The Reason Why Leather Bags Harden and How to Fix Them

Bags are indispensable because they provide convenience and security when carrying items. For this reason, people go the extra mile when choosing a bag, especially if they will use it in the long term. Different bags are available, each with unique characteristics that make them suitable for various purposes. No exception to this is leather bags.


As the name suggests, leather bags are made from leather, a durable material known for strength and water resistance. Leather bags have a classic and timeless look that never goes out of style, making them ideal for everyday use. However, the downside of using leather bags is that they tend to harden over time, which is a nuisance considering how expensive they typically are. For this reason, we will discuss the different factors that cause leather bags to harden, including:


Overexposure to Sunlight


Leather bags are susceptible to hardening when exposed to direct sunlight for too long. Sunlight causes the moisture inside the leather to evaporate, leaving it dry and brittle. This can be a problem for people who often leave their leather bags in their car or under the sun for extended periods. Additionally, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the leather's colour to fade or change, making it look dull and aged.


Excessive Moisture


Leather bags are also prone to hardening when exposed to excessive moisture. Leather is a natural material that can absorb moisture from its environment, and this can cause it to swell and harden over time. This is often an issue for people who live in humid climates or who leave their leather bags in damp environments. Excessive moisture can also cause the leather to rot, leading to unsightly stains and odours.


Wear and Tear


Leather bags can suffer from wear and tear in a variety of ways. The most common form of wear and tear is due to regular use. This can include scratches, scuffs, and discolouration caused by rubbing against other objects or due to regular handling. Sunlight and moisture can also cause leather bags to fade or become brittle and hard.


Solutions to Leather Hardening


While the hardening of a leather bag may be annoying, the good news is that there are ways to soften it again. Here are some ways:


Mink Oil


Mink oil is a natural product from the fat found under mink skins. It can help nourish and soften leather bags that have become dry and stiff by restoring lost oils, making the bag more supple. However, you must test it first on a small, inconspicuous area of the bag, as it may darken the leather slightly.


Apply a small amount of mink oil to a dry cloth, and use circular motions to massage it into the exterior of your leather bag. Ensure you cover the front, back and sides of the bag, as well as the straps. If you feel the leather is still too stiff after one application, you can use another layer to soften it, but it is best to limit it to two applications to avoid discolouration.


Leather Conditioner


Leather bags can become soft and supple if you apply a leather conditioner. Be sure to look for a conditioner made from natural and non-hazardous components, as this will ensure that it will not cause any discolouring or darkening of the leather.


Rub a small amount of leather conditioner into a dry microfiber cloth. Gently spread the conditioner over the entire surface of the leather bag, including the flaps, sides, and handles. Let the conditioner sit on the leather for a few minutes to allow it to absorb. Finish by wiping off any excess conditioner with a separate dry cloth.


If your leather bag is starting to peel, add a few more layers of conditioner. From this point onward, you must regularly apply conditioner to your leather bag to keep it looking and feeling soft and healthy.




Leather bags are an excellent investment, but even they can get damaged over time. Luckily, there are different ways to care for a leather bag, so you must follow them. This way, you can ensure your leather bag lasts for years.

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