Why Is My Leather Couch Wrinkling?

Leather couches can give your home a look of luxury, and they tend to last a long time with proper care. Over time, however, leather couches are prone to wrinkling. If your leather couch is wrinkling, we'll explain why in this post.

Leather couches tend to wrinkle with more use because leather has elastic properties. Over time, leather tends to be overstretched or start sagging, which can cause wrinkles. In some cases, improper storage and care can also cause wrinkles in the leather.

Leather couches are often too expensive to replace, especially if you can still get a lot of use out of them. But if your leather couch is starting to wrinkle, the good news is that there is something you can try at home to fix this. We will share with you how to do just that. To learn how to fix a wrinkled leather couch, continue reading. 

Comfortable sofa standing in library against collections books on bookshelves. Brown leather couch standing in living room with modern interior design and home decor, Why Is My Leather Couch Wrinkling

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How Do You Fix A Wrinkled Leather Couch?

There are two methods you can try to get wrinkles out of your leather couch. Both can be done using common household items. We will look at these methods in more detail so that you can decide which one (or both) you want to try in order to fix your wrinkled leather couch.

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A woman cleaning a brown leather sofa

Method 1

For this method, you will need:

  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • A cloth 
  • A hairdryer
  • Leather conditioner (optional)

Step 1 - Clean the Surface

Before you attempt to remove the wrinkles from your leather couch, you should first clean the surface. This will help you make sure you can clearly see the extent of the wrinkles on your couch. Use the cloth to wipe the surface with soap and water (or you can use a leather cleaner instead). Dry the surface when finished.

Click here to see this leather cleaner on Amazon.

Step 2 - Inspect the Surface

After cleaning the surface, inspect the cushions and back for wrinkles. Once you've located all the wrinkles, you will want to make sure that your couch is within reach of an outlet to plug the hairdryer into. If it isn't, you may need to move the couch or use an extension cord.

Step 3 - Use Hot Air to Remove the Wrinkles

Plug the hairdryer in and turn it on to the hottest setting. Hold the hairdryer at least eight inches away from the surface (any closer could burn the leather), but not more than 12 inches. Move the hairdryer back and forth over the wrinkled area. Leaving it in one place for too long can also cause burns.

Step 4 - Watch the Wrinkles Disappear

The hairdryer's heat will cause the leather to tighten and shrink, and the wrinkles will start to disappear. It may take a few minutes before they are completely gone, as the heat from the hairdryer isn't hot enough to remove them immediately. Repeat steps 1 through 4 on any other wrinkled areas.

Step 5 - Apply Leather Conditioner (Optional)

Leather conditioner helps to protect leather so that it lasts longer. It can also help prevent or reduce wrinkling. Doing this step may stop your leather couch from wrinkling in the future. To use leather conditioner, apply a light coat to the couch and rub it across the surface. Use a cloth to buff it into the couch. Avoid sitting on the couch for about 10-15 minutes so you won't get residue on your clothes.

This leather conditioner from Amazon works well on leather furniture.

Method 2

For this method, you will need:

  • A brown paper bag or lint-free cloth
  • An iron
  • Leather conditioner (optional)

Step 1 - Clean and Cover the Wrinkle

leather couch

After cleaning the surface using the suggestions above, cut off a piece of a brown paper bag that is big enough to cover the wrinkled area of the couch. If you don't have brown paper bags, you can use a lint-free cloth instead, but whatever you use needs to cover the area as much as possible.

Step 2 - Empty the Iron and Plug It In

After covering the wrinkle, empty the water from your iron so that you don't get the leather wet. Plug the iron in and turn it on to the lowest setting. This is important because it is easy to burn the couch if the iron is too hot. 

Step 3 - Move the Iron Over the Wrinkle

Steadily move the iron over the bag or cloth atop the wrinkled area, applying a little pressure. Holding the iron in one area for too long will cause the leather to get too hot. Move the paper bag or cloth to cover any uncovered areas, and iron the same way.

Step 4 - Allow the Area to Cool

When the area begins to feel warm, stop ironing so that the area can cool. Check the wrinkles. If they are gone, great! If not, repeat Step 3 until the wrinkles don't get smaller or are completely gone. Don't forget to unplug the iron when finished.

Step 5 - Apply Leather Conditioner (Optional)

As with the hairdryer method, you can apply leather conditioner to the couch after the wrinkles are gone to keep them from possibly coming back. Follow the instructions above to apply the leather conditioner, and avoid sitting on the couch for about 15 minutes to give the conditioner time to set in.

Or try this leather conditioner, also from Amazon.

Read more about leather couch repairs at our post, "How To Fix A Large Hole In A Leather Couch."

Can You Steam A Leather Couch?

A woman holding a steam generator on a blue background

Leather couches can be cleaned using steam. Steam cleaning is actually a very effective way to remove dirt and stains from your couch without using harsh chemicals. We'll explain how to steam your leather couch in a few easy steps.

Step 1 - Buy or Rent a Steam Cleaner

Most people think that all steam cleaners are expensive, and some of them are. But there are affordable steam cleaners that work well for cleaning upholstery; not a bad investment if you have a lot of furniture to clean or your furniture is prone to dirt and stains from kids or pets. If you still don't want to purchase one, you can usually rent a steam cleaner from any home improvement store.

See this hand-held steam cleaner on Amazon.

Step 2 - Pre-Treat the Surface

Pre-treating the couch is important for making sure the steam cleaning is effective. To pre-treat the couch, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the seat cushions if you can. (Some couches have cushions that can't be removed, so proceed to the next step.)
  2. Mix hot water, ½ of linseed oil, and ½ of vinegar.
  3. Dampen a cloth and dip it into the water, linseed oil, and vinegar mixture.
  4. Wipe the surface of the couch and cushions with the cloth. 
  5. Allow the surface to dry for one hour.

Step 3 - Get the Steamer Ready

Fill the steamer with hot water or cleaning solution (whichever is recommended). Turn the steamer to a lower heat setting and test the steamer on an area on the back of the couch to make sure it doesn't damage the leather. 

Step 4 - Clean the Couch

If the steamer caused no damage to the test area, proceed with cleaning the couch. Use the brush attachment to clean your couch more thoroughly, and run the steamer in circular motions over the couch and cushions as many times as necessary to clean it to your liking.

Step 5 - Dry the Area 

After the couch is clean, allow it to dry for a few hours. Wipe any wetter areas with a cloth. To speed up drying and clear the air of steam, use a dehumidifier or open your windows if it is a warm day. Congratulations on your exceptionally clean couch!

For more ways to clean a leather couch, see "How To Clean A Leather Couch."

What Type of Leather Intentionally Looks Wrinkled?

An up close photo of a wrinkled leather sofa

Ruffled leather is leather that is specifically designed with wrinkles. Ruffled leather is most often used for clothing such as leather jackets, skirts, and handbags. It can sometimes be found in leather car interiors and on leather furniture.

What Is Leather Puddling?

Puddling happens when leather is stretched beyond how far it should be stretched. Puddling creates an area of loose material, usually in the seat of leather furniture. Some people aren't bothered by leather puddling because they see the leather as being worn in and comfortable. But if you find leather puddling aesthetically unpleasant, there are ways to prevent it. 

Fluffing leather cushions can reduce puddling by increasing airflow and returning the leather to its original shape. You can also flip the cushions regularly so that one side doesn't get overworn. If you can't remove the cushions, a professional upholsterer can help by sewing the leather so that it is tight again.


If your expensive leather couch is wrinkling and it isn't intentionally wrinkled leather, there is hope. The at-home solutions mentioned effectively remove wrinkles in leather so that your couch will continue to look as beautiful as it was when you bought it. Of course, you can always call in an upholstery expert to remove them, but hopefully, these suggestions can help you save some money with a DIY approach. Good luck! 

Brown leather sofa inside a contemporary living room with white walls, wooden flooring and a huge window with white curtains, Why Is My Leather Couch Wrinkling?


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