How to Fix Slippery Leather Furniture

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Things You'll Need

  • Soft lint-free cloths

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Leather conditioner

Image Credit: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

In 1921, the American Technical Society recommended correcting slippery leather by "washing it first with gasoline and then with water." No right-minded person would follow such a recommendation today, but the Society was on the right track. Slippery leather has a coating--heavy in carnauba wax or beeswax--which makes it too slick to be comfortable for the sitter. Although gasoline will certainly clear away that coating, there are safer, modern-day alternatives to achieve the same result.


Step 1

Mix a solution of three parts rubbing alcohol to one part water.

Step 2

Rub the solution gently over the surface of the leather, using a wet, lint-free cloth. Do not rub vigorously, or you may remove the surface color.

Step 3

Allow the leather to dry completely for two to four hours.

Step 4

Treat and soften the leather with a top-quality conditioner. If the leather is slippery because it is stiff, a conditioner will loosen the stiffness.

Step 5

Test the furniture. It should have far more "grab" to it because you have exposed the grain and conditioned the leather.


You may wish to treat the leather with a surface treatment to protect it from stains and fading. The surface treatment will contain the same waxes that made your leather slippery, but in a lesser amount.

Wax is actually a solid form of alcohol, so, the alcohol/water solution should dissolve it readily. Repeat the treatment with the alcohol/water solution until you achieve satisfactory results.


references & resources

Dan Antony

Dan Antony began his career in the sciences (biotech and materials science) before moving on to business and technology, including a stint as the international marketing manager of an ERP provider. His writing experience includes books on project management, engineering and construction, and the "Internet of Things."