Select Page

Fixing Leather Scratches on Your Recliner

Jan 12, 2018

Most homeowners have leather furniture that they cherish, not only due to its durability but also its aesthetics. Good quality leather furniture can withstand at least a quarter century of use, and that’s why most leather furniture is usually passed off as family heirlooms. Unfortunately, that Italian leather ottoman and your baby or furbabies may not gel. All these small creatures will tend to go for your most favorite pieces with the ferocity of a wolf and the innocence of a lamb. Felines, in particular, are audacious enough to turn your cherished leather furniture into scratching posts. Scruffy the dog may also have a go at your beautiful leather recliner, while innocently digging for his lost tennis ball caught at the bottom of your leather sofa. Babies, on the other hand, have little hands that yield weapons that can cause unimaginable horror on leather furniture like scissors and pens.

If you are thrifty like we all are, most of the damage on your leather recliners can be fixed at home without the need of a professional leather upholsterer. Here are a few simple steps you can follow when fixing your leather furniture.

Assess the level of damage done, as not all scratches are created equal;

  1. Minor scratches on your brand new ivory leather recliner are unsightly but only damage the outer coating of the leather. These are mostly easy to fix as just the color of the leather is affected.
  2. Deep scratches imply that the leather itself has been cut, and you will be able to view fibers around the cut or worse a tiny bit of stuffing. But these can also be fixed at home, albeit not as easy a minor scratch.
  3. When the leather fibers are entirely ripped and damaged or cut through you will need the help of a professional upholsterer as this might require a patch.

How to fix minor scratches

Items needed

  • Cotton swab applicator
  • Clean cloth
  • An oil like olive, orange, baby, saddle oil, Vaseline or lanolin cream


  1. Clean off the area thoroughly
  2. test the effects of the oil on an inconspicuous area of the seat first to check for any adverse effects like discoloration and wait for 15 minutes
  3. If the test shows no adverse effects of the oil, proceed to apply and rub the oil onto the scratch using your cotton applicator in a circular motion. Let the oil sit for an hour.
  4. Buff the area with a clean cloth.
  5. Repeat the motion if the scratch is still visible.

How to disguise minor scratches with shoe polish


  1. Clean off the area thoroughly
  2. test the effects of the polish on an inconspicuous area of the seat first to check for any adverse effects like discoloration and wait for 15 minutes
  3. if the test shows no harmful effects of the polish, proceed to apply and rub the correct color of shoe polish onto the scratch using your cotton applicator and rub it in hard with the cloth
  4. Buff the area thoroughly
  5. Repeat the motion if the scratch is still visible, or color too light.

How to repair deeper scratches

Items needed

  • Clean cloths or sponges
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sandpaper 1200 grit
  • Scissors
  • Leather filler
  • spatula
  • Right shade of colorant
  • Leather lacquer
  • Leather finish


  1. Use rubbing alcohol to clean off the area for any dirt or debris deposited onto the scratch
  2. Using the pair of scissors carefully trim off all loose fibers. You can alternatively use the sandpaper to sand down them down to a smooth finish
  3. Remove all sandpaper and fiber residue and apply the leather filler using a spatula.
  4. Leave it to dry for half an hour but if need be, add extra layers of the filler to cover the scratch sufficiently
  5. Sand the filler down to a smooth and level finish
  6. Wipe off all residue of the filler and sandpaper and let it dry
  7. Dab the right colorant for your seat, all over the filler. If you are unsure of the right color, contact the manufacturer of the seat or your local leather goods store.
  8. Apply a few layers of the colorant to ensure that the filler blends in with the leather.
  9. Use a clean cloth to apply the sealant to prevent color rub off or fading. Try 3 or 4 layers for maximum effect.
  10. Apply the leather finish to protect the layers below and give it a good shine, using a clean cloth or sponge.

All these fixes might not undo the damage done on your favorite leather furniture, but it will make them look less unsightly and ensure that you do not have to fork large amounts of money for repairs or new furniture.

Follow Us

  • Join Our Awesome Newsletter Today!

    Thank you for subscribing.

    Something went wrong.