Teach your children not to roughhouse on the leather sofa.

How to Hide Scratches in Leather

by Michelle Ullman

Leather is a durable, classic and comfortable material for upholstering sofas, chairs and ottomans. Unfortunately, leather is also prone to damage, and roughhousing children, metal rivets on pants, a carelessly handled pen or pencil or a frisky feline jumping across the couch cushions can all leave scratches in their wake. If your expensive leather furniture has a minor scratch, don't throw up your hands in despair and assume it is permanently marred. Often, you can hide tiny scratches in leather with common products you probably have around the house.

Vacuum your leather furniture to remove any dust, grit or crumbs.

Perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area underneath a cushion. Rub a cotton swab dampened with olive oil on the leather. If the leather remains darkened or stained after an hour, do not proceed with home methods.

Moisten a cotton swab with olive oil, and gently rub over fine scratches. Work in small circles, following the grain of the leather. Often, this is all you need to do to hide scratches that don't break through the top surface of the leather.

Hide deeper scratches that show the white underside of the leather with shoe polish that matches your couch. Press a cotton swab into the shoe polish, then dab into the scratch, working the polish into the exposed underside of the leather. Let the shoe polish dry.

Wipe a barely moistened paper towel over the repaired area, smoothing the scratched leather until the damage disappears.

Items you will need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Cotton swabs
  • Olive oil
  • Shoe polish
  • Paper towel
  • Water


  • Keep pets' nails trimmed to avoid scratched furniture.


  • If your couch is deeply scratched or torn, consult with a professional leather repair or furniture shop.

About the Author

Living in California, Michelle Ullman is a professional writer with particular expertise in home, garden and pet/nature topics. Her work is published on many websites. She loves crafts and has a deep interest in design and DIY projects.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images