How to Remove Scratches from Leather Sofas & Couches

There is nothing worse than coming home after a hard day of work and seeing your cat sitting beside your scratched leather sofa. Or your youngest child and their favourite toy, or your child and a cat. The cushions and the sides are scratched and need to be repaired. But you don’t want to call an expensive professional to fix your leather furniture for you and you look with despair and a bit of frustration as your cat stares at you, acting as if nothing is wrong.

First off, to fix your leather sofa you need to assess what kind of damage has been done to your leather furniture. There are three main kinds of scratches people deal with.

1. The most common is a minor scratch. In this kind of scratch, the leather itself has not been damaged, only the coating of the leather. These kinds of scratches are especially common in pull-over style leather furniture, which is covered in a thin wax coating. The only thing damaged in this kind of scratch is the color of the leather, so they are generally a quick fix.

2. Another kind of scratch is a deep scratch. This means that the actual leather has been cut. This can either be part way through the leather or all the way through the stuffing. This is generally a harder scratch to fix, but if you have the right materials it shouldn’t take too long.

3. The third kind of scratch is one that usually appears on the sides of leather couches, leather chairs, leather recliners, anything leather where it could get scratched. The fibers in the leather are ripped, pulled out and damaged. While it is not as immediately damaging as a deep scratch, they can lead to holes and entire sections of leather falling off.

Leather SofaFor minor scratches, oils are great at fixing these kinds of scratches. Especially plant based oils like olive oil or orange oil. Even shoe polish and baseball glove conditioner can work great. Before you start pouring oil on your leather recliner though, make sure to call the manufacturer to ensure what you are doing won’t damage your leather further; every leather couch is different.

If you find that too much of a hassle (as it probably will be), try this method on a part of your couch people can’t see easily:

You simply add the desired oil or polish to the minor scratch and let it soak for a few hours. Then you wipe it off and it should be fine. If that doesn’t work, there is another method which is similar but less time consuming. Instead of applying the oil or polish directly onto the furniture, moisten a cloth with the oil or polish and gently rubbing the cloth into the leather should remove the scratch. Keep in mind however that to get the best results, keep rubbing the scratch until the oil or polish has been absorbed by the leather. Depending on the type of leather, this could be very quickly or it could take a long time.

Minor scratches

If the scratch hasn’t gone through the entire section of your leather sofa, there is a way to fix it pretty quickly. The scratch should look like a cut, with the cut parts of leather having raised edges along the cut. Run a soft cloth in pure lanolin cream. Then rub the cloth perpendicular to the cut in a motion that would smooth the leather down. After the leather is flat again, a few more applications of lanolin may be required. But be careful with this method, as it may darken the color of the leather. If the leather is cut all the way though, you would need a leather repair kit. Now that you know how to fix most scratches on leather furniture, you can properly care for all your favourite leather furniture. Almost.

What if the scratch is deeper?

The final scratch is when the fibers of the leather have been pulled out and damaged, usually by a cat or a child with unnaturally long and sharp fingernails. You will need to clean the leather first with a leather cleaner you trust. After the leather has been cleaned, carefully cut the loose fibers off so that the surface is smoother.

After the area is a little smoother, apply leather bonder on a soft cloth and using the same techniques as above, gently rub the leather bonder into the leather. Then you want to sand down the leather by hand to further smooth the leather. Then you will need a heavy filler. Your goal with the heavy filler is to fill all scratches and gouges so that it is even with the rest of the surface of the leather.

After letting the heavy filler dry for 20-25 minutes, you will need to sand down the area again. The next step is to clean the area with an alcohol cleaner. Let the alcohol cleaner dry. Then apply the first layer of colorant onto your leather. For best results, use a sponge. Then you can use a spray colorant if you feel the need. If you do, make sure you give time between each layer to dry before applying the next layer. Finally, apply the finish of your choice in three to four layers for the best results. Presto! Your leather furniture is as good as new.

Now you are armed with the most effective way to deal with damaged leather sofas and leather furniture at home. From recliners to couches to chairs, cat scratches and kid’s toys are no longer a problem. It is possible you are reading this to find out how to fix your own furniture at home. Go on, make that leather beautiful again.