Why Does Leather Bubble?

Why Does Leather Bubble?

Leather bubbles can ruin the quality of the leather and its durability. Leather bubbles or air pockets are of the same type. They usually form beneath the top surface of leather. Leather bubbles are often known as “Crinkled” or “Wrinkled” leather. This type of leather can be achieved by the application of pressure to the surface of the leather. It will give your leather some textures by creating bubbles or wrinkles. It often adds visual appeal to handbags and shoes.

Do not be scared if your leather products are forming bubbles. With proper care and maintenance, it is possible to maintain its durability. However, it is also true that, these bubbled leathers are very prone to tearing. They require some extra care from scratches. Bubbled leather are very sensitive to water and disinfectant wipes. While you do cleaning, always use leather conditioner with higher quality from reputable brand, to avoid leather stains and color fades.

Key Takeaways

  • Leather bubbles are very common phenomenon, it can occur to all types of leather products.
  • Synthetic leathers, bi-cast leathers, bonded leathers, very thin leathers are more prone to leather bubbles.
  • Pressure application, deflation method, etc. should be done very cautiously to avoid any tearing of the top layer of the leather products.

Why Does Leather Bubbles?

Why Does Leather Bubbles?
Why Does Leather Bubbles?

Leather bubbles is a very common phenomenon, even your most expensive leather can form bubbles. It occurs when the top surface starts to lift off from the skin. You will notice it in furniture, car seats, etc. Leather bubbles are generally seen in sitting areas, arms, elbow rests, etc. Bi-cast leathers form this sort of bubbles very easily. Bi-cast leathers are made with PVC materials. They have polyurethane top surface that separates top surface from the underside of the leather.

If your leather is made of softer materials, you will also see the leather deformity. There are other reasons that will influence in the formation of leather bubbles, such as, humidity, heat, pressure marks, etc. If you have been using your leather products a lot, they will tend to bubbles. These areas will be used most often, so, they will be distorted by forming bubbles.

12 Common Reasons of Forming Leather Bubbles

We will discuss some common reasons of forming leather bubbles.

They are given below:

12 Common Reasons of Forming Leather Bubbles
12 Common Reasons of Forming Leather Bubbles

1. Inexpensive or Cheap Leather

Leather will bubble up because of inexpensive or low-quality leather. If your leather has gone through bad tanning process or if the leather tanning process was done in wrong way, it will form bubbles. Faux leather products are made of synthetic materials that acts as a protective coating. Bicast leather have top layer of plastic materials, that also helps to protect the leather. There are some other external factors that will cause leather bubbles. The top layer will divide and it will cause bubbles to appear on the surface. It happens because of the cheap manufacturing process.

2. Excessive Use Of Cleaning Products

You will get leather cleaning products separately in a grocery store. To maintain the originality of your leather products, there is no substitute of leather cleaning products. But the problem will occur when you clean your product unnecessarily. It will lift off the natural oils from your leather. It will help to form bubbles on the top layer of your leather products.

3. Excessive Use Of Chemical Cleaners

When you are unaware of the best use of your leather cleaners, you may end up buying some bad cleaning products. Although, all of the cleaners are full of chemicals, but when you buy bad cleaners, there is a chance of having a lot of chemicals in your cleaning products that will dry out your leather. So, check the pH-balance of your chemicals when you purchase. Or, it will weaken the fibers of your leather, stretch them, so, bubbles will form easily.

4. Excessive Pressure

When you are consistently sitting at a certain position on your leather chair, or keeping other goods on leather products, such as, books, heavy objects, etc., the leather get a chance of stretching out, and potentially will form leather bubbles. But when your leather is snug-fitting, it is difficult to accumulate air from outside. When you are using your cars for longer distances, the chair, the headrest, the armrest, etc., are under pressure for hours, that causes to form bubbles.

5. Dirt

If you haven’t cleaned your leather garments or furniture for a very long time, the dirt particles will get into the leather materials. As, leathers are porous materials, the dirt can close the openings of the leather materials. It will develop small bubbles because of the lack of moisture and heat.

6. Cleaning in A Wrong Way

When you overdo your cleaning process of leather materials, it will result in dehydration of leather products. Leather conditioners are designed for leather products. You should use them once a week. Otherwise, your leather will dry out, that will cause to stretching of the leather products and forming of bubbles.

7. Excessive Moisture

Body sweat, rain, water spill will damage the leather products. If you are placing your leather products in a damp area, it will also cause to form bubble. When your leather products are constantly exposed to moisture, the fibers will lose flexibility, it can also lead too, color fading.

8. Higher Humidity Level

When you are storing your leather products in a room or place that has higher humidity levels, your leather products will form bubbles. You should try to keep your humidity levels up to 70%. It is considered to be normal for a leather product. If the humidity levels are over 70%, your leather will have problem in retaining its natural properties.

This will help in the growth of mold. Molds will seep through the fibers of the leather goods; They will stretch out by forming leather bubbles. Humidity regulators will help you to protect your leather goods. Always wipe away your body sweats or moisture from your leather products right after you use them. Keep your leather goods in open space with proper ventilation system.

9. Higher Temperatures

If your leather products are in higher temperatures for longer times, leather bubbles will form. If your leather products are exposed to higher temperatures, such as, car seats, let them cool off gradually. You can also use leather wipes to wipe the surface of leather products to re-condition them. If you have notice the change of the texture of your leather products, then use a leather conditioner that has higher quality to recondition them. You should store your leather goods in dry place to avoid this problem.

10. Very Thin Leather Materials

You should check with the durability of your leather goods. Some types of leather products can withstand almost every adversity, while other types of leather products cannot. You should not buy faux leather products, if your area has higher humidity. Bonded leather are made of scraps, it can wear down very easily. Consider buying leather products from reputable brands, because thin leathers are likely to form bubbles than thicker materials.

11. Types Of Adhesives

If you are using adhesives that are of lower quality, your leather products will peel off easily by forming air pockets, bubbles, and other damages. When your adhesives are exposed to extreme heat or humidity, it will weaken the bond of the glue. So, bubbles will appear on hand rests, head rests, etc.

12. Build Up Of Body Oil

We often excrete body oil and natural sebum. The top layer of your leather products absorbs these naturally. When you leave it for too long without cleaning it, a chemical reaction will occur, where the oil will dry up and it will form a thin layer of film on the top surface of your leather product. It will cause to form air bubbles. Leather materials of handbags, wallets, car seats, shoes, etc., suffer the most from this problem. They receive constant body contact from your bare skin. Sometimes natural oils also seep into the fibers of the leather by friction, that also aids in forming air bubbles. You can use mink oil or leather conditioner to avoid such problem.

4 Methods to Prevent Leather Bubbles

To remove leather bubbles, you can follow the methods given below:

Tools And Materials You Will Need

You will need the following tools and materials for these methods:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Heavy Object
  • Clean Water
  • Hairdryer
  • Needle
  • A Syringe With A Small Needle
  • Leather Glue
  • Card Scraper Or Cylindrical Object
Application of Pressure
Application of Pressure

Method 1: Application of Pressure

This is a very common method. If your leather materials have not formed severe bubbles, this method will be effective for you.

Steps To Remove Leather Bubbles By The Application Of Pressure

We have provided with 5 steps to remove leather bubbles by the application of pressure

  • Dampen the surface with clean damp cloth.
  • Apply some pressure with your hands or fingers for 30 minutes on the bubbled area.
  • Your body heat will soften the leather; It will help to release the trapped air.
  • Place a heavy books or objects on the bubble and leave it for few days. If your leather surface is flat, it will help to reduce the bubbles from the leather materials.
  • Apply some leather conditioner.
Application Of Heat
Application Of Heat

Method 2: Application Of Heat

You should consider using a hairdryer for your leather bubbles. This method will help to remove air bubbles if they have formed severely.

Steps To Remove Leather Bubbles By The Application Of Heat

5 steps are given below to remove leather bubbles by the application of heat

  • Dampen the surface with clean water. Use a wet towel or paper towel.
  • The above process will help to release any trapped air by softening your leather.
  • Apply heat to the dampened area with a hairdryer, keep the setting at low.
  • Always keep your hairdryer at low setting, because higher setting will turn up the heat that will dry out your leather products.
  • By the application of heat, the pores of the leather will open up naturally, so the trapped air will disappear quickly.
Deflation Method
Deflation Method

Method 3: Deflation Method

As the name suggests, in this method, you have to burst the bubbles. You can follow some steps to get the best result.

Steps to Remove Leather Bubbles By Deflation Method

6 steps are given below to remove leather bubbles by deflation method:

  • Dampen the surface of the affected area with clean water.
  • Use a sharp pin to prick the leather bubble.
  • Use a new needle, so that it does not tear your leather product.
  • Take your hairdryer. Set it at the lowest setting. Apply the heat on the surface of the leather where you have pricked by using a hand, while with your other hand, deflate it.
  • Make sure that the trapped air has disappeared completely. Apply pressure with your hand, card scraper or cylindrical object or heavy object.
  • Make sure the bubbled surface has leveled.
Syringe And Glue Method
Syringe And Glue Method

Method 4: Syringe And Glue Method

You can use leather glue and press your leather fabric to use this method properly. Here are a few steps you can follow for this method.

Steps To Remove Leather Bubbles by Syringe and Glue Method

7 steps are given below to remove leather bubbles by syringe and glue method:

  • Dampen the surface with clean water.
  • You will need small amount of glue to fill in the syringe.
  • At a shallow angle, pierce your leather.
  • Use the glue from the syringe to fill the bubble.
  • Spread it inside the bubble by massaging the glue.
  • Use a card scraper to flatten the excess glue. Use a paper towel to clean off the excess glue.
  • Leave it to dry and set it for few hours to use it again.

11 Tips to Prevent Leather Bubbles from Leather Products

The following tips will help you in the prevention of leather bubbles from leather products:

  1. Remember to apply a leather conditioner following each cleaning session.
  2. Do not use too much water during the removal processes of leather bubbles.
  3. Make sure to air dry your leather every time you’re drying it.
  4. Make a routine to clean leather products.
  5. Avoid any build-up of dirt on the surface of your leather products.
  6. Keep leather surfaces free from the buildup of body oils.
  7. Never compromise on the quality of your leather conditioner.
  8. Always try to follow the right pH-balance when purchasing leather items.
  9. Use a humidity regulator.
  10. Always keep away your leather products from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  11. Keep away pointy objects from your leather products.


Is leather OK in the rain?

If the weather is wet, you can wear a leather jacket. But it can lead to damage if you are not wearing it properly. Leather is a porous material. It can be affected by water. It can lead to discoloration, cracking in leather, etc.

Does Leather last in water?

If your leather is exposed to excessive water, it will be difficult to retain its natural properties. As real leather is porous material, it can absorb water. Although, faux leathers are somewhat waterproof.

Can heat damage leather?

Excessive heat can cause the leather to dry out or crack. When you are storing leather, ideal temperatures should be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to you fix Bubbly leather?

There are few methods and tools that you can use to fix the problem, such as, use heavy object, clean the affected area with leather safe cleaner, use heat and cold pressure, use deflation method or popping tool, etc.

What causes leather to warp?

When you are piling objects onto the leather surface and stuffing it in tight places, it will bend naturally. You can avoid this to regain its original shape by heat and water.

Final Thoughts

Leather products may have a very long lifespan when it is stored properly. Make sure, you do not keep pointy objects nearby of your leather products. When you are following the deflation method to remove leather bubbles, hold the top layer of your leather products with one hand to avoid any tearing. Leather bubbles are inevitable when you are using leather products for a very long time. But when you follow the right method according to your leather product, you will be able to remove leather bubbles efficiently.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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