Why is My Leather Sofa Peeling?

Why is My Leather Sofa Peeling?

Peeling in leather sofas is a common issue, and many people do not know how to manage this situation. 

Why is My Leather Sofa Peeling? In general, leather sofa peeling is due to cheap cleaning and polishing products that damage the top layer of the sofa. In addition, grease and sweet stain alongside other stains may peel it off. Finally, time and extreme temperature also play their role in destroying it.

A leather sofa is not hard to take care of, but some mistakes and careless behavior can lead to peeling.

Leather is one of the widely used fabrics for furniture because of its appearance, durability, and stability. 

Also, it is now a class and luxury statement when it comes to home furniture like couches, sofas, etc. 

Peeling in the leather sofa is not a sudden process, but it takes time. Once the leather starts peeling, it continues until you have to fix it or replace the leather.

It is the finishing or color that starts to come off initially, which spreads all along. 

Sometimes these ripped or scrapped peels can damage objects or the clothes of the person sitting on them.  

Synthetic leather sofa peeling

The quality of the leather determines its life; the better the quality, the better the result. 

Synthetic leather is not original leather; it contains a chemical or artificial coating, usually polyurethane, vinyl, or polyvinyl chloride. 

This coating appears to be the same as the real but is fake and less costly. 

The biggest reason for their widespread use is the cost, as they are around 50-60% less costly than the real. 

You can buy these from various places at less price, but you have to compromise on the quality. 

They began to tear and peel off with time and use as they are not long-lasting. On average, these can last for 5 to 7 years when you give them extreme care and maintenance.

On the other side, original leathers, which are 100% pure, never fade, damages, or peel off.

 However, they are high in cost, and everyone can not afford them. I always suggest that a one-time investment is better than many times expenses, so you should always go for a high-quality fabric for your furniture.

Bonded leather

Bonded leather is another low-cost fabric that is used to make sofas. Again, manufacturers decrease the quality to make it accessible for every community.

Bonded leather is not 100% synthetic, but it contains around a percentage of 10 to 25 of original leather. 

It is present on the backing or inner side in crushed and chopped form. The backing quality increases in this way and is a little more expensive than the completely fake ones. 

This sofa that is constantly suffering from pressure and stress starts peeling off after some time, approximately after 15 to 20 months.

Moisturizing can increase the longevity of these sofas. I always recommend using good softeners and conditioners on my bonded leather sofa. 

You must use a non-abrasive cloth to avoid worsening the situation. You can use coconut or olive oil as a conditioner at your convenience. It is better to understand the types and quality of leather used to make sofas.

Use of low-quality cleaning and polishing products

Cleaning products such as detergents, harsh soaps, and some cheap polishes are the wrong choices for leather. 

In addition, a thick, rough, and abrasive cloth that you use for polishing or cleaning is also damaging. 

Some cleaning agents are rich in chemicals that can fade or crack the leather. 

Moreover, Acetone can severely damage the fabric; you should always avoid this. Also, never use bleach on the leather as it will destroy it in seconds. 

You must use a microfibre towel for the cleaning and if you like to use a brush for this purpose, always use a very soft and small brush.

 I always dry it and never rub or scrap the towel on it. 

You can also use alcohol to remove stains, but it can fade the sofa color in some cases. 

Again, natural products like oils and vinegar are the simplest and best options. If using soaps, I always use mild soaps or dish-wash, mix with warm water, and immediately wipe excess water.

Temperature and humidity

High temperature and humidity fade the color and cause peeling in sofas. In addition, due to direct sun exposure, the leather losses its flexibility and becomes hardened.

Pure leather is more vulnerable to this damage in comparison to synthetic and other forms.

In this case, try to adjust it in an area where the temperature is moderate. Next, you have to paint the damaged area to fix the issue, and for this, clean it carefully and apply double coats of leather paint on it. 

Scrap off the peels before painting, using a knife, and sand the area to make it even. Sometimes you need to merge or mix two colors to get the desired color.

Extreme pressure and stretch

Pure leather is more resistant to stress as it has more stretching capacity, but the faux ones are not too stretchy and flexible. 

When you apply extreme pressure on the bonded and synthetic ones, they start to peel off. It also causes sagging in leather sofas.

Now you have to repair it by adding filling in it. Clean the surface properly, sand and smooth it and apply glue on it. 

I use leather adhesives, but you can also use other fabric glues to stick to the edges. 

Add filling or backing fabric in the damaged area by cutting it into the required size. Once it dries completely, spray paint to give a finishing look.


Sometimes stains of grease and sweat are responsible for the peeling. In addition, regular body contact can cause the leather to lose its structure. 

Moreover, other stains containing chemicals can cause cracks in the furniture.

When cleaning sofas daily, do not use chemical-based conditioners and wash with soap and water. 

Dyes from sofa cushions

Cushions are the necessary items on the sofa, but you have to choose the appropriate cushion cover for it. 

Brightly-dyed colors look splendid but may transfer the dye color onto the leather. 

The dyes are synthetic and can leach into the top layer, causing peeling. Also, the rough and harsh cover fabric, when rubs on the surface, leads to scrapping.

You should use fast-dyed colors for these sofas as they do not transfer or leach on fabric. 

Permanent and natural colors are other better options. I always use soft and non-embroidered, plain cushion covers for my sofas.

Old leather sofas

Whether the fabric is original, synthetic, or semi-synthetic, it begins to peel with time and use. Long-term use deteriorates its structure, color, stability, and firmness. 

Inner stuffing, backing, and filling also compress and hardens with time. 

You can reverse the damage that occurs with time and use, but extensive care can help you make it long-lasting and durable.

What is the mechanism of leather sofa peeling?

The peeling process starts with discoloration. At first, you will observe that the color of the sofa begins to fade and lighten in an area. 

This part may be an area of extreme pressure or stress. After that, you will see small lines appearing in the discolored area, showing off the inner cloth. 

Next, the top layer starts to scrap or chip off, and you can examine the surface.

Also, the peeling generally starts from sides or corners along the lines and stitches. 

These areas experience excessive stretch when you sit on the sofa and rip off. Arms, head, and back seat are next to peel because they suffer from rubbing when you sit and rest hands on it.

 It may be different in some cases, but most of you would agree with this pattern of peeling. 

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