Is Leather Waterproof?

Is Leather Waterproof

Leather is a great, versatile material used to make any number of products, but is leather waterproof? Actually no, it’s not waterproof. This is because it is very porous, making it permeable to water. However, just because leather is not naturally waterproof does not mean that it can’t be treated to become water-resistant.

Let’s cover the differences between waterproof and water-resistant, and then see what can we do to better protect our leather bags.

Waterproof vs. Water Resistance

Often, the terms waterproof and water-resistance are thrown around interchangeably. However, there is actually a difference.  Things that are waterproof have water resistance, but things that are water-resistant are not waterproof.

Waterproof means that a material is impenetrable to water. Think about hard plastic in a rainstorm – unless there is a crack or the lid is off, that is completely waterproof. Some material is waterproof, like raincoats, but if they are left in water too long, eventually they will still soak through, no matter how waterproof the material may be.

Water-resistant means that a material has been treated to resist water. It should be able to resist water penetration to a certain degree, but it should not be repeatedly exposed to it to prevent damage. Leather will often be treated to be water-resistant. It can withstand small amounts of water just as long as it is dried, cleaned, and treated following exposure.

What Happens to Wet Leather?

Leather is water-resistant, but it will get wet if repeatedly exposed. A few drops on a storm will not harm your leather but pouring a glass of water on it will. Leather that is wet and dries can become stiff and hard over time, losing the pliable, smooth, and supple texture that it is known for. Additionally, your leather could even start to rot if left damp for too long.

If your leather gets wet, it is essential for you to dry it as quickly as possible. You might want to read this article to learn how to correctly dry different leather types. This might save you from making an irreparable mistake.

You may also want to treat it with a leather conditioner that will help moisturize the leather and help it retain its elasticity.

How Can I Make My Leather Weather Resistant?

There are a few different ways that you can treat your leather to make it more weather resistant. Two of the most popular treatments are the waxing method and the conditioning method.


  1. Clean your leather using a leather cleaner or dish soap and a small amount of water. Do not soak the leather and let it dry.
  2. Apply a small amount of wax to a rag and start to apply it to the leather in circular motions. Repeat until the entire surface is treated.
  3. Once it is completely dried, after about 30 to 60 minutes, buff off the excess.


  1. Wet the leather and apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a cloth. Apply the conditioner to leather in circular motions.
  2. Let it dry and buff out any excess conditioner. Because it is applied while wet, the leather conditioner will penetrate deeper into the leather, helping it absorb more product.

Before you try either method, make sure to test it on a small piece to make sure it does not damage the leather.


To sum it all up, leather is not waterproof. However, with a little knowledge it can become truly water-resistant and withstand even stronger rains.

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