person stitching leather wallet

What is Distressed Leather?

Some people don’t understand the appeal of aged leather, but it’s actually quite popular! From leather jackets to vintage furniture to leather wallets for women, leather can be made to look worn and aged – even if it’s a relatively new product – by distressing it. People love to distress leather goods because they add character to the material. But is there more to it?

The experts at MANCINI have a vast experience of distressing genuine leather, so they’re going to fill you in on the mysteries of this timeless process.

Buffalo collection messenger bag

Is Distressed Leather Good?

Genuine leather is a natural material, so it ages and changes over time. Normally, damaging something is bad and diminishes its value. But distressed leather is good because it makes the leather much more durable, thereby reducing its chances of damage. 

In other words, when you distress leather, you also increase its value. The distressing process allows the leather to develop a patina, which is a glossy finish, since the natural oils in the material migrate across it to create dark areas. 

Some people prefer buying a brand new wallet that also looks new. But if you love the vintage look, we can explain how to achieve it yourself if you can’t find the perfect distressed leather product.

How Do You Distress Leather?

Distressed leather is the result of years exposed to the elements, but not everyone has the patience to wait. Here is the simplest and easiest method to make leather wallets or backpacks look rugged and worn:

  1. Use a spray bottle, cloth, or toothbrush to apply rubbing alcohol to the leather, making sure to not drench it. 
  2. While the leather is still damp, knead the leather to create creases and folds.  
  3. Rub the leather with fine grain sandpaper in the corners or bottom to produce a natural distressed look.
  4. Apply leather conditioner to strengthen the leather.
  5. Use a stiff wire brush or one that is heavily bristled to increase the distressed areas.   
  6. Optional: Cover your leather item in dry dust outside. It’s essential to not ruin the leather, but make it look worn. You will want to wipe it down with a dry white cloth to remove the excess.   

Warning: Take your time throughout the process and evaluate the leather’s condition after each step to prevent harmful damage. Faux leather products cannot be distressed.

Bellagio collection leather wallets

How Do You Clean Distressed Leather?

Always remove staining items from your distressed leather, such as food, because the leather easily absorbs oils. Blot the stain with a paper towel or dry white cloth. If there is dust on the leather, wipe it and any embellishments with a dry white cloth. If the leather was exposed to water, wipe it immediately and let it dry in an area where it’s not exposed to a direct heat source.

Before applying a cleaning agent, ensure that you have identified the type of leather. For example, full-grain leather is highly resistant since it has not been altered, and nubuck has a stronger resistance compared to suede. Speak with our leather experts to find out how to properly clean your leather.

Make sure to clean your distressed leather or brand new leather bags and accessories every six months. We also have a scratch repair guide to assist you. 

Find Top-Grain Leather Wallets and More at MANCINI

We provide genuine leather products that make the perfect gift for your loved ones or yourself. From men’s leather wallets to leather briefcases to women’s handbags, MANCINI uses a variety of leather, including full grain leather with vegetable tan. 

Check out our new Bellagio collection or contact us!