6 Things That Can Cause Nappa Leather To Peel

does nappa leather peel?

Nappa leather is a high-grade leather commonly used for car seats and will mark up the price tag on a car. So you need to ask yourself the right questions so that you know what you’re spending your hard-earned cash on.

So in today’s article, I’m going to help address one of such questions which are if Nappa leather peels?

Nappa leather will peel if it’s not given the proper care and maintenance. Also when Nappa leather is treated with the wrong types of leather cleaners and conditioners it will cause it to peel.

There are a lot more factors that cause Nappa leather to peel that I uncovered when I did the research for this article. Keep reading this article to find out more!

Factors That Causes Nappa Leather To Peel

The factors that cause Nappa leather to peel are daily everyday activities and in-activities.

1. Laundry Detergents On Cloths Can Cause Nappa Leather To Peel

Laundry detergents leave their residue on the clothes we wash. And while we enjoy draping our bodies with our clothes, but its contact with the leather seats or furniture can eventually cause the leather to start to peel.

This is because no laundry detergent gets completely rinsed out from clothes and if there are ingredients in the laundry detergent that are too acidic, the leather can suffer everything from drying up, discoloration, cracking, and peeling.   

The task now becomes which detergents are the safest for your clothes, skin and the leather item you’re going to be resting on.

One of the best laundry detergents that I find to be very safe for use and will have no negative effect on your skin or the leather the clothes come into contact with is the all-natural and plant-based laundry detergent from Tangie. You can check it out over here on Amazon for more details.

If you do not do your own laundry at home, you would want to ask your dry cleaners what chemicals they are using to dry clean your clothes.

If something about sulfuric acid is mentioned as an ingredient in the laundry detergents they use, you would want to change cleaners or insist such chemicals are not used for your clothes.

 Sulfuric acid is used to make a lot of household products but it’s known for its corrosive properties.

2. Lack of Proper Care Can Cause Nappa Leather To Peel

Another reason why Nappa leather can possibly peel is when it’s not properly cared for.

Nappa is real leather which is sourced from the skin of an animal and so it needs to be cared for, maintained, and moisturized 

Nappa leather just like all leathers needs to be cared for by having a good cleaning and conditioning routine.

When quality leather like Nappa leather is cared for, it can last for years, age beautifully, and form a very awesome patina.

Related Article: How Long Does It Take For Leather To Patina?

Without doing this the leather will accumulate dirt, which can lead to the leather drying up and peeling.

3. Sweats On Nappa Leather Can Build Up And Cause It To Peel

Generally, Nappa leather will come with a fine protective layer to make it resistant to everyday wear, stains, water, and sweats.

While you might be able to ward off other forms of stains and moisture, sweats may be unavoidable on most of the leather items Nappa leather is used for – typically car seats, couches, chairs, and these will usually be the most affected.

And if I may state the obvious, our body perspirations contain a lot of salts, enzymes, and acids that can amount to the pH levels that’s not safe for leather.

Sweat build-up on your Nappa leather is going to weaken its fibers and eventually cause the leather to peel and destroy.

The worse part is you will never see or even notice this is happening until a lot of sweat and other body oils have already been soaked in.

Usually, what’s going to be your first hint are symptoms of peeling, flaking, or darkening on portions of the leather.

When it comes down to it, you would want to ensure whenever you’re coming in from your outdoor work with lots of sweat – you already know how that works.

4. Humidity Levels Below 30% Can Cause Nappa Leather To Peel

There’s very little known about how humidity generally affects leather. If you did not know, now you know!

Humidity can affect the quality of your leather goods. What is humidity you may ask? It’s simply a measure of how much moisture vapor is in the atmosphere.

Yes, there’s moisture in the air all around us even though we cannot see it.

Nappa leather goods whether it’s a car leather seat, furniture, jackets, belts, etc, can seriously be affected by airborne water vapor.

Humidity can cause this sort of destruction because natural leather is very porous and contains thousands of microscopic holes.

These microscopic holes are able to absorb normal atmospheric moisture.

Approximately 30-40% relative humidity (RH) will be considered normal. This will generally indicate that the air contains a moderate amount of moisture vapor.

The exposure of your leather goods to these moderate humid conditions will not cause any problem but will instead benefit the leather in so many ways.

It becomes a problem when leather gets exposed to high levels of humidity that can cause the Nappa leather to rot.

But the major concern is the low humidity levels as they tend to be exceptionally dry and will cause your Nappa leather to dry and peel super fast.

Low humidity will cause Nappa leather to peel due to fact that the dry air will absorb moisture from anything it can, including your precious Nappa leather furniture and other accessories.

The great news is that there are a couple of things you can do so that your leather does not suffer especially when humidity is low.

One of the first and basic steps is to ensure you never leave your leather goods outdoors.

One of the best things you can also do to protect your Nappa leather from low levels of humidity is using a humidifier to help monitor the humidity levels inside your home, car, or anywhere you have your precious leather goods stored.

This is a great solution to this problem because when the humidity around your space drops below 30% or rises above 40%, you can use the humidifier to release additional moisture vapor or reduce it.

5. Wrong Leather Care Products Can Cause Nappa Leather To Peel

Using the wrong cleaning and conditioning products to treat your Nappa leather can cause it to peel.

This will typically include leather cleaners and conditioners the contain solvents and chemicals.

These can also include leather care products that are either too acidic or way below a pH neutral or pH-balanced level.

Leather is a byproduct from the meat industry and because of this its natural state is acidic.

So you will require leather care products that are also acidic, not very acid though, and definitely not too alkaline.

You would want to avoid leather care products from cheap or low-quality brands as they wouldn’t have the right formulation to help keep your leather well nourished.

It also means that these types of leather care products will cause a chemical reaction on the Nappa leather leaving it looking old, worn, cracked, dried out and peeling.

Be sure to use high-quality leather care products to treat your Nappa leather.

One thing that I almost forgot to mention is that using baby wipes or wipes that are not specially made for leather can also cause damage as some wipes although safe for babies may not be very safe for use on leather.

Some of these baby wipes will contain chemicals that can break down the leather stealing all of its nutrients and then causing it to peel.

If you’re not sure which leather care products to use for your Nappa leather, you can never go wrong with Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.

6. Poor Leather Finishing By The Supplier

Sometimes the thing that can cause Nappa leather to peel is simple a manufacturing mishap.

Some leather producers in an attempt to cut down cost use inferior hides and finishes that isn’t durable.

Ideally, the production of Nappa leather will require the best quality hide in order to get the best products.

When an inferior quality hide is finished with low-quality finishes, the top coat of the leather meant to serve as a protective layer begins to peel.

So when you’re out looking for good quality Nappa leather goods, ensure the leather material used for the product is from a reputable company like Horween Leather.

These companies source high-quality hides from first world countries and ensure the best practices so that the leather they produce is simple of the very best quality.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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