for a few hours. If you're using a heavy-duty spray, be sure to only use a small quantity of the product. 

6. Condition the Leather Again if the Cracks Are Still Visible

Sometimes you might find yourself needing to condition the leather once again. This is no problem, you did nothing wrong during the repair process. Leather hide is sometimes just as fickle as human skin. You already know how to condition the leather, so you should be able to get the job done even faster this time around.

Is There a Way to Stop Leather From Cracking?

Leather that becomes cracked or damaged generally happens over time. The cause can be simple wear and tear, or environmental influences that can change a leather's chemistry.

The best way to keep your leather from cracking is to simply keep it conditioned properly. That means keeping things such as leather wax and conditioner handy. As long as you condition the leather regularly you won’t have any problems with cracking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Leather Crack? How Does It Happen and Why?

How and why does leather crack? Cracks start appearing in leather when they are in direct contact with moisture. This happens during extreme changes in temperature. 

Direct sunlight can also cause leather to crack. As leather ages, so does its chemical makeup. Sunlight dehydrates leather, promoting cracks.

What’s the Best Way to Maintain Leather Shoes?

Perhaps one of the most common issues when you have leather shoes is the build-up of dirt and grime. No matter how hard you scrub your shoes, if the leather isn't properly rehydrated you’ll eventually run into cracking problems with the leather. 

Waxes, conditioners, dyes and saddle soaps are fantastic for maintaining your leather. You can find these products anywhere and they are extremely easy to use. 


We hope you enjoyed our article about how to fix cracked leather. As you have read, if you are going to fix cracked leather, it is important that you do it correctly. Be sure to bookmark or print out this article as it will help you save time and money when dealing with your leather goods.