How to Restore Wet Leather

Updated April 17, 2017

Leather may be damaged if left wet for too long. Natural leather may stretch or shrink with water damage. When leather stretches and dries, it can crack. Leather also has distinct colouring; if it gets wet, its colour and texture may change. Allowing leather to dry without aiding the process can destroy leather. Preservation, caution and immediate action can rescue wet leather from deterioration.

Press an absorbent towel onto the wet spot on the leather to soak up the liquid.

Remove any dirt or stains that may have been lifted to the leather's surface from the spill. Use a nongreasy cleaner or conditioner for this step.

Move your leather to a cool, dry area overnight. If the leather item is a boot or has a shape, put dry newspapers in the cavity of the product so that it holds that shape.

Check to see if the leather is dry. If not, allow it to dry completely. When the leather is dry, take a towel and gently wipe down the leather to remove any stains or marks.

Spray, rub, or coat your dried leather with a leather waterproofing product. Allow to dry.


Absorbent towels soak up more water than cotton or terrycloth towels. They may be better for the initial removal of water. For leather garments, lay the material as flat as possible so it retains its shape.


Allowing your leather to dry out in cool air opposed to hot air will reduce shrinkage. Do not ingest the waxes or cleaners.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Bottle of leather cleaner or conditioner
  • Leather waterproofing product
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About the Author

Daina Galante began writing professionally in 2009. Her work has been published in the book, "One Word!" and she has won contests and has been published through the Rutgers University English department. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rutgers, where she is also pursuing her Master of Education in English education.