How to Soften a Leather Backpack?

How to Soften a Leather Backpack

There are few things as exciting as getting a brand-new leather backpack that you’ve been eying for months – the smell, touch, and feel will all bring a smile to your face. You’ll want to start showing off your new bag right away. However, it may be a little bit stiffer than you’d like, and we assume you are wondering how to soften a leather backpack.

Leather will soften over time and daily use, but there are ways that you can treat your leather to soften it at home safely. Afterward, your leather backpack will feel just as soft, pliable, and luxurious as it did in the store.

Depending on what you have on hand at home, there are a few different methods you can use to soften your leather backpack. Let’s take a look at the four most popular ways to soften a leather backpack.

[Good read: Can you wash a leather backpack?]


Water is likely the most abundant resource that you have at home, but it can be tricky to use to soften leather, so you will want to use it sparingly. When leather becomes completely saturated with water, it can and will get damaged. Still, you can dampen your leather backpack to make it softer. Simply spray it to wet the surface of your leather backpack. Remove any excess that has pooled on the surface with a soft cloth.

Once dry, you’ll want to follow up with a leather conditioner to make sure that your leather backpack does not start to crack. Note that this method will not work to soften leather if your backpack has been treated to become waterproof or is made of a low-quality bonded leather.

Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioner is made specifically to treat your leather, protecting it from daily wear and tear, including adding more stain and water resistance to your leather. In addition to these benefits, it can also help to soften your backpack.

To use, simply dab it on with a cotton ball or soft cloth. Apply it sparingly – you don’t want to soak the leather – and rub it in in circular motions across the entire surface, avoiding any non-leather surfaces on your backpack, including clasps and zippers. This will help to speed up the natural softening process while protecting your backpack.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a versatile product, especially in skincare and makeup removal. It can also be used to soften leather, though it may slightly darken your backpack. You will want to test on a small, hidden area before applying it to your entire backpack to ensure it doesn’t change your backpack’s appearance too much.

Let your backpack sit in the sun for a few minutes, up to 10 minutes. This will help warm the bag and naturally open its porous surface. Apply a thin layer to the surface of your backpack and rub it in. After it is dry, buff off any excess product.

[Relevant: How long does it take for leather to dry?]

Petroleum Jelly and Rubbing Alcohol

Using petroleum jelly and rubbing alcohol will give you similar results as coconut oil, but it will not provide the same darkening effects on your leather backpack.

Dampen a soft cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and start to gently apply to your leather backpack. Use small, circular motions until the entire surface is covered. Next, use your fingers to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your bag. Wipe off any excess and let it dry.


It is of crucial importance to note that the abovementioned methods are to be used with higher quality leathers such as full-grain or top-grain. These leathers tend to be a little stiffer at the beginning, although that is not a rule. There are methods to make these types of leather softer from the beginning, however that is not the case most of the time. Only natural and high-quality leather is capable of absorbing some liquids and not get ruined instantly, therefore, please keep that in mind before your undertake these steps.

Our wide collections of leather backpacks for men and women contain primarily full-grain leather backpacks. Therefore, if you find one of them too stiff and hard, you can go ahead and try to soften them somewhat.

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