How To Fix a Ripped Leather Couch and Avoid Throwing It In the Trash

A leather couch tear is no reason to despair

Nick P. Cellucci
Written by Nick P. Cellucci
Updated May 5, 2022
A young boy peeks above the cushions
Photo: angela auclair / Moment / Getty Images


You've got this!

Time to complete

2 hours

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What you'll need:


  • Bowl
  • Two clean cloth rags
  • Scissors


  • Leather cleaner or white vinegar
  • Denim patch
  • Leather glue
  • Glue applicator (Can be a toothpick, needle, or similar sharp, disposable object)
  • Masking tape

Your leather couch can be great at resisting stains, but it isn’t invincible. Even the highest-quality leather can rip after enough movie nights and juice spills. Luckily, restoring a leather couch can be a fast and easy DIY project, mainly using common household supplies. Follow these five simple steps and learn how to fix a ripped leather couch.

Buying Glue to Fix a Leather Couch

Standard craft glue or super glue may dry hard or leave behind residue, further damaging your leather. The right glue to repair leather will be a clear leather glue or fabric glue specially designed for leather, available at your local craft supply store. Before buying your glue, check the packaging or product details to ensure that it’s safe to use on leather.

5 Simple Steps to Fix a Ripped Leather Couch

Follow these five steps, and your leather couch will be free of holes in just a couple of hours.

  1. Clean Around the Leather Couch Tear

    A woman cleaning leather sofa surface
    Photo: Kilito Chan / Moment / Getty Images

    Before you begin your repairs, you want to clean the area you’re repairing to remove any dirt or grime. You can use a product design specifically for cleaning a leather couch or create your own safe homemade cleaning solution using equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Mix the solution in a bowl until it’s fully combined.

    Lightly dip one of your clean cloth rags into the solution and clean the area around the tear, gently wiping away any dust or debris with gentle, circular motions. Be careful not to soak the leather, making it more difficult to repair. Immediately after you clean, use your other cloth to thoroughly dry the area so the solution doesn’t have time to soak into the leather.

  2. Trim Any Loose Threads

    Using your scissors, carefully trim off any loose threads or bits of string you see on the edges of the tear. Your goal is to ensure that the edges are smooth and consistent so that you can create the best bond with your adhesive in the following steps.

  3. Cut and Place a Substrate Patch

    A substrate patch will help strengthen the bond of your adhesive and hole the tear together more effectively. With your scissors, cut a denim patch to a square with rounded edges. The patch should be slightly larger than the tear so it completely fills the hole.

    Slide the patch inside the tear. With your tweezers, adjust the patch until it sits smoothly under the surface of the leather. It should be free of any lumps or ridges that you can feel through the leather. If the patch crumples or bunches up at all, pull it out and repeat this step until you can get it smooth. The patch should completely cover the area behind the tear.

  4. Apply Leather Glue

    Apply a drop of leather glue to the tip of your glue applicator and lift one side of the tear. Spread the glue around the patch beneath the tear in an even layer. Apply glue near both edges of the tear. Use your dry cloth to wipe off any excess glue that gets on the leather outside of the tear.

  5. Secure the Seam and Let It Set

    Pinch the two sides of the tear together to form an even line, smoothing out any bumps or ridges to create a consistent surface. If you don’t line it up properly the first time, simply separate and reconnect the two sides, wiping away any excess glue as you adjust. Hold the seam shut for five minutes, maintaining gentle pressure.

    After five minutes, the glue will have set. If the tear reopens, apply a little more glue and reconnect the seams, allowing another five minutes for it to set again. You should not sit on your couch yet. Secure the seam of the tear with a piece of masking tape and allow the adhesive to set for another one to two hours. Remove the tape, and your tear should be fixed.

DIY Leather Couch Repair vs. Hiring a Pro

Fixing a ripped couch on your own will cost you between $0 and $20. Most of the tools and supplies needed for the project are common household goods, so your only likely expenses are the leather glue and denim patch at less than $20 total.

According to HomeAdvisor, most repairs to leather furniture cost between $100 and $400, with repairs to just a single spot on your couch ranging from $100 to $150. With that in mind, DIY couch repairs will save you money compared to the cost of hiring a leather furniture repair specialist near you

However, if you’re dealing with a big tear or you’ve tried a DIY method to no avail, calling in a pro should be your next step. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can repair cat scratches on leather furniture. A quick fix that won’t repair roughness is a leather recoloring balm that helps scratches blend in. Otherwise, use the following process.

  1. Clean the area and trim loose fibers.

  2. Rub leather binding glue all over the affected area.

  3. Sand the area down with fine-grit sandpaper and clean off any residue.

  4. Fill holes, scratches, and gouges with leather putty from a leather repair kit.

  5. Sand the area down again and clean off any residue.

  6. Apply leather colorant in several layers.

  7. Seal the color in with a leather sealant and finish.

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