Restore the Beauty of Your Vintage Leather Suitcase with These Simple Tips!

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The smell of a well-worn leather jacket or the feel of a vintage leather suitcase can quickly fade away when it begins to dry out and crack. It doesn't have to be this way. With some patience and the right materials, restoring dried out leather is possible! In this article you will learn how to restore your favourite items so they look as good as new again - and ensure that warm feeling of belonging stays alive for years to come.

Leather has been around since ancient times; its durability and ability to age gracefully makes it stand the test of time. Unfortunately, without regular care and maintenance, leather can begin to show signs of wear much sooner than expected. As the material dries out due to contact with air or water, cracks may begin to form on its surface which can lead to further damage if left untreated. Fortunately, there are steps one can take in order to revive their beloved leather goods before any permanent harm is done.

From cleaning products to conditioning creams, many tools exist that make restoring dried out leather an achievable task for anyone willing to put in the work. By following a few simple instructions, you too can bring back life into those pieces that spark memories from days gone by - ensuring your attachment remains strong for years ahead!

Identifying The Problem

Back in the days of leather-bound books and chesterfield sofas, it was common to find furniture made from leather. Alas, over time this precious material can become cracked and brittle; an unmistakable sign that restoration is necessary.

Thankfully there are a few easy steps you can take to restore your beloved leather possessions. The first step is identifying the problem: if the surface of your leather is dry or stiff then it's likely that its natural oils have been depleted by exposure to sunlight, heat and general wear and tear. Other signs include cracking, peeling and fading – all evidence that the texture has changed significantly due to age.

By determining what state your piece of leather is in now, you'll be well on your way to restoring it to its former glory!

Preparation To Restore The Leather

As the adage goes, 'failing to prepare is preparing to fail'. When it comes to restoring dried-out leather, preparation is key. It's important to ensure you have all of the right materials and tools ready before starting the process in order to guarantee a successful outcome.

To begin with, use a soft cloth or brush to remove any dust or dirt from the surface of the leather item. Doing this helps make sure that no residue gets stuck into your leather while applying conditioner later on. If there are any stains present, consider using an appropriate cleaner depending on what type of stain has been left behind – whether ink, oil or food related etc., as some cleaners can damage more delicate types of leather if used incorrectly. At Moody Mabel we are particularly fond of saddle soap (bar or spray), which both cleans and begins the process of nourishing the leather.

Next up, test out whatever conditioner you're planning to use by firstly putting a small amount onto an inconspicuous area; this allows you to see how well it works without risking spoiling your entire piece. After giving it time for the conditioner to be absorbed properly, check if there has been any discolouration caused – if so then try another brand instead. Now that we've got everything prepared for reviving our beloved leather items back to their former's time to start thinking about choosing the right kind of conditioner!

Choosing The Right Leather Conditioner

The art of restoring dried-out leather is a thrilling and rewarding experience - one that’s sure to leave you with an item of beauty. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, though, there are certain important steps you must take in order for your project to be successful.

Choosing the right leather conditioner is essential:  The type of product depends on the material from which the leather was made and its level of wear, for example, wax-based products work best for lightly used pieces while oil-based ones can bring life back into older, worn items. Additionally, synthetic materials require specialised conditioning agents with specific formulas tailored for their particular needs.

It's also helpful to research what other users have said about these treatments before making a purchase decision; this way, you can make sure that you're getting something that will truly do justice to your item! At Moody Moody Mabel we rather like a product called Dr Sheratons, which works well for us on vintage leather briefcases and old leather suitcases.

Always be aware that the conditioner might slightly darken the tone of the leather to which it is applied.

Applying The Leather Conditioner

Now that you've chosen the right leather conditioner, it's time to get to work. Applying the conditioner correctly is essential for restoring your dried out leather and maintaining its health in the long run.

First off, make sure you have a clean cloth or sponge handy – this will help you evenly spread the conditioner onto the leather surface without leaving any streaks behind. Start by applying a small amount of the product onto one area at a time, then rub it into the material using circular motions until it’s completely absorbed. Work on each section until all areas of your item are sufficiently treated with conditioner - but don't apply too much! You should also avoid getting water involved while conditioning because that can distort the leather fibres.

Once you're done rubbing in the conditioner, give yourself a pat on the back – you just took one big step towards preserving and protecting your favourite piece of leather! If the leather has been cracked, it might take several applications, polish gently with a soft cloth in between.

Caring For The Leather Afterwards

After reviving a dried out leather item, it's time to show it some love and attention. Caring for your newly hydrated leather is like nursing a baby back to health - you need to be gentle but persistent! Picture yourself as the guardian of this precious material; with the right TLC, it will reward you with years of faithful service.

To ensure that your beloved leather remains resilient against wear and tear, use natural products such as beeswax or lanolin-based conditioners whenever possible. Apply them in circular motions with a soft cloth, making sure not to saturate the surface too heavily. Soon enough, you'll find its texture becoming softer and more supple over time. Additionally, make sure to store any unused items away from direct sunlight and high temperatures; these can cause deterioration just as quickly as they brought life back into the product!

With patience and proper maintenance, you will be able to keep your treasured possession in pristine condition for many moons to come. So don't let those worries weigh you down; look after your leather good friend today so that you two can enjoy each other's company tomorrow!


Despite the challenge of restoring dried out leather, it is possible to do so with some patience and dedication. Even though we often think about leather as a timeless material that will never wear out or need repair, this unfortunately isn’t always the case. But if you follow all the steps outlined in this blog – from identifying the problem, preparing for restoration, choosing the right conditioner and applying it properly – then your worn-out leather can be brought back to life!

This may seem ironic given how hard people work to prevent their leather items from becoming damaged in the first place; however there are occasions when repairs become necessary. It’s important not to give up hope just because something appears beyond saving; with a bit of effort and attention, even severely dry leather can be restored. After following these instructions carefully, you should find yourself with renewed leather goods that look almost brand new once again!

Don't forget that you can see our Vintage Leather Suitcases and Briefcases collection, right here!

1 comment

  • Janine.

    Thanks for all the useful tips! I found an amazing, ancient leather suitcase – much the worse for wear – in a charity shop and purchased it yesterday. I shall be taking your advice on its restoration.

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