Why Does Faux Leather Crack and Peel

Faux leather is a popular and affordable alternative to real leather. It is widely used in furniture, car seats, jackets, accessories, and other items. It is typically made from a combination of fabric and a plastic coating, such as polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). However, one of the major issues with faux leather is that it tends to peel and crack over time. This not only looks unsightly but can also cause the item to deteriorate quickly. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why faux leather peels and cracks and what you can do to prevent it.

What Causes Faux Leather to Peel and Crack?

why does faux leather crack and peelImage by Canva

Faux leather can peel and crack for several reasons, including:

Poor Quality Materials

One of the primary causes of peeling and cracking in faux leather is the use of low-quality materials. Cheaper varieties of faux leather may have a lower percentage of plastic coating, which can cause the material to become brittle and prone to cracking over time.

Exposure to Sunlight and Heat

Faux leather is sensitive to extreme temperatures, particularly exposure to direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators and heaters. Over time, this exposure can cause the plastic coating to break down, leading to cracking and peeling.

Age and Wear

Like any material, faux leather can break down over time due to age and wear. This can get worse if the fabric is exposed to elements like humidity and moisture, which can break down the plastic coating and cause it to peel away from the fabric.

Harsh Chemicals

When fake leather is exposed to strong chemicals like bleach or cleaning products with alcohol, the plastic coating can break down and peel away from the fabric.


Excessive rubbing or friction can cause the plastic coating on faux leather to wear away, leading to cracking and peeling. This can occur in areas where the material comes into contact with clothing or other objects, such as furniture.


Faux leather can easily scratch, and these scratches can quickly turn into cracks and peels if not properly addressed.

Lack of Maintenance

Proper maintenance is crucial for preventing faux leather from peeling and cracking. Failure to regularly clean and condition the material can cause it to dry out and become brittle.

How to Prevent Faux Leather from Peeling and Cracking

leather purse
Image by Canva

There are several steps you can take to prevent faux leather from peeling and cracking, including:

Purchase High-Quality Faux Leather

Investing in high-quality faux leather is the best way to ensure that the material will last longer and resist peeling and cracking. Look for faux leather that has a higher percentage of plastic coating and a durable fabric base.

Keep Faux Leather Away from Heat Sources

Avoid placing faux leather furniture or accessories near heat sources such as radiators or heaters. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

Clean Faux Leather Gently

When cleaning faux leather, use a mild soap and water solution and a soft cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers, as these can damage the plastic coating and cause it to peel.

Condition Faux Leather Regularly

Conditioning faux leather regularly can help to keep it supple and prevent cracking and peeling. Look for a conditioner specifically designed for faux leather and follow the instructions carefully.

Avoid Excessive Wear and Tear

Finally, avoid excessive wear and tear on faux leather by using it gently and avoiding friction and rubbing. This can help prevent the plastic coating from wearing away and peeling.

Use Protective Covers

cute car seat covers
Image: Retro Groovy Vibes Car Seat Covers by Raiana’s Vibes

To best protect your leather car seats and furniture from damage, it’s important to ensure you’re using protective covers. Everyday use can cause constant friction, which can slowly wear down the material over time. This can lead to expensive repairs or replacements in the future. 

By using stylish, well-fitting protective covers, you can keep the original look and feel of the material while also giving it an extra layer of protection. 

couch covers
Image: Flower Power Couch Covers by Raiana’s Vibes

Not only will these items last longer and maintain their desirable characteristics more efficiently, but they will also better resist extended wear and tear and be easier to clean between each use.


Faux leather is a popular and affordable alternative to genuine leather, but it can be prone to peeling and cracking if not properly cared for. 

You can take steps to stop these problems from happening if you know what causes them, such as low-quality materials, exposure to sunlight and heat, age and wear, exposure to harsh chemicals, and friction. 

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can help to keep your faux leather furniture, clothing, and accessories looking great for years to come. Remember to invest in high-quality faux leather, keep it away from heat sources, clean it gently, condition it regularly, and avoid excessive wear and tear.


Is faux leather as durable as genuine leather?

Faux leather can be just as durable as genuine leather, but it depends on the quality of the materials used and how well it is cared for.

Can peeling and cracking in faux leather be repaired?

In some cases, peeling and cracking in faux leather can be repaired using a leather repair kit or by replacing the affected area with new faux leather.

Is faux leather waterproof?

Faux leather is not inherently waterproof, but some varieties may be treated with a water-resistant coating.

Can faux leather be cleaned with bleach?

No, faux leather should not be cleaned with bleach or other harsh chemicals, as this can damage the plastic coating and cause it to peel.

Can faux leather be painted?

Yes, special leather paint can be used to paint faux leather, but it is important to follow the instructions from the manufacturer carefully to get a good result.

Can I use regular leather care products on faux leather?

No, faux leather requires specific care products designed for its unique properties. Using regular leather care products can damage faux leather.

How often should I clean and condition my faux leather items?

It's recommended to clean and condition faux leather at least once every three months. However, if the item is subject to heavy use or exposure to heat and humidity, it may need more frequent maintenance.