how to fix peeling leather bag

How to Fix a Peeling Leather Bag

Leather bags are known for their impeccable stylish appearance and timelessness. A well-maintained leather bag can be passed down from generation to generation since it is highly durable if cleaned and conditioned regularly.

However, you must be careful regarding its maintenance and avoid keeping your leather bag in an extremely hot, cold, or low-humidity environment. When good-quality leather bags aren’t maintained over time, they can get brittle and begin peeling.

We have created this extensive guide to share with you the best methods to fix a peeling leather bag. You’ll learn how to fix a peeling inner lining, the edges, and even the cracked and peeling exteriors of leather bags.

Here’s a quick summary:

Before we get into the details, let’s explore some of the most common reasons why leather bags can begin to peel and also discuss several ways how you can prevent this from happening.

Common Reasons Why Leather Bags Peel

Leather bags can peel due to a variety of reasons. We have listed some of the most common ones below to help you further understand them.

Use of Improper Cleaning Solutions & Products

Cleaning products that contain alcohol or other types of abrasive chemicals can cause the leather to begin peeling. Rubbing alcohol is often used as a cleaning agent for leather, but many people do not know that it can degrade the appearance of their supple leather bag over time if it’s overused.

This is why we recommend only using cleaning and conditioning products that contain leather-friendly ingredients. These ingredients are added to clean leather effectively without causing damage and nourish the natural material for long-term use.

Inferior Quality Leather

If your leather bag is made of bonded, synthetic, or low-grade leather, it will likely begin to peel quickly after you start using it. Since bonded leather is a mix of synthetic and genuine leather, it is a cost-efficient option that lacks the flexibility and softness that is found in high-grade leather.

It also unnaturally bonds the different scraps of leather, reducing its inherent durability as compared to natural leather. With authentic, high-quality leather products, the chance of peeling is much lower, since the material is highly durable and is manufactured to last for years.

Lack Of Care & Maintenance

People who own a luxury leather bag should clean and condition it regularly to prevent any chance of cracking or peeling. Leather loses its natural oils over time that keep it supple and flexible.

If you do not apply leather-friendly conditioners from time to time, they will become brittle and dry out – which can lead to peeling and cracking.

This is is why we recommend conditioning your leather bag every couple of months if you use it regularly. This can prevent future damage and keep your bag looking shiny and soft for a long time.

Improper Storage of Bag

Leather is a highly porous material that must be stored properly to ensure that it retains its beautiful appearance and supple feel. When you store your leather bag in an entirely closed-off area, the low-humidity conditions can cause the leather bag to dry out and begin to peel.

Leather bags should be stored in a dust bag inside a closet or shelf that gets regularly ventilated, to ensure fresh air can get in contact with the material.

You should also take note that leather bags should be stored in a shaded area with no direct sunlight or heat. Sunlight and heat can dry out leather and take away the essential oils present in it, causing the material to crack or begin peeling.

If you would like to find out more, feel free to check out our detailed guide on how to store leather bags safely.

How to Fix a Peeling Inner Lining Of a Leather Bag

An inner lining keeps the leather of a bag protected against accidental spills or stains from the inside. A bag with an inner lining made of leather will likely start peeling if it isn’t cared for or stored appropriately.

Some of the common reasons why leather linings begin to peel are due to low moisture conditions or heat. Sometimes the lining may also become sticky, leaving a residue on the bag’s contents.

To help you protect your bag’s inner lining from further peeling and damage, we’ll share the following methods for your reference.

Option 1: Talcum Powder or Cornstarch

Sprinkling talcum powder or cornstarch in a sticky and peeling bag can help get rid of the sticky residue as it soaks up all of it. To do this, apply a thin layer of baby powder, talcum powder, or cornstarch to your bag’s leather lining. 

Leave it be for a minute or two, and then clean the inside with a cotton ball or soft cloth. Use another cloth for dusting away the excess, and you will notice all stickiness has been removed.

Aside from that, using talcum powder or cornstarch to remedy a peeling bag is only a temporary fix since you will need to reapply the powder every time you notice more stickiness.

Moreover, if you store items in this leather bag, there is a high chance that you might get powder on them as you carry the bag around.

Option 2: Nail Polish Remover

If the leather lining of your bag has peeled beyond repair, you can remove its entire surface with a nail polish remover. A nail polish remover contains acetone that can force leather to peel and help you take away the protective layer of the lining. 

To do this, saturate cotton balls in nail polish remover and leave them inside your leather bag. Rub out the surface of your leather lining after some time to completely get rid of the peeling layer. You may need to scrub the lining with a soft toothbrush for a clean finish.

We do not recommend this option if you want to store liquids, creams, or lotions in your leather bag. This is because any accidental spills can damage the outer leather material and render your bag unfit for use.

Take extra care and avoid applying any nail polish remover onto the main body of the bag. Doing so will cause damage to your leather bag in the long term due to the destructive effect acetone can have on leather.

Option 3: Leather, Fabric & Vinyl Spray

Another method to recover the appearance of your bag’s leather lining is to use off-the-shelf products that contain leather-friendly ingredients. You can apply these sprays or liquid products to prevent further peeling of the leather lining.

They provide adhesion and cover the leather completely for a durable finish. For this option, you need to find a reliable vinyl, leather, or fabric spray with a color that matches your bag’s lining.

Apply the product on the leather, ensuring to stay away from the zipper, and prop open the bag until it is completely dry.

Option 4: Bring it to a Repair Shop

If you are not confident about fixing your peeling leather bag with DIY methods, you can bring it back to the original manufacturer or a leather repair shop to have it repaired professionally.

Manufacturers typically offer repairs for peeling leather bags. However, take note that luxury brands tend to charge overcharge for this type of service. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to compromise on the quality of the repair and want a long-term fix, we highly recommend this solution.

How to the Fix Peeling Edges of Leather Bags

The edges, attached straps, and the lining near the zipper of leather bags are other areas vulnerable to peeling due to wear, heat, and humidity. Let’s explore some of the fixes below.

Option 1: Use an Off-the-Shelf Leather Coating Solution

For the peeling edges of a leather bag, we recommend using a leather coating solution for quality repairs. It can mend minor damages easily and mask the damage relatively effectively.

Apply a leather-friendly coating solution to your leather using a dabber to the damaged peeling edges. You may have to apply multiple coats of the solution to seal the peeling leather entirely and prevent any further damage.

Option 2: Use a Leather Tape

If the peeling on your leather bag is too extensive to be covered by a coating solution, we recommend using leather tape for the job. A leather repair tape can be used to fix peeling thin handles of leather bags and has a strong adhesive that ensures durability.

Pick a tape in the color that matches the area to be repaired (typically black or dark brown). We recommend using a transparent version if you cannot find the best shade fit.

To ensure proper adhesion, clean the peeling area to remove dust and grime, and ensure the leather is not wet. Cut the tape according to the size of the peeling area and peel off the backing paper to apply it neatly to the damaged spot.

Make sure the tape is stretchable and can move with the leather surface as you use it. This will make the repair seem natural and unnoticeable.

How To Fix Deep Cracks On Leather Bags

Cracks and scratches on leather can add to the character of a leather bag. However, if these signs of damage are too severe, they can become distracting and take away from the original beauty of your leather bag.

The things you will need to repair a cracked or scratched leather bag are:

  • Toothpick
  • Damp clean cloth
  • Leather glue
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather cleaner

Step 1: Clean Your Leather Bag

The first step to repairing the cracks in your leather bag is to clean it properly using a leather cleaner. A dedicated leather cleaning product will get rid of grime, dust, dirt, and oil from your leather bag and soften the damaged areas.

We recommend cleaning the entire bag multiple times so that all superficial marks and cracks can be removed easily.

Step 2: Apply Glue in the Gap of the Crack

For deeper cracks, you will need to bend the leather bag gently to expose them. Take a small quantity of leather glue on top of the toothpick to apply it to the crack. Allow the leather material to flatten so that any excess glue can seep out and be removed by the damp cloth.

Ensure that the adhesive does not dry on the leather surface since it will leave behind a tacky residue. Repeat the same process for other large cracks on your leather bag.

Step 3: Condition Bag

After the glue in the cracks has dried completely, apply a few coats of your preferred leather conditioner to nourish your leather bag to ensure it remains supple and flexible for a long time.

About Matthew

Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief & Writer At Leatherskill

I’m a leather enthusiast turned artisan. Apart from crafting leather products, I’m passionate about writing in-depth guides and reviews on all things leather!