How To Shrink Leather

Do your favorite leather gloves make you feel like they’re meant for someone with bigger hands, or your leather boots are a little loose after extensive wear?

Many leather goods, such as belts, shoes, jackets, gloves, can all get larger with age and use, and the need to make them fit is vital.

There’s no reason to wear an article of clothing that’s a little too large when you can make it smaller. Using a range of shrinking procedures, you can get leather to fit you again as it was when you purchased your item.

You may ask, how to shrink leather reliably, so it isn’t too tight? Luckily, in our guide, you can learn how to make leather shrink using various ways and with one magic solution. By the end, you’ll know how to tighten leather, so your jacket, boots, or leather gloves feel like a new pair. (Learn How To Shrink Polyester)

Leather Shrinking Tips

How Much Does Leather Shrink?

When sheep leather items are shrunk, they can lose up to 20% of the surface area. It can be hard to calculate when shrinking leather products of other types of leather as thickness or thinness plays a big role.

If you need to know how to shrink leather gloves, boots, or shoes, or even a leather wallet, you can find the best way of shrinking leather clothes, so they fit right before you restore the natural softness of your leather product.

Step 1# Wetting the Leather

1. If you can submerge the leather, fill either a bucket with very hot water for smaller items, or if shrinking something you need to get completely wet that is larger, you can use a bathtub. Fill with boiling water by turning your faucet to the hottest setting and letting it run until the water is as hot as it can get.

All-leather items, such as leather pants, boots, leather gloves, and other accessories can be soaked.

2. If you can’t soak the leather upper, pour the hot water into a spray bottle. Fill a huge spray bottle with water instead of your leather item containing areas that shouldn’t get wet, such as the soles of a pair of dress shoes.

You’ll be able to spray the water straight onto the leather surface in this manner. Keep buckles and snaps dry to prevent rust from the shrinking process.

3. Using hot water, totally saturate the leather. Place the item in the water, then push it down to ensure it’s submerged if you’re soaking the leather in a bucket or tub. If you’re going to use a spray bottle, put the leather item flat and soak it entirely. Turn it over and soak the other side and make sure it is evenly moist.

Make sure to soak all the leather evenly. Otherwise, the portions you soaked and the parts you left dry may have a distinct color difference. If you’re spraying the leather, place it on a plastic sheet to keep the surface underneath it from getting wet.

4. To guarantee that thick leather is soaked, soak it for up to an hour. If you’re soaking something made of really thick leather, such as a pair of boots or a hefty vest, you may need to soak it for a long to allow the water to penetrate completely. If you’re not sure, soak the leather for about an hour before removing it.

However, if your item is composed of thin leather, such as soft leather gloves, dunking it in water may be sufficient. (Learn How To Get Water Stains Out Of Leather)

Step 2# Drying Your Leather

It can take a few hours up to 24-hours for leather to dry based on the thickness and size of the leather item.

1. If you live in a hot climate, dry the leather in the sun. After you’ve soaked the leather, you’ll need to dry it with heat to stretch the fibers. Place the item flat in a sunny location outside. Use a table covered with a towel and leave it to dry entirely.

Hanging the leather will cause it to stretch rather than shrink because of the weight of the water.

Place the leather away from excessive heat, such as a radiator. If you dry the leather too fast, it gets brittle and fractures.

If you’re shrinking a leather garment, check the care label. If it isn’t suede or nubuck, you can shrink it in the dryer on high for 30 minutes.

2. To dry the leather indoors, use a low-speed hair dryer. Turn on your electric blow dryer at the maximum heat setting but at the lowest speed.

Slowly move the nozzle back and forth, keeping the hairdryer’s end approximately 4 in from the leather’s surface.

Carry on like this until the leather is completely dry. It’s best not to leave the hairdryer’s nozzle in one spot for too long, as it could burn the leather.

You can use the direct sun on a warm day yet keep turning your item, or it could shrink more on one side than the other.

3. If necessary, soak and dry the leather up to three times more. Check to see if the leather object shrank as much as you needed once it has dried. Start anew with the soaking process if it still needs to shrink a little further. If required, repeat the process two more times.

If the leather isn’t the right size after three rounds of wetting and drying, you may need to buy a new item in the correct size.

4. Soften the leather by conditioning it. Leather can be dried out by both water and heat, making it brittle. To prevent this, apply a few drops of leather conditioner to a clean cloth and rub it into the leather’s surface. As needed, add an extra conditioner to the towel and continue kneading it into the object until it is completely coated.

Leather conditioner can be found at any store that sells leather and many big-box retailers that provide household cleaners and supplies. (Learn How To Remove Paint From Leather)

Shrink Leather In The Dryer

How Do You Shrink Leather In The Dryer?

There can be occasions when drying with a hair dryer isn’t suitable. Here you can find out, can you shrink leather in a dryer?

What You’ll Need

  • Large tub
  • Washing machine
  • Clothes dryer
  • Leather conditioner
  • Soft clean cloths
  1. Empty all your pockets in your leather jacket.
  2. Soak your leather jacket in boiling water until it is completely saturated. Alternatively, throw it in a mesh laundry bag and wash it on the gentle cycle in the washing machine. Just keep in mind that in the washing machine, the jacket may suffer extra wear and tear. The color may bleed out and stain your tub or washing machine if you use hot water. Soak the jacket in cold water if this is an issue.
  3. Let the jacket air-dry on a padded hanger, and you don’t need the dry leather to be too tight.
  4. If you used cold water to soak the jacket or want it to shrink the most, put it in your clothes dryer on low heat. Remove the jacket from the dryer every 10 minutes to avoid it shrinking too much. Place it on a cushioned hanger and let it dry in the air once it has reached the size you want.
  5. Once your jacket is completely dry, apply a leather conditioner with a soft cloth. It will regain its shine and flexibility while adding a protective layer. Apply in circular strokes and then buff with a soft, clean cloth.

Does Leather Naturally Shrink?

Inactive leather naturally shrinks. That’s why your leather shoes may feel excessively tight after the winter and why shoe retailers fill shoes to keep form and size.

If your leather material requires a minor shrinkage, you can use lukewarm water, direct sunlight, and a few other ways to shrink leather.

Shrink a Leather Jacket

  1. Leather jackets can be shrunk using hot water. Place leather jacket in the washer on a cold water setting and avoid washing with laundry detergent or other materials.
  2. Before placing into a dryer, wring out excess water.
  3. You can lay the item flat on a dry towel to soak up excess water during the drying process.

You can use the above and keep them on a towel on a flat surface to shrink leather clothing.

Shrink Leather Gloves

Shrink Leather Gloves

When leather gloves fit, they are comfortable and keep hands warm. To stop them from being too large, you can use a combination of water and rubbing alcohol to shrink leather gloves.

What You Need

  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Dry White Towels


  1. Fill a bottle sprayer with lukewarm water, rubbing alcohol, and dish soap.
  2. Shake well. Rubbing alcohol removes some of the leather’s oil so water can penetrate easily.
  3. Place your gloves on top of an absorbent towel.
  4. Wet your gloves on both sides using alcohol and water solution.
  5. Cover the gloves using another absorbent towel and press out excess water.
  6. Wear your gloves until they dry, and let them mold to your hands. If not, dry the damp leather on the towel and cover it with a leather conditioner.

Shrink Leather Boots

How to Shrink Leather Boots

A brand-new pair of cowboy boots leads to feet slipping in the toe and heel area. Rather than blisters and wearing thick socks or using a heel grip guard, you can shrink so your boots fit correctly. Note. Using a heel grip prevents the use of an elastic band and a thick sewing needle.

  • Large bucket
  • Hot water
  • Pair of socks


  1. Fill a bucket halfway with boiling water.
  2. Place your boots in a bucket large enough to hold them and dunk them until they are completely submerged.
  3. Allow one hour for them to soak in the bucket.
  4. Remove your boots from the water, put on a pair of socks, then submerge your feet.
  5. Slip your feet in wet socks into the wet leather boots using some elbow grease.
  6. Wear the wet boots for the rest of the day until they are completely dry.

While shrinking leather boots this way seems strange, the leather can adapt to the shape of your feet for maximum comfort.

Use a natural leather conditioner formula after you shrink the leather to the proper fit and keep them on a shoe tree if possible.

Try on the boots or shoes again once the leather has dried and been conditioned.

If you make them a little too big, you may stretch the leather fibers back out if necessary. Spritz the insides of the shoes with a vinegar and water mixture, then wear them around the house with a thick pair of socks.

If you need to reduce leather shoes instead of boots, you’ll find that shrinking leather shoes are more accessible because of their shape.

Fill a bottle sprayer halfway with warm water and spritz it on your shoes’ surface. Concentrate the spray by the shoe that needs to shrink the most. Avoid getting water on the shoe’s sole and base.

Dry the shoes outside in the sun or with a hairdryer set to the lowest temperature setting. To avoid scorching the shoe, hold the blow dryer six inches away from the leather and dry the surface in a steady motion—Polish your shoes with natural shoe polish chemicals and a leather conditioner.

How To Shrink Leather

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