Many people who are just beginning to get into leather products or can’t commit to buying an expensive leather jacket often opt for cheaper alternatives. Faux leather and poor quality leather like genuine or bonded leather that have a fake coating on them will crack and peel over time. This can be very unsightly and bothersome, but don’t toss it just yet, here are ways how you can fix the damage.
Do real leather jackets peel?
High-quality grain leather does not peel. They do not have a false outer coating and show true leather on its surface. The only reason that faux or cheap leather peels is when its outer layer is separate from its lower layer, and when the adhesive or outer layer degrades, this is a very common issue and can manifest itself as cracking and shedding.
Why is my leather jacket peeling?
If you have a faux or low-quality leather jacket, it may be peeling because the plastic is degrading. This is often the case when it is subjected to temperature changes, friction, and movement. If you do not condition the leather often, the outer layer can become inflexible, this can cause the outer layer to crack more easily. Friction degrades the outer layer, and temperature or strong sunlight exposure can degrade the adhesive. Frequent harsh washing methods may also contribute to this.
Can you fix leather jacket peeling?
Yes, but when we say “fix” when it comes to cheap leather and leatherettes, we mean to cover up the damage. These fixes may be identifiable if observed too closely, but they won’t be obvious or will be close to invisible if done well.
How to fix a peeling leather jacket
Most of the methods for fixing a peeling leather jacket involve ways to cover up the damage to not make it so obvious. We will never be able to restore the factory coating, but we can try to mimic it as much as possible.
Faux leather patches
Faux leather patches are a very easy way to cover up the peeled layer. However, they can leave an obvious border. It is best to use faux leather patches to repair large peeling sections.
Things you will need:
- Faux leather patch of matching color
- Contact adhesive like Barge or self-adhesive patch
- Soft cloth
- Liquid leather
- Dust and debris prevent the adhesive from sticking properly. Clean the surface of your leather jacket using alcohol and a soft cloth.
- Use the adhesive patch that matches the color of your leather jacket.
- Apply the patches carefully over the peels and cracks of your leather item.
- Make sure to remove any air pockets that might build up under the patches.
Tips and extra information:
- If you want to make it more seamless, you may use liquid leather on the edges to hide where the patch ends.
Liquid leather is great for fixing small to medium-sized flakes. It can also serve as a fix for cracks that are about to peel by sealing them back together and covering up the damage. There are many types of liquid leather and have their own application methods. We will teach you how to use a cold press kit as it is the simplest and requires the least tools.
Things you will need:
- Liquid leather kit
- Soft cloth
- Dyes (optional)
- Sacrificial plastic card (optional)
- Super easy restoration for scratch, rip, tear, burn hole, crack, peeling refinish and refurbishing
- Excellent fix for best finish that matches any color shoes, couches, office chair, belt, bag, purse
- Extra compound to patch up large areas, no heat tools, patches, paint, glue, dye, tape, putty needed
- Lay your jacket on a protected work surface. The liquid leather may cause a mess and get on other stuff.
- Clean the area with a soft cloth and alcohol. Be careful not to peel or worsen any damage.
- The liquid leather kit may already come with its own dyes. Mix the colors to match your jacket as much as possible.
- Apply the liquid leather generously to the damage. Dab and get under any lifting layers.
- Use the plastic card to remove any extra liquid leather. You may use the included scraper if your kit has one.
- Your kit may come with a patterned press to mimic leather patterns, you may press that on and leave it to dry.
- If the colors are off, you may use dyes to tweak it and make it as invisible as you can.
- You may also use shoe polish on black pieces to hide it even more.
Tips and extra information:
- Liquid leather kits also come in more advanced varieties that involve heating elements and curing the material over the missing area to create a new layer. This may be a stronger permanent solution.
- If your kit comes with its own directions that are different from this guide, we suggest you follow that instead.
This method isn’t the best, but it’s the quickest, especially on the go. It will be very obvious upon close inspection, but from afar, it will be hard to tell. You are simply coloring the base fabric or different-colored material underneath to match the outer layer and not matching its texture or material at all.
Things you will need:
- Leather markers
- Soft cloth
- Wipe the surface of your leather jacket using a soft cloth and alcohol.
- Gently remove the peeling pieces of your leather jacket.
- Use the leather marker and carefully cover up the missing areas.
- The marker dye may still be wet, use a tissue to dab off any excess on the base fabric that may stain anything it comes into contact with.
Tips and extra information:
- This method will not prevent further peeling and shedding. This is a very temporary solution, so it is best to keep the markers on you in case you need to use them again.
- For black pieces, you may use a black permanent marker as an alternative. Test it first though, as many permanent markers have a slight purple tinge to them which may make the repair more obvious.
What glue can you use on faux leather?
If you have managed to save the flaked pieces, or they’re still hanging on and you want to put them back, there are a variety of ways you can glue them back on. However, you have to choose the right type of glue to ensure they stay on. Here are a few types that we can suggest to you.
This type of glue is leather-specific and the safest to use. Leather glue is considered the most suitable of all since it has a clear finish, making it useful for many leather colors and finishes. The overall strength and stability of this type of glue work well for most leather repairs and craft projects. Nevertheless for faux leather we prefer contact cement or E6000.
This type of adhesive makes a very strong bond and is used to stick together materials permanently. Contact cement is an easy way to stick back the peeled pieces. Simply apply the contact cement to both the fallen piece and the area you’re going to stick it to. Let it dry for a few minutes and stick the piece back onto the jacket.
Contact cement is also quite flexible, which is perfect for clothing items like jackets.
- Original Formula
- Neoprene Base
- Water Proof
E6000 Craft Adhesive
E6000 might be overkill for this type of repair, but it is guaranteed to make the repair last, maybe even longer than the rest of the jacket. Use only a thin layer, as this may create a noticeable bulge. E6000 is quite flexible and waterproof, so it is very suitable for faux leather repair.
- Bonds to glass, wood, plastics, tin, metal, ceramic, cement, rubber, vinyl, leather, fabric and much...
- Dries clear, paintable
- Photo safe
How to prevent your faux leather jacket from peeling and cracking
By prevent, we mean delaying the inevitable for as long as possible. Plastics are constantly degrading as that is their nature. We want to be able to slow down this deterioration process as much as we can for your faux leather jacket to last as long as it can.
Avoid using it under direct sunlight and extreme heat
UV rays and exposure to heat are what destroy and weaken plastics very quickly. You’ll want to use it when it’s nighttime most of the time. Even if it’s cloudy, UV rays will still hit your jacket.
Extreme heat like very hot days can also weaken the plastics on the jacket. This is definitely not a piece of clothing you’ll want to bring with you on a camp or barbecue.
If you’re going to use your jacket less, you should also store it properly. Ideally, you should store it away from sunlight and heat. Having a dehumidifier in your closet would also be very helpful.
Make sure to remove any water or dirt on it before storing to avoid letting bacteria grow on your jacket as mold can also destroy your jacket.
Mineral oil or UV Protectant
If you plan to use your jacket often, you should at least give it some protection against the sun. This won’t extend the life of your jacket by an incredible amount, but it will delay that peeling and cracking process by just a little bit longer.
Mineral oil is able to provide a little bit of protection against the sun and will absorb some of those UV rays instead of letting the faux leather absorb it. Additionally, it can also make the synthetic material softer and less noisy as it provides lubrication.
If you don’t want to use mineral oil you could try a UV protectant spray specially made for protecting again the sun. Test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your jacket first.
If you want to apply mineral oil, it’s best to use gloves as it can be difficult to remove with soap. Rub a little bit together on your hands and apply over the entire jacket. Do not apply too much as this can make the surface of your jacket oily and uncomfortable to the skin.
You should reapply mineral oil once or twice a month depending on how frequently you use your jacket.
Do not ignore any of the methods above just because you applied mineral oil. Mineral oil alone will do very little to stop it from peeling if you do not make an effort to avoid direct sunlight and store it properly.
Use it less
This might be obvious, but constantly exposing synthetic leather to the elements will speed up the deterioration process of the material. It’s best to use it on special occasions or maybe just a few times a month instead of every day.
If it’s a piece of clothing you plan to use very often, then you should at least prepare to buy a replacement every few years. Faux leather isn’t made to last long. In most cases, faux leather jackets have a lifetime of about 2-3 years. Frequent use might lower than down to 1-2 years.
Buying a cheap leather jacket is one budget-friendly way to know if leather jackets are for you or not. There is no shame in buying faux or low-quality leather jackets as everyone has their own reasons. They usually start having peeling issues after about a year or two of frequent use, and you may get cracking and peeling.
Thankfully, there is a way to hide this or prevent it from further cracking. Some techniques hide it really well, but may require more effort. Some techniques are very quick, but won’t hide it as well. We hope that your leather jacket will serve you well and maybe even be able to buy a more expensive investment piece in the future.
Is PU leather more durable than real leather?
Grain leather is stronger than PU or polyurethane faux leather. However, cheaper “real” leather products like very cheap genuine leather or bonded leather may be weaker than PU leather. Plastic-based faux leathers are actually quite strong in their own right, being more resistant to scratches, water, and harsh chemicals that may damage real leather.
They are not as durable over time, however as the polyurethane coating can start to peel and degrade. Grain leather can get scratched on its surface, but that will only be cosmetic damage unless the scratch goes deep into the leather. Faux leathers are usually thin and break quite easily.
Should I bother trying to fix a faux leather jacket?
When a faux leather jacket starts to crack and peel, the entire jacket may start to do so. Fixing a synthetic leather jacket isn’t exactly fixing, but only covering up or mimicking the faux leather around the lost area. If you have to continue using your faux leather jacket, it is best to use these fixes, but note that your jacket will start to degrade as a whole, so you may have to prepare to buy another one.