how to soften hardened leather

If you are looking for How To Soften Hardened Leather, then you are on the right page. It contains how to soften rawhide leather. Suppose you want how to soften old leather straps instead. Then this article is what you need.

When it comes to working with leather, finding a good quality leather softener is always smart. As you might know, leather can often become cracked, damaged, dried out, or otherwise weak over time. Generally, continuous wearing of that leather will create a change in how it looks. If you want to learn how to make leather softer, we have some ideas for you below to help you achieve the right kind of finish.

how to soften old leather straps

How To Soften Hardened Leather

How to soften leather the right way

how to soften rawhide leather

Alcohol + Vaseline

Apply a generous portion of rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad. Then, dab the pad on the leather surface until it is shiny.

Afterward, apply Vaseline to the surface. You can apply a few layers if you feel that leather can absorb more. Leave it to dry overnight.

Coconut Oil

Leave the leather item in the sun for 10 minutes or use a hair dryer to heat its surface.

Then, take a spoonful of coconut oil and rub it in.

Note: Coconut oil will darken the leather a shade or two.


Apply a leather care conditioner (lanolin-based product), to the leather.

If the surface is still stiff, you can apply several coats

Read about commercial care products and how properties differ below.

Mink Oil

Mink oil can be used on jackets, boots, bags, or other leather accessories.

Saturate a dry rag with the oil and apply up to three layers on the leather.

Rub the oil into the surface using circle motions. Give the oil 2 to 3 days to absorb.

Is it possible to soften new, hard leather without any special products?

If you have a hard leather material, you might wonder what you can do to make it feel softer. Many new leathers can feel stiff and breaking them can be a very uncomfortable experience. While you can use any aforementioned leather-softening product, to have a quick but temporary result, you may use heat upon use.

A tumble dryer can also help soften hard leather. Quick and easy, tumble drying leather is one of the best methods to use if you aren’t looking to buy any products to soften hard leather.

The constant spinning of the drum and heat exposure helps the leather soften in a way that’s similar to the experience of long-term wear. If you choose to use this method, don’t forget to turn any leather jacket inside-out, and if applicable, zip it closed. It’s also best to put any leather inside a washing bag for safety and protection.

When using the dryer method, keep this checklist in mind:

  • You must use medium heat; anything above or below can have a negative impact on both the leather and the dryer.
  • Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes. Keeping the product in the dryer for too long can damage the structure of the leather.
  • Don’t put wet leather in the dryer.
  • It’s recommended you apply a leather conditioner or mink oil to the product after removal from the dryer.

Buying a Commercial Softener to Loosen Dry Leather

The safest, most efficient way to soften hard leather – old or new – is to use a good quality leather conditioner. Leather conditioners work best at replacing absent lubrication needed to soften the leather surface.

The conditioner helps ensure that the leather can continue to move and blend with your body. While old leather might already be showing signs of wear and tear, leather softening conditioner will still be good to use to prevent further damage.

It’s better to buy a commercial softener as a special product for professional leather care than to take any shortcuts. It will be the ideal solution to renew and soften your leather easily. However, many leather softeners are not a one-size-fits-all cure. Some options work better on specific leather types than others.

The various methods and products that you can use will make it tough to work out just what you want to do. For example, dealing with stiff leather is different than working with old leather. Dry leather will require a different type of conditioner, as well. You have to keep in mind that not every leather softener is going to be suitable for all of your leather needs. Not only will they not soften the leather, but some can also darken the leather undesirably.

How to Choose a Leather Conditioner

One ingredient to look for in many conditioners or creams is lanolin.

Many people who work with leather believe that spray conditioners are the worst option because they are made of cheaper oils and are cut with water.

If you have some time and like making homemade products, try preparing your own conditioner by heating and mixing healthy natural oils with natural beeswax. This is the only way to be sure exactly what is in the blend. You should also take note that wax-based conditioner applies more evenly than oil and doesn’t darken the leather as much.

But be careful with products that contain too much wax because they will not penetrate the leather and can create a waterproof top that doesn’t allow leather to breathe.

If you are purchasing leather products from a craftsman, it never hurts to ask their take on which conditioners work best on their products. You can also follow reviews left by customers to see what may work best for your specific need.

These are the leather conditioners we suggest on olpr. leather products, which are the highest-rated leather-care products on our website:

olpr.’s Leather Care Products

Leather Waterproof/Repair Cream by olpr.

photo of leather conditioner/cream

$9.90Add to Cart

Leather Spot Cleaner by olpr.

photo of leather cleaner

$9.90Add to Cart

Leather Dressing 3 in 1 by olpr.

photo of leather dressing

How To Cut Leather Insoles For Sandals Using Simple Tools

sveta kletina the shoemaker and tools of shoemaking , shoe last, shoemaker hammer and puncher

I love sandals, especially with the leather insoles and with the toe strap in front and I am sure you too. Do you?

If yes, you will love this post, if not, tune out right now, don’t read it, it’s not for you.

In today’s shoe making tutorial I will teach you how to how to cut leather insoles for sandals with basic shoemaking tools. This will be super useful for your shoemaking craft because..

You will be able to implement this shoemaking trick right away in making your sandals.

This trick is about making the accurate cut inside of the leather insoles for the toe loop without any special shoemaking tools.

leather insole

Usually to make this cut, an opening for the toe loops in sandals with leather insoles, you need to have a special shoemaking cutter. 

Because I know how it is difficult to find appropriate shoemaking tools, in all my courses I teach how to make shoes professionally without special shoemaking tools.

So this super useful shoemaking trick I took from my “Unisex sandal course” where I teach a full process of making sandals.

Right now you can learn this trick in the video below  and apply it today in your shoemaking work.

Obviously, after this shoe making tutorial you will have many questions 

about  leather that I used,

how to find right placement on the insoles for the cut

and maybe you will have many other different questions, so don’t hold back and ask me in the comments below the post.

If your questions will be relevant, I will answer for sure!

So here are my answers for your possible questions:

1. For the leather insoles I use shoulders with thickness of 2.5-3mm.


Sometimes if I can’t find good vegetable leather, the shoulders part, I use soles bends.  

It’s thicker leather and harder, but you can skive the edge, for example, and mold it on the shoe last to create desirable shape that repeat the last’s bottom shape!

2. To find the placement to make a cut you should :

-Attach your leather insoles to the last’s bottom with masking tape. Don’t use nails, you don’t holes on your beautiful leather insoles, right?

– The sandals lasts usually have split in toe area to make a toe loop. So just mark with the awl the line from the beginning of this split  and continue it a little bit more.

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