How to Distress a Leather Jacket

Updated February 21, 2017

Everyone loves the look, feel and smell of leather. A leather jacket that has been worn for years has a comfortable look to it. It is now a trend to buy a leather jacket that already looks "worn in." If you have a leather jacket and you would like to personalise its "worn in" look, you can do what is called "distressing." Distressing leather is a quick way to give it the appearance of being worn for some time. There is a very simple method that you can use at home to achieve this look.

Take your empty spray bottle and fill it with the rubbing alcohol. Saturate the area that you will be distressing with the alcohol.

Using the wire brush, rough up the wet area. Start slowly and see how much distressing you need to do. You can always distress more, but you cannot go back and repair the worn area. The wire brush loosens the leather and makes it easier for sanding.

If you desire a smoother distressed look, take your sandpaper and rub it over the area. Again, start slow and keep checking your progress. Remember the area will be lighter in colour once it is dry.

Continue repeating this process on the jacket until you have distressed all the areas that you desire.

Once you have finished distressing, take the second spray bottle and fill with water. Spray over the treated area to get the rubbing alcohol off and wipe with a clean rag.


For a rougher look use a medium to heavy grit sand paper. For a smoother look, finish off the sanded area with a fine grit.

Things You'll Need

  • Two spray bottles
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sand paper
  • Wire brush
  • Water
  • Rag
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."