Leather is a natural material the loses moisture end time, leading to cracks and breaks. It’s necessary to keep it through leather oil or conditioner that helps for sure it will certainly retain the suitable levels of moisture and flexibility over time.

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Leather oil is a natural or fabricated substance that, when added to leather, helps to moisturize and condition the yarn so they stay flexible and durable. It can be composed of a singular oil, or a blend of oils, fats, waxes, and other conditioning agents combined a committed formula.

While leather requires regular maintenance to save it in great shape, the is definitely well precious it. Let’s see an ext about when to usage leather oil and also which ones work-related best.

Table the Contents

What is leather Oil?

Leather oil is a conditioning substance applied to leather in order come moisturize and protect the fibers from drying, cracking, and breaking apart. Some, such together mink oil, room naturally-derived oils that deserve to be applied directly to some leather surfaces. Other leather oils space specially-blended mixes of natural and synthetic oils, fats, and waxes.


Popular animal leather Conditioners

Some leather oils only administer conditioning, helping reclaim some of the herbal moisture to the materials. Others add some water resistance, and also even waterproofing features to the leather. The choice of which animal leather oil to use will rely on the leather good being oiled, and also preference for its perfect result.

For example, heavier leather oils could be provided on more thick leathers used for hefty jobs, together as occupational boots, some saddlery, and also tool belts. While, finer leathers used for dress shoes and also accessories might benefit from a much lighter oil formula and also a perfect polish. We’ll explore more below.

When to use Leather Oil

When owning a herbal leather good, in ~ some allude it’s most likely it will have to be oiled and also conditioned. This is entirely normal. Animal leather is consisted of of herbal fibers. Over time, exposure come the facets such as heat, sun, dirt, rain, and also grime will draw out few of its natural moisture. This have the right to lead come drying, lightening of the color, and ultimately cracking of the animal leather material.

“Thus, ideal oiling and also conditioning of leather is a great way to preserve leather products for decades.”

Once the product cracks and flakes, it’s weakened and also very difficult to repair. Thus, appropriate oiling and also conditioning of leather is a an excellent way to keep leather items for decades. There space a couple of signs once one could want to oil leather:

Every few months (proactive maintenance)

Ideally, like most things, proactive maintain will assist keep larger issues from coming up, and also prevent leather damages that will need far an ext than simply oiling/conditioning. For items that are provided frequently and also in tough conditions (sun, heat, rain, daily use, etc.), air conditioning every few months deserve to be helpful. For items supplied less often or in lighter conditions, oiling every 6 months to a year must be enough.

It starts to lighten in color

Leather begins to lighten in shade as humidity is lost. If you notification it doing so, it can be a authorize that it demands oiling and also conditioning

It becomes less flexible and somewhat stiff

Once leather loses moisture for a prolonged period the time, the can become stiff, and also even rigid. This is definitely a sign that is have the right to use oil/conditioning

Small cracks start to appear

Once the adaptability is lost, the leather fibers will begin to crack as it’s bent, moved, and used. If cracks appear, it’s a sure authorize the leather is dry and also needs leather oil/conditioning.

It’s reasonably easy to use leather oil. Once familiar with the process, the trickiest component might just be remembering once to do it 🙂

Types of animal leather Oil

Choosing the proper leather oil is an extremely important, and an oil that works great for a specific type of leather can easily damage another. There are several high-quality options available, few of the an ext popular include:

Mink Oil


Saphir leather Conditioner v Mink Oil Base

Mink oil has been provided for century to oil leather. It is a naturally acquired substance, native the mink animal. Mink oil is valued in large part because of it’s unsaturated fatty mountain composition, which makes up around 70% the the oil. This fats room what helps give the leather yarn flexibility. The other 30% the mink oil composition is consisted of of other types of fatty acids.

In more recent times, “Mink oil” has progressed to not just infer organic mink oil, though various other oils similarly produced native other animals such as pigs, and also mixed with various other lubricants.

The oil isn’t as well heavy, when used lightly, and works to gradually penetrate deep right into the leather fibers. It’s is likewise used broadly in the person cosmetic industry, where it’s benefits room realized when used to people as well via cosmetics.

Neatsfoot Oil

Neatsfoot oil is an oil conditioner that’s most commonly associated to be made indigenous the bones and feet that cattle, though can sometimes come from other hoofed animals. As the oil is produced, that is often blended with various other oils and also petroleum-based building materials to produce a conditioner that has actually been used often in oiling leather. Neatsfoot oil is a basic term, so various brands could have very different formulations also though “neatsfoot oil” is in the name.


Neatsfoot Oil – Liberty leather Goods

However, the chemistry composition that neatsfoot oil likewise makes it susceptible to oxidizing over time. This is specifically true because that older leathers. This, using this oil will help condition the animal leather in the short-term, though speed up it’s decomposition in the long-term, making that brittle and also prone to cracking.

Thus, is many cases, it would certainly be recommend to use a different leather oil for any goods that will certainly be maintained for lengthy periods that time. The very same is true for any goods whereby the basic look/finish is to be maintained.


Lexol is one aqueous emulsion (water-based substance) the does not contain any type of silicone or petroleum-based solvents or substances. This help it pass through the leather fibers deeply and also evenly. Lexol likewise is non-toxic, is not flammable, and is no greasy. This renders it a very different animal leather oil/conditioner than most others. The is really gentle, and effective.


Lexol leather Conditioner

The oils provided are held within the water-based emulsion evenly, for this reason when used to animal leather they spread consistently across the surface and into the fibers. Often, leather v Lexol applied does not feel tacky after it dries. Due to the fact that it is for this reason gentle, non-toxic, straightforward to work with, and also leaves great result, Lexol is among the finest leather oils/conditioners because that many types of leather goods. In general, it should not be provided on suede or nubuck leather.


Some people use typical oils such as olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc. While this might include some moisture back into the leather, they can be a tiny too heavy for applications external of saddlery and related uses. Outside of those uses, these heavier oils might oversaturate stain, and also lead to much faster decomposition the the leather fibers than with a more suitable oil.

The ideal Leather Oils

Here are several of the more popular leather oil brands:


This is a good all-around, non-toxic leather oil and conditioner an ideal for many leather uses other than suede and also nubuck. It can likewise be used on finer, more delicate leathers where various other leather oils might be too heavy.

Obenauf’s animal leather Oil

This is a blend of organic oils, propolis (a sticky, glue-like substance developed by bees), and also beeswax. This functions well ~ above medium-duty leathers such as jackets, bags, and also upholstery.

Red soup Heritage Mink Oil

This is a mink oil formula that contains lanolin and silicone, intended greatly for boots. It helps oil and also condition the leather, while also increasing water resistance the the leather’s surface. This would certainly be too hefty an oil for use on finer leathers, though wonderful for casual/hiking/work boot use.

Saphir Medaille d’Or Mink Oil Polish

This is a 100% pure, herbal mink oil formula. The will permeate the animal leather deeply, and also works top top shoes. Among the difficulties of oiling pair of shoes is that part oils will certainly block the leather pores and prevent also application of a quite polish/shine. This formula from Saphir is formulated because that shoes, for this reason is a good choice as soon as using it because that that.

Sof single Mink Oil

This is one inexpensive and also effective oil that will certainly condition and waterproof leather. After applying, it will certainly likely kind a obstacle on the animal leather that will certainly be largely un-removable. Also, the polishing and also shine the the surface will likely be limited. However, for casual boots, occupational boots, some saddlery, and other heavily-used leather, this can be a an excellent option come condition and also waterproof it.

How to use Leather Oil

To moisturize leather and apply animal leather oil, these procedures will assist make the successful:

Prep & Clean

Leather gets dirty over time. It could be indigenous dirt, dust, mud, grime, oil from the skin, food, assorted stains, really anything that gets top top the surface and also into the fibers end time. It’s vital to very first clean the leather, releasing up the dirt and removing it. This will enable the oil to permeate the leather fibers lot better.

“Prep the work-related surface through clearing a work-related area, extending it through a protective class of material…”

Prep the occupational surface by clearing a work area, covering it through a protective great of product if desired (such as plastic or paper), and lay the leather an excellent to it is in cleaned top top top. Next, usage a gentle leather cleaner, such together Lexol’s animal leather cleaner, on the surface.

When selecting a cleaner, be really cautious what’s in it. Some through alcohol will not it is in preferable, together the alcohol will pull moisture the end from inside the leather; opposing of what we desire to do. Also, some cleaners have a an extremely high pH, which could damage the leather. A much more neutral pH cleaner is most recommended, so it’s tenderness on the material.

Apply the cleaner come a lint-free cloth; this might be a microfiber cloth, or a noodle cloth. Gently rub it in small circles end the whole leather surface, all the method to the edges. It’s important the surface ar is cleaned every over, as it will take top top a contempt darker color once the oil is included later. Thus, any type of spots that aren’t cleaned fine will likewise have a different color later. The goal is to clean evenly, therefore the shade stays even.

Once the cleaner has been applied, let it dry per the instructions from the manufacturer. Commonly for larger pieces, overnight is best, as that allows enough time because that it to extensively dry. Many factors have the right to influence dried time, such as leather thickness, exactly how much cleaner to be applied, ambient temperature, and ambient humidity.

Apply leather Oil – Moisturize the Leather

Next, we’ll use the leather oil. Obtain a lint free cloth, this might be a microfiber cloth, or a noodle cloth. Use some oil to it, and also gently obstacle it in small circles end the leather surface. Ensure all locations of the surface have actually oil applied.

Apply in irradiate coats. The leather will certainly darken slightly together the oil is applied, together there is now much more moisture in the fibers. If you feeling it demands a the majority of oil, apply in thin, light layers and permit to dry prior to doing it again. This will aid ensure that no too lot oil walk on, which could clog the leather pores and also prevent proper finishing later (as well together a tacky, greasy feel).

Once the oil has actually been applied, let it dry per the instructions from the manufacturer. Comparable to the cleaner, generally for bigger pieces, overnight is best, as that permits enough time for it to extensively dry. Plenty of factors can influence dry time right here too, such together leather thickness, just how much cleaner to be applied, approximately temperature, and also ambient humidity.

Apply Leather end up (if desired)

Once the leather oil has actually been applied and dried, the leather has been oiled and also conditioned. If you’d like, a leather finish can be applied. The leather complete is normally a slim layer that a safety substance that seals in the leather underneath and protects it from dirt and water. The complete can also add visual appeal, be it a matte or glowing look.

There are some finishes that room synthetic, such together acrylic. These form a waterproof seal, i beg your pardon is preferable for some uses, though as whole not as preferable as other options. The acrylic surface will make it hard to problem the leather in the future, since it’s essentially a plastic coating sealing in the leather underneath.

More recommended would certainly be a natural finish such as beeswax. This will defend the leather underneath, though additionally can be buffed away later if needed, come apply more conditioner in the future. Also, finishes will normally wear away over time simply from usage of the leather good. A natural end up will be simpler to occupational with in the long-run, plus, it often looks much far better than acrylic finishes.

Further, many shoe polishes space finishes with color pigments that carefully match the pair of shoes they’re being supplied on. This both help protect the leather underneath, while also hiding boy scratches and also blemishes, due to the color in the finish.

Once you have actually a end up chosen, apply some come a lint-free cloth. This might be a microfiber towel or a noodle cloth. Then, gently apply in small circles throughout the entire surface of the leather. Ensure the totality surface has been same treated. Then, check the instructions the came through the finish you’re using, and let it dried per the manufacturer’s recommended dry time. This might be a couple of minutes, or hours, depending on the finish.

Once finished, use a clean, lint-free cloth and buff out the polish. Use tiny circles, lightly rubbing everywhere the surface. Together you perform this, the surface ar will start to take on an even tone. If you’re making use of a shiny polish, the surface will start to have actually a sheen and shine to it. Great! almost there. Periodically inspect the cloth to ensure it’s not too covered in finish. If that is, use another clean cloth. The goal of buffing is to even the surface texture and also remove overabundance polish. A clean towel will be an ext effective than a dirty one once doing this.

After the surface has been buffed, you’re all done! The leather an excellent is looking great and ready to it is in used.

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Common leather Oil Questions

What is the best oil because that leather?

The ideal oil for leather will mainly depend ~ above the type of leather being oiled. That said, generally more natural, tenderness oils will be the ideal for any form of leather over artificial oils. Because that example, petroleum-based oils deserve to have harsh long-term results on leather, help them degrade faster. Neatsfoot oil is one such leather oil.