How To Fix Leather Couch Is Peeling

Your favorite leather couch has started peeling, and you’re at your wit’s end regarding how to fix it. Let’s show you a few simple ways to solve the issue. 

The elegance and sophistication of a leather couch is unmissable. It’s the piece of furniture that completes the décor of your living room. But what happens when that couch starts cracking and peeling all over? Firstly, you feel confused regarding what led to this situation. And secondly, you start looking for ways to fix the fabric. 

We have all the answers you need regarding both these queries of yours. So, without any more delay, let’s get to it!

How To Fix Leather Couch Is Peeling?

Step1: Cut off loose fibers. It serves to smoothen the area and prepare it for a better and more durable repair.

Step 2: Mix liquid soap with water and dip an abrasive pad into it. Scrub to remove the remaining bits of peeling leather. After that, wipe dry with a towel. Do this in a circular motion.

Step 3: Wipe the surface with denatured alcohol and then wipe dry with a paper towel.

Step 4: Dip sandpaper in the cleaning solution and rub the surface to remove more damaged leather. Do this in a quick motion from one side to the other. Grind to smoothen the surface, then remove the debris with a towel. After doing this, spray a bit of leather prep sprayer and then wipe off.

Step 5: If the section is pitted, scoop a small amount of filler and apply it even to the damaged surface. Be careful not to use too much. It may cause the level of the hard part to be different from that of the original leather. If, however, this happens, wipe off the excess and apply a second coating if needed. Let it dry for an hour. 

Step 6: Make sure you have a dye that matches the color of your couch. Pour some into a sponge. Apply it to the area you are repairing. Give the colorant time to dry. That will ensure it permeates into the filler. Do this before proceeding to the next step. Apply as many coats as needed leaving it to dry after every coating.

Step 7: This is the final step. At this point, the part you have repaired needs to be looking complete. What is left is sealing and protecting the finish, and this is a straightforward process. Pour some leather sealant onto a sponge. Rub this sponge onto that part. Always ensure you use a clean sponge. It also should be done in a circular motion. Do these three or four times, each time allowing it to dry before applying another coating.

There you go! Your leather couch should be looking all good now.

Why Is My Leather Couch Peeling? 

A leather couch starts to peel due to several reasons. One of the foremost among them is the quality of leather used for the couch. Two other common reasons are the use of the wrong sealants and cleaners, and the absence of adequate moisture in the area. Let’s take a look at these factors in detail: 

1. The Use Of Poor Quality Of Leather 

Good leather lasts for decades, and can resist peeling for years with only a bit of care and maintenance. However, the same thing cannot be said about fake or bonded leather. 

Bonded leather is basically a cheap alternative to actual leather. As such, it is made from scraps of recycled leather that are glued together using strong adhesive. It lacks the stretch and elasticity of the real material. Therefore, after a while, the PU overlay starts peeling away. Depending on how poor the quality of leather is, it can start cracking and peeling within months due to the absence of resilience and durability. 

2. Applying Wrong Sealants Or Cleaners 

Secondly, in many cases, the leather remains intact but the sealant or finish put on the surface begins to crack. Also, using products containing certain chemicals and solvents to clean the surface of the couch can cause peeling.  

For instance, your regular baby wipes can leave irreparable damage on that leather sofa. As the chemicals in the wipes break down, they rub off the topcoat of the material. So, baby wipes are best to be kept near babies and not leather couches. 

3. Low Humidity Levels Around The Couch 

Original leather is actually animal skin. Thus, it has to be moisturized and maintained to prevent it from drying out, which eventually leads to cracking and peeling. Also, only applying the right conditioner and cleaner on the couch is not enough. You also need to note the humidity levels surrounding the sofa. If it’s placed in such a space, the leather will lose moisture and get brittle. 

How To Fix Peeling Faux Leather Couch? 

The easiest way to fix a peeling faux leather couch is to paint the surface. Adding a nice, thin layer on top can help in covering up scratches and keep peeling at bay for quite some time. Follow the given steps to get the job done. 

Step 1. Carefully Peel Off The Loose Bits 

Get a damp cloth and wipe the surface of the sofa with that to remove all the loose, peeled off bits on it. However, do not pull on any of the pieces that are attached to your sofa because you will worsen the peeling situation that way. 

Step 2. Application Of The Paint 

Get a jar of leather paint and mix all the content of that jar gently. Next, take your paintbrush and dip that in the jar to start applying the paint on the area that’s peeling. The best thing you can do is to start on the sides and back of the sofa, and repair the seat last. 

So, start from the left side and reach the right, while putting only a thin layer of pain to every part. Make sure you brush that paint in the couch completely, while paying attention to the parts around the seams.  

In case you don’t find a paint, whose color matches the sofa exactly, get two paints that are close to your sofa’s color. Now, mix them and see if you can get something resembling the actual color of the leather. 

Step 3. Allow The Paint To Dry 

Let the leather paint dry out for nearly forty minutes. In case you add multiple layers of paint, you will have to wait for at least thirty minutes after each application to prevent the coats from blending. 

Test with your fingers to check whether the paint is completely dry before you apply every coat. And leave the paint to dry for an additional fifteen minutes if it feels wet to your fingers. 

Step 4. Application Of The Leather Finish 

Apply the paint finish after the coats have dried out completely. Also, you can get a good leather finish for cheap at any of the furniture or hardware stores near you, i.e., the same place where you found the leather paint. 

Make sure your paintbrush is completely clean and paint-free before dipping it in the finish. You don’t want to repaint your sofa or mess up the finish, right? The finish will take about thirty minutes to get completely dry.  

Additionally, apply the finish in horizontal strokes to prevent the appearance of any brush line on the final work. 

Step 5. Application Of Extra Coats Of Leather Finish 

You might need two more extra coats of leather finish to make sure the fabric holds together for long – minus any peeling. Also, be liberal in the application of the finish. You need to brush it in the fabric completely and not make it dry out on the top. 

The finish has to fade in the fabric after it dries. So, when you apply the final coat of finish, the non-repaired and repaired parts should have the same appearance. 

How To Fix Bonded Leather Couch Peeling? 

The use of vinyl and leather repair kits can help in preventing damages to the product and resolve the issue. Given below are the steps to fix a peeling bonded leather couch. 

Step 1. Cut Or Wipe Off The Loose Bits 

Get a damp cloth and wipe the surface of the sofa with that to remove all the loose, peeled off bits on it. You can also cut off the peeled bits. However, do not pull on any of the pieces that are attached to your sofa because you will worsen the peeling situation that way. 

Step 2. Mark The Damaged Parts Of Your Sofa 

Sofas usually come with necessary maintenance and repair equipment. If the fabric does not come with any such kit, put a backing cloth on the damaged parts of your sofa. Then, take a pointer to mark a larger outline than the real damage on your fabric. 

Step 3. Prepare The Fabric To Start The Repair 

Gasp the leather with your fingers over the peeling part. Now, use a toothpick to tuck all the edges that remain under the fabric perimeter. Also, ensure that the backing material is bigger than the damaged part for easy repairing. 

Step 4. Applying The Vinyl Adhesive 

Take the vinyl adhesive and put it on the backing material. You need to apply it about a few inches below the bonded leather. It will take around six hours for this adhesive to dry out. 

Step 5. Applying The Color On The Sofa 

Do not straightway start applying the color on the sofa because the result can be disastrous when the color is of a different tone. So, mix a few batches to see if you get the right color. Then, start applying the color from one end to another. 

Step 6. Mix The Vinyl Adhesive And The Color 

Pour one layer of the color on the vinyl adhesive. Make sure that the color remains inside the exposed edges of the bonded leather. Additionally, follow the directed grain pattern in the kit to prevent any texture issue. You will get a smooth surface this way. 

Step 7. The Final Touch-Ups To The Sofa 

Take your grain paper and put that on the wet color compound using your palms. Now, wait for a few minutes to let it dry (as per the manufacturer’s instructions). Then, carefully take away the paper after it’s dry. It will make sure that the compound does not stick on your paper. 

Furthermore, it is a good idea to put grit sandpapers to make the color spread easily in the leather. 

How To Stop Faux Leather From Peeling?

Faux leather looks almost like actual leather but is way inexpensive than the real deal. However, the biggest issue with this fabric is that it peels quicker than you think. So, if you want to stop faux leather from peeling, here are the methods you can try. 

Method 1: A Mix Of Moisturizer, Baking Soda, and Vinegar 

It is a simple and cheap homemade way to hide all kinds of surface wear and tear on faux leather surfaces. 

  • Start by mixing half a cup of vinegar and water in equal parts and dip a clean cloth in this solution. Use this mixture to wipe the surface and let it dry out completely. 
  • Mix another cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda. Now, use a clean cloth to apply it on the leather surface. 
  • Apply a good moisturizer to that surface after the baking soda mix dries. The absorption of the cream will completely hide the peelings and stains. 

Method 2: Applying Leather Filling Paste 

Here is how you apply a leather filling paste over the damaged surface: 

  • Use a mild detergent and wet cloth to clean the leather surface. 
  • After it dries, put a little bit of leather filling paste to the damaged parts. 
  • Use your brush and spread out the filler all over peelings and cracks 

Method 3: Using A Repairing Dye 

Reviving faux leather is the easiest using dye leather paint. It not only protects the sofa from regular wear and tear, but also comes in different shades to match the surface. 

  • First, use a mild detergent and lint-free cloth for cleaning the surface.  
  • Next, sand the areas where a sponge has been used to raise the leather to extract all the flakes. 
  • Finally, put the repair dye and use a sponge to spread it evenly on the surface. Let the leather completely absorb this dye before putting in one more coat. 

Method 4: Putting Adhesive Patches Over The Damage 

It is easy to get adhesive patches in the stores. You will need to buy something that is an exact match of the faux leather surface and use it correctly. 

  • Use a mild detergent and lint-free cloth for cleaning the surface, and dry it with any lint-free cloth. 
  • Put an adhesive sheet over the damaged part of your leather 
  • Spread the adhesive evenly so that the final appearance is firm and smooth. 

Method 5: Applying Liquid Leather On The Surface 

Now, liquid leather is something that people generally use on leather bags. However, you will find equally good results on using it over your couch. 

  • Use a mild detergent and lint-free cloth for cleaning the surface, and dry it with any lint-free cloth. 
  • Let the leather dry out completely before you apply small bits of liquid leather over the peels and cracks. 
  • Make sure to gently press the container to ensure the liquid does not spill. 
  • Use the blades of scissors or knives to spread the liquid evenly over the leather surface.  
  • Wait for some time to let the liquid dry out, and put repairing dye over it to complete the process of restoring the faux leather. 

Some of the other ways you can try are: 

  • Applying a thin coat of nail polish 
  • Applying shoe polish or permanent markers 
  • Replacing the entire section that is peeling 
  • Making a generous use of the leather paint 
  • Using a thin layer of leather glue 

How To Remove Peeling Faux Leather?

Before you repair the faux leather and deal with the damage, you will have to remove all the parts that are flaking. There are two ways of doing this – with a razor blade or your fingers and scissors. 

  • Using A Quality Razor Blade 

So, you can use a quality razor blade for peeling, scraping, and cutting away all the peeling parts of the faux leather from the sofa or chair. You will find 5-packs of good razors at any hardware store. Make sure to be very careful around these blades and do not cut towards yourself. 

  • Using Your Fingers And Scissors 

The other alternative is to gently hold the peeled bit between your fingers and snip it with your scissors. Keep in mind that you aren’t supposed to pull on the flaky parts because that will only widen the cracks and make the sofa peel some more. 

The key is to not slice off any more than necessary in both the cases. You need to remove only the parts that are flaking and loose. 

Does Real Leather Peel? 

Real leather doesn’t peel. If you take good care of it, quality leather will last you for the longest time and stay beautiful and elegant for years. It certainly won’t get damaged within six months! However, different leathers are made differently. While some are so good that they are handed down from one generation to another, others start peeling after a couple of uses. 

Original leather comes from animal hide, which needs proper maintenance and moisturization regularly to remain durable and elastic. On the other hand, poor quality leather gets dry, develops cracks, and starts peeling. 

Does Top Grain Leather Peel? 

If you keep top grain leather under proper care and maintenance, it will never peel. A genuine leather or top grain leather couch does not peel in most cases. And it definitely does not start cracking within the warranty period. This is something that can only take place when the process of tanning was subpar or it is simply not leather.  

The only way to prevent such an occurrence is to do your research before investing in a new leather couch. Make sure you buy something from a well-reputed brand and don’t choose a product solely because it’s inexpensive. 

Wrapping up 

Understandably, it feels pretty bad to watch your favorite leather couch peel and flake to become anything but a beautiful sight. However, you will not have to worry about it anymore because you now know multiple ways to address the situation. So, go ahead and try the given tips to fix your couch. 



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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