Best Oil for Leather Review
Leather has the potential to last a lifetime, but with regular exposure to outside elements, like water and salt, it will quickly wrinkle, scuff, and dry. Don’t bring shame to this naturally brute material by hiding your leather goods deep in the bowels of your closet. Regular applications of leather oil will keep your skin-based footwear, accessories, and upholstery looking youthful and soft. Read along to discover our top ten leather oils and then dive into our comprehensive buying guide to make the most out of your pick.
1. Obenauf’s Leather Oil – Editor’s Choice
|Comes with dauber||Initially darkens leather|
|Wide range of applications|
2. Bickmore Neatsfoot Oil Leather Conditioner – Best Budget Option
|Low price for 32 ounces|
3. Huberd’s Shoe Oil – Old Time Favorite
|Softens and preserves||Darkens leather|
|Contains waterproofing ingredients|
|U.S. company since 1929|
4. Red Wing Heritage Mink Oil – Easiest to Apply
|Comes in a retro tin||Exclusively for footwear|
|Easy to apply|
|Softens and fortifies|
5. Sof Sole Mink Oil – Most Waterproof Barrier
|Pure mink oil||A noticable smell|
|Easy to apply|
|Creates a waterproof barrier|
6. Fiebing’s Golden Mink Oil Paste – Best Treatment for Both Leather and Vinyl
|Includes silicone lanolin, and vitamin E||Packaging is not airtight|
|Made in the U.S.A.|
|Usable on leather and vinyl|
7. Angelus Prime Neatsfoot Oil – Most Convenient Liquid Application
If you live somewhere with high humidity or just subject your leatherwear to intense situations, it’s a wise idea to keep a bottle of this low-maintenance product on hand.
|All-natural neatsfoot formula||Does not penetrate deep|
|Gently darkens oil|
8. Red Wing Heritage All Natural Boot Oil-U – Best Liquid Red Wing Oil
|A dry oil-free finish||May dent in the mail|
|Made with oil and pine pitch|
|Comes it a large vintage-looking can|
9. JobSite Prime Neatsfoot Oil – Best Leather Oil for Work Boots
|Remedies cracks and scuffs||Strong smell|
10. Kiwi Mink Oil – Best Mink Oil for Suede
|Mink oil, silicone, and lanolin|
|Conditions and softens|
|Easy to apply|
Still wondering what to look for in a quality leather conditioner? In the next section, we give you the rundown on common leather oil ingredients and the quality results they bring about.
What to Look for in a Leather Oil
As you’ve probably already noticed, leather oils consist of either neatsfoot or mink oil. Neatsfoot oil is made from the feet and shin bones of cattle. Meanwhile, mink oil is made from the fat that is removed from mink pelts. Both of these oils are ideal for restoring and conditioning leather, but each has its own proven perks. For one, neatsfoot oil is well-known for its ability to hydrate and add shine to leather products. On the downside, it tends to darken light leathers and can even break down natural and synthetic threads. On the other hand, mink oil is ideal for waterproofing and added protection. However, it fails to penetrate deeply and needs to be reapplied more frequently than neatsfoot oil.
Leather Oil Additives
Both mink and neatsfoot oil come in both pure and compound forms. It is important to note that neatsfoot oil is often added to petroleum products and other oils. Many of these additives are harmful to leather, as they can actually break down its natural fibers. With that said, there are also several valuable additives that are added to leather oil in order to increase its overall performance. These include:
Pine Pitch and Tar
Light-colored pine pitch is often added to mink oil in order to enhance leather’s naturally protective barrier. Pine pitch helps improve the waterproof qualities of leather. Since it is a naturally derived substance that contains no synthetic additives, it gets two thumbs up in our book.
Pine tar is a bit different from pine pitch, though it undoubtedly comes from the same tree. It’s basically a natural preservative that is often used to treat leathers. Nevertheless, it is far less common than pine pitch.
Beeswax is often combined with mink or neatsfoot oil to make it thick and spreadable. But this all-natural product is more than just a base for oil-based leather conditioners. In fact, it helps waterproof leather and fortifies leather’s exterior fibers. Not to mention, it gives it a faint yet noticeable sheen.
Lanolin is a natural oil that is derived from sheep wool. It is a popular additive to skin salves and lotions, as it naturally softens and enhances the flexibility of skin. With that said, lanolin makes leather feel more delicate and pliant. Keep in mind that lanolin is extremely potent and may take away from a hardy patina you’re looking to preserve.
Some leather oil manufacturers toss a bit of silicone into their mixes. While it may seem contradictory to combine a synthetic substance with otherwise all-natural ingredients, silicone has some powerful waterproofing characteristics. As such, it yields excellent results on smooth leather boots and other outdoor accessories.
Vitamin E is applauded as an anti-aging serum for skin. As such, it comes as no surprise that it’s also super beneficial to leather. A little bit of Vitamin E goes a long way to moisturize leather and prevent future damage.
Propolis is yet another honeybee-derived material. It is a resin that comes from honeycombs. It’s great for filling in scuffs and indents on the surface of well-worn leather. In fact, it acts as a natural varnish.
Video Tutorial: Leather Oil DIY
Benefits of Leather Oil
While we explored the various benefits of individual ingredients, it’s important to look at all of the potential perks of leather oil.
Most people find themselves searching for leather oil when their animal hide products become noticeably worn. Scuffs, wrinkles, stains, and discoloration are just a few of the common blemishes we see on old or abused leather.
A high-quality leather oil can erase years of use and exposure to the elements. What’s more, it can penetrate deep below the surface to hydrate and restore leather’s internal fibers. As a result, oil-treated leather often appears darker, more uniform, and more supple than leather that has been left to age on its own.
On top of that, some leather oils can help soften leather fibers in newly manufactured animal hide products. As such, many people apply them to new boots or gloves in an effort to break them in faster.
High-quality leather products have the potential to last for hundreds of years. In fact, some of the oldest manmade artifacts are made from well-preserved animal hide. Regular and consistent oil rubs help extend the life of leather products, helping you to get the most out of your money while reducing your household waste.
While leather is naturally durable and rugged, oil can help fortify it against harsh elements like water, salt, and dirt. I fact, regular oiling ensures that your leather goods can handle daily wear and tear. Not only will your leather products deteriorate slower, but they will also maintain a like-new exterior.
If your leather products are looking worn and tired, it may be time to give them an oily massage. Seriously! A well-made leather oil can dramatically extend the life of your animal hide products. Not to mention, it will have them looking better and feeling softer than ever before!