Our Guide To Fixing A Cracked Leather Bag
If your favourite leather bag for travelling has started to crack and fade, you might be wondering how to fix your leather bag or do you have to toss it away.
Leather cracks are inevitable in bags and will appear over time, to fix cracks you will need to use moisturiser, high-quality leather filler and some super-fine sandpaper.
In our guide below, we will discuss in more depth why leather bags crack, methods for fixing cracked leather and how to maintain your leather bag to prevent cracks from forming in the future.
Why Do Leather Bags Crack?
To understand how to fix cracked leather, we first need to know why the structure of leather cracks to begin with.
Most types of leather crack due to lack of moisture, this is because leather fibers are tightly woven near the top of the material, without leather conditioners and the leather being left in direct sunlight, the bags can start to crack.
A piece of leather is made out of the skin of animals which would usually be kept moist from the natural oils of animals. Instead of this water and oil, the moisture is kept by tanning agents instead.
There are different methods of tanning leather to make it moist, vegetable tanning tends to be the best for continuous moisture.
Can I Get Rid Of Leather Cracks?
If your favourite leather bag has started to develop cracks then you might be wondering if you can erase leather cracks on your material. Unfortunately, you will never actually be able to get rid of cracks in your leather bag, but you can use a conditioner to fill and hide cracks.
The steps to hiding the cracks in your leather bag will be different according to if your bag has light or heavy leather cracks.
How To Fix Light Leather Cracks
If your leather bag has light surface cracks from the fibres rubbing together, you simply need a good leather conditioning agent in order to hide the cracks in the material.
We’ve listed some steps for fixing light leather cracks in your bag down below.
What You Need
- Soft dry cloth.
- Strong leather conditioner.
Steps To Fix Light Leather Cracks
- Clean – First of all take your soap and put it on a cracked piece of the leather to test its working. Using a cloth, take off any debris and use your toothbrush to get into the cracks with the soap.
- Condition – Next take your conditioner and test it to see if it’s working, use your sponge to make sure it reaches the cracks, keep doing this till it makes the light crack harder to see. Wipe the conditioner off and let the cracks dry.
- Repeat the steps – It might take a few times to repeat this process in order to get rid of your cracks in the leather till you can’t see them anymore. Avoid over-conditioning leather otherwise, it can make it waxy, apply conditioner once a month to keep the leather in good condition.
How To Fix Deep Leather Cracks
If your leather bag has some very deep cracks from direct heat or lack of care, you might still be able to remedy your leather items with some steps we will list below.
What You Need
- Mild soap.
- Leather cleaner.
- 600-grit super-fine sandpaper.
- Leather sealer/filler.
- Palette knife.
Steps To Fix Deep Leather Cracks
- First of all, take your mild soap or leather cleaner and test it on a small patch of the leather to make sure it’s okay. Once you know the leather cleaner is safe you can clean the whole leather with soap.
- Now thoroughly dry your sofa with a cloth till all the moisture has been wiped off otherwise it can interfere with the sanding process.
- Take your 600-grit sandpaper and apply very gentle pressure to the leather, taking care not to scratch or mark the surface with the gritty sandpaper, avoid using harsher sandpapers to prevent scratching.
- Use a cloth to wipe off any debris or dust then take your palette knife and spread the leather crack filler over the damaged areas. Take off any excess filler with the side of the knife.
- Allow the leather to dry in an airy room away from harsh sunlight, you might have to fill cracks with leather filler again if parts have shrunk. Make sure you give the leather enough drying time and buff with a clean microfiber cloth.
What You Need
- A leather cleaning product.
- Dry microfiber cloth.
- Leather dye.
- Clean sponge.
- Flat knife.
- Leather filler.
- Leather sealer.
- Hair dryer.
- Colour applicator pad.
Steps To Fix
- Use the steps from above if you are using filler then once dried go to step 2 and use your 600 grit sandpaper to smooth out the cracks so you can prepare to put the dye on top. Always sand in the direction of the grain that the leather is going.
- Next, take your leather dye, this should match the colour of your leather. Use your applicator to apply and blend the dye to the cracks in the leather making sure they are all covered.
- Using a hair dryer, dry the cracks for around 2 minutes to help it blend, you might need to repeat this step with dye a few times in order to get the colour you need.
- Last of all, take your leather sealer to protect and condition the cracks, spray it onto a cloth and rub on the cracks, repeat a few times then cure with a hair dryer, this will help to keep it safe from future damage.
How To Maintain Your Leather Bag
Leather bags don’t come cheap and neither do leather items, to stop them from getting cracks we would suggest maintaining them well to avoid cracks forming.
We’ve listed some essential tips for taking care of your piece of leather below.
- Avoid packing too much into your bag – Try not to pack too much into your leather bag, over stuffing it can change the shape of your leather bag and making it too heavy can cause strain on the handles.
- Store toiletries in their bag – Avoid storing toiletries in your bag, these can ruin precious leather items in a matter of minutes. Hairspray, hair gel, foundation or even deodorant can cause permanent damage to your natural materials leather if you’re not careful.
- Try to keep it dry – Water can ruin any robust leather type and cause the bag material to swell. If you get any rain on your leather bag make sure you dry it quickly as you can with some paper towels then allow it to air dry, leftover moisture can leave stains.
- Make sure your hands stay clean – Oil can attract dirt and change the colour of your leather bag over time. Oil can also get on your hands and the leather can absorb the oil over time so try to avoid touching your bag with dirty hands.
How To Clean Your Bag
- Use a leather cleaner – Find a speciality leather cleaner for your bag and use it to clean your bag with a soft cloth and allow it to sit for a few minutes so it can be absorbed. Never use an alcoholic cleaner to clean your bag otherwise it can damage it.
- Try a protective spray – Protective sprays can help to keep your bag safe from all weather types including rain. If you go out often with your bag it might be worth investing in one.
- Use a leather conditioner – Conditioning can help keep leather moist and stop it from cracking and becoming dry, we suggest conditioning your bag at least once or twice a year.
- Treat stains – Stains should be treated as soon as possible on your bag when you drop anything on it. A good hack is to put white chalk on the stain then brush it off.
How To Store Leather Bags
- Stuff the bag – Leather bags can lose their shapes overtime, if you are planning to store yours for a long period then make sure you stuff it with some tissue or bubble wrap to keep it in the shape you want.
- Let it have air – Don’t store your leather bag in an airtight bag, instead keep it in an open place with some air flow to avoid it trapping moisture.
- Keep the chains wrapped – Any chains or meals should be wrapped when storing your beautiful leather items, otherwise, if the metal is left on the bag it can make an imprint.
- Make sure it stays dry – Storing your leather bag wet can cause it to grow mold or mildew over time, therefore make sure it stays dry before wrapping it up, wipe with a dry cloth and allow the bag to air dry if it gets wet.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fixing Cracked Leather Bags
Why should I not get my leather bag wet?
Getting your leather bag wet can cause it to swell and cause major damage to your bag over time wearing it down. It can also change the colour of your leather if there is a big stain.
Can coconut oil help condition my leather?
Coconut oil is a great conditioner for leather if you’re looking for something all-natural. Simply rub into the leather with a dry cloth and buff, don’t apply too much oil otherwise it can make the animal skin sticky with excess moisture.
How do I repair torn leather?
To repair torn leather and deep cracks you will need some tweezers, fabric and leather glue. You will simply need to cut out some fabric and then put it under the tear in the fabric.
How many coats of dye does it take to cover cracked leather?
To help hide cracked leather, it will take around 2-3 coats of dye to help hide the crack, make sure you blend it well so that it can match the rest of the leather and apply with a fine-bristled brush to help it blend.
Does sunlight damage leather?
Yes, sunlight applies direct heat to leather which can make the leather dry and cause deep cracks. Always try to store your leather bag in a dark dry place away from sunlight, the beauty of leather is that you can always dye it with a coat of leather dye.
Overall, you can fix cracked leather bags but you will never be able to remove the crack. Light cracks in leather bags can be covered and repaired with some soap and conditioner for leather care.
For deep cracks in the leather, we would suggest using mild soap with water, conditioner and quality leather filler spread on with a palette knife, you might then have to use some leather dye and a bottle of leather sealer to help hide and blend the cracks.