How To Soften A New Leather Jacket [7 Great Ways!]

Some older leather jackets can become hard and stiff, especially if they're a few years old. However, if your new leather jacket is on the stiff side, you'll be happy to know that there are ways to help soften it up a bit so that it's more comfortable to wear. We've researched some of the most practical ways to do this, and in this post, we will share them with you.

Here are a few ways to soften a new leather jacket:

  • Apply alcohol and vaseline
  • Dry clean the jacket
  • Apply leather conditioner
  • Use olive oil
  • Get the jacket wet
  • Wear the jacket more
  • Apply mink oil

Softening your leather jacket not only can make it more comfortable to wear. Keep in mind that if your new leather jacket is too dry, it can become brittle and prone to crack. Continue reading to learn about a few methods to help loosen it up a bit and hydrate it as well.

portrait of a attractive male model posing wearing new leather jacket, How To Soften A New Leather Jacket [7 Great Ways!]

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Ways To Soften A New Leather Jacket

Variety of leather jackets

Apply rubbing alcohol and vaseline

A common method to soften new leather jackets and other leather apparel is treating the jacket with rubbing alcohol and Vaseline. Rubbing alcohol penetrates the fibrous grain of the leather and helps it become easier to penetrate. For this method, you'll simply need to add the rubbing alcohol to a spray bottle and apply it to the leather jacket one section at a time.

Immediately after spraying the jacket, follow up with a dime-sized amount of Vaseline, applying it with a leather sponge or cloth applicator. Be sure to apply the Vaseline immediately, as the rubbing alcohol will evaporate rather quickly.

Find Vaseline on Amazon.

Dry clean the jacket

Another quick way to help soften the leather is to dry clean it a few times. Dry cleaning the leather jacket will expose it to humidity, and water exposure is a great way to help the leather fibers become more pliable and flexible. They can also apply certain oils and conditioners to the leather once they clean it, which will assist in making it softer and easier to wear. Take note that dry cleaning a leather jacket can cost anywhere from $40 to $70, depending on the size of the jacket.

Apply leather conditioner

This is one of the best ways that you can quickly soften up your new leather jacket. Leather conditioners contain emollients and polymers that can penetrate the surface of the leather to reduce its stiffness. They can also help your leather to retain its brilliant shine and luster. It's important to regularly condition your leather jacket, especially if you wear it often or warm, dry temperatures.

Check out this leather conditioner on Amazon.

Use olive oil

You may have heard that many people apply olive oil to their leather products. Well, there's a reason for this. Rubbing olive oil on your leather jacket will help to moisturize and soften the grain. Olive oil contains natural saturated and unsaturated fats, which help loosen up tight leather fibers. It can also help to lightly condition the jacket, making it less susceptible to peeling and cracking.

To do this, take a leather sponge or lint-free cloth and apply a quarter-sized amount of olive oil to it. Next, rub the cloth on the jacket using circular motions until the oil fully penetrates the fabric.

Find olive oil on Amazon.

Get the jacket wet

Applying water to the jacket using a spray bottle can also help soften it up. It's important not to go overboard when using this method as you don't want to over-saturate the jacket. Simply spray the jacket enough to where it becomes slightly damp, and then follow up the process using a quality conditioner.

Keep in mind that if your jacket has been pre-treated with any waterproofing product, this will not work as the moisture will simply roll off of the grain. It's also a good idea to put the jacket on and help stretch it out a bit by moving your arms in different directions. Afterward, hang your jacket up and let it dry.

Find the spray bottle on Amazon.

Wear the jacket more

Another way to easily soften up your jacket is to simply wear it more. This includes wearing it around the house and out on the town. The more you wear your jacket, the more you will stretch the fibers of the grain, which will make it more flexible and comfortable to wear.

Apply mink oil

The use of mink oil on leather products goes back for centuries. Mink oil contains unsaturated fatty acid, which gives leather fibers flexibility and lubrication. It also makes for a great leather conditioner as it works slowly to penetrate deep into the fibers of the grain--and it isn't too heavy.

The fat in the oil makes the leather softer and more supple, especially if the leather is new or dried out. When applying mink oil to your new leather jacket, make sure to apply it directly to a leather sponge or soft cloth, and do so in small amounts. Never apply the oil directly to the jacket, or it may cause it to stain.

Learn more about this mink oil on Amazon.

Best leather softener for jackets

Checking out the reviews of a leather product can help give you an idea of the product's effectiveness. Let's take a look at some of the most highly recommended products on Amazon.

Leather Honey

Leather honey is one of the most dependable conditioner brands. This conditioner works wonderfully to help rejuvenate and soften both new and old leather products. It's non-toxic and is completely odorless.

Find Leather Honey on Amazon.

Interior Defense

Interior defense is perfect for genuine, full-leather, and faux leather. The formula is designed to prevent premature aging and fading and can be used on all leather grains. It also contains sun-protecting emollients to prevent peeling and cracking.

Interior Defense on Amazon.


Rejuvenate is another quality leather conditioner that you can use on your leather apparel and products. This conditioner makes leather grains more supple and protects them from drying out. It doesn't leave an oily residue and can help to restore older leather coats and jackets.

Click here for this product on Amazon.

Lexol Protectant

Lexol conditioner can help to renew and condition your leather products without leaving them feeling oily or greasy. It also contains ultraviolet sunscreen to prevent drying, cracking, and fading. It penetrates leather fibrous quickly and contains no silicone or harsh ingredients.

Read more about Lexon on Amazon.

How do you break in a new leather jacket?

The best way to break in a new leather jacket similar to breaking in a new pair of shoes--you simply have to wear it. You can also break in the jacket by applying neatsfoot oil. This conditioner will help soften the grain. Other things that you can apply to the new jacket include vaseline, leather conditioner, and coconut oil. All of these products can help to make the grain more supple, hydrated, and flexible.

Learn more about neatsfoot oil on Amazon.

What makes a leather jacket stiff?

New leather products may feel stiff because the fibers have not been stretched out yet. Factors that can contribute to stiffness and older leather products include too much sunlight, dry weather, and unfavorable storage conditions.

It's always best that your leather material isn't left in a room with less than 40% humidity, or you may find that the leather will become stiffer over time. Also, you'll want to avoid exposing the leather jacket to direct sunlight for too long, as this can also cause the grain to dry out and stiffen.

How to soften a leather jacket with coconut oil?

A row of colorful leather jackets hanging on hangers in retail shop, Should You Dry Clean A Leather Jacket?

It's best to melt the coconut oil before applying it to leather. To do so, you can place it in a warm bowl and dip the bowl in hot water in the sink, or you can simply warm the oil on the stove. Next, use a sponge or a lint-free cloth to apply the oil to the leather using circular motions until it is completely absorbed into the grain.

Check out this coconut oil on Amazon.

Does Vasoline soften leather?

Yes. Applying Vaseline to leather grain can help to soften it up. Be sure to use it in small amounts, however. You can also combine Vaseline with rubbing alcohol for better absorption, as discussed above.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has provided you with the techniques you're looking to soften up your new leather jacket. Remember, wearing the jacket often can help quickly stretch out the fibers, making it less stiff.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How To Clean A White Leather Purse [6 Effective Methods]

How To Wash A Faux Leather Jacket [4 Easy Steps]

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