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Saddle Soap Alternatives For Leather

If you want to clean some leather items around your house, workplace, or car but do not immediately have leather saddle soap, you should consider some helpful saddle soap alternatives for your leather.

Saddle soap is a mixture of neatsfoot oil, soap, and beeswax that has been used for decades to clean oil, dirt, and sweat from the surface of the leather and condition it. Although saddle soap is a good product for cleaning and preserving leather, it can be expensive and hard to find a good one.

I am going to share a few good substitutes you can use instead of saddle soap which will help you to clean your leather shoes, jackets, boots, and even couches.

 Saddle Soap Alternatives:

  • Dawn Soap
  • White Vinegar and olive oil
  • Dubbin
  • Mink oil
  • Glycerin
  • Wipes
  • White vinegar and Boiled Linseed oil

Saddle Soap Alternatives for Leather ( That WORK ) 

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I will always advise you to clean your priceless leather items with properly made leather cleaners, but I recognize that not everyone will be able to do this.

Some of you may be searching for a chemical-free method to clean your leather goods, while others may just be on a tight budget.

Whatever the situation, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite alternatives to saddle soap or leather cleansers.

Dawn soap:

Leather cleaning is an art that requires the appropriate products. You can damage your leather items by using the wrong products to clean them. It’s widely agreed that the Dawn soap is the best cleaner and gentle enough to clean the leather without damaging it.

If you want to make your leather cleaner, create a solution of lukewarm water and Dawn soap by mixing them equally.  Now take a soft cloth or a towel dipped in the solution and carefully scrub on the surface of the leather. Hard scrubbing can cause permanent damage to the leather. When you’re done, thoroughly dry the spot with a fresh cloth.

White Vinegar and Linseed Oil:

Linseed oil and Vinegar are household items that are not only useful for cooking but can also be used to clean leather items.

Linseed oil can also be used to condition leather, while white vinegar helps break up filth and grime. A mixture of white vinegar and linseed oil to restore car interiors,  leather furniture, or shoes to their former prestige is a great alternative to using saddle soap to clean leather.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Linseed oil
  • White Vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Two clean soft rags

How to make and use?

Measure equal quantities of white vinegar and linseed oil each in a separate bowl. Boil the linseed oil at least for 3 minutes and place it at room temperature to cool down. Then, mix white vinegar and the boiled linseed oil into a spray bottle (it might be a clean recycled spray bottle) and give it a good shake to mix up both ingredients. Now, spray the solution on the surface of your leather item and gently spread it using a clean soft cloth. Allow it to settle for 1 or 2 min and then remove it with another clean cloth. Buff! Make sure the leather item is free of any oil traces.


Dubbin can be used as a substitute for saddle soap to moisturize and condition leather items. The most amazing leather care balm, called Dubbin, is created from almond oil, beeswax, and other organic ingredients.

It is superior to other leather treatments or sprays since it is absorbed into the leather, nourishing it and rehydrating tired leather items to keep them looking their best. Dubbin is suitable for different types of leather including polished leather, waxed leather, and calfskin. Do not use Dubbin on any crushed Nubuck leather or suede.

Mink Oil:

Mink oil is a stable oil that can be stored for years and is commonly used to moisturize the leather.  Mink oil is produced by collecting animal hides and removing the fat from the hides. The amount of free fatty acids is subsequently decreased through rendering, which uses a high-temperature procedure (230 to 240 degrees), and saponification (turning lipids into soap or alcohol). This leads to the oil being produced free of any impurities.

Mink oil has several significant advantages for those who work with leather. The most well-known benefit is how it functions as a conditioner for leather;  applying some oil to your leather softens it greatly. In addition, Mink Oil can be waterproof, prevent cracking, and protect against UV rays ( Ultraviolet rays).

Pros and Cons of Mink Oil for Leather:

Pros of Mink Oil for Leather

  1. Moisturises leather, making it soft to touch
  2. Rehydrates leather item that has lost their oil
  3.  It is non-toxic to use
  4.  It is Inexpensive compared to other cleaners 

Cons of Mink Oil for Leather

  1. Mink oil can darken the leather
  2.  It is a by-product of the mink fur industry
  3. Not for all types of leather; do not apply it on nubuck leather and rough-out boots


It requires a lot of investment, energy, and time to get the best leather items, and normally, you would continuously need to take very good care of it. There are a few human skincare products you can use for your leather goods but glycerin is an important item that you can utilize.  

You can use glycerin in various forms such as pure glycerin, glycerin conditioners, and glycerin soaps to clean and hydrate your leather items and make them water-resistant. However, it will have certain drawbacks, such as making the leather moldy and sticky, which can subsequently make the leather item attract and quickly accumulate a lot of dirt.

Pros & Cons of Glycerin for leather:

  • Glycerin is good for deep cleaning of leather.
  • Pure glycerin is colorless
  • It helps to make leather items water resistant
  • Glycerin is sticky and acidic
  • It can lead to leather mold
  • Not recommended in humid conditions


Wipes help you to clean and moisturize the surface of your leather items. A wipe can be made of natural or synthetic material and pre-soaked with a liquid used for the conditioning of leather goods. They are roughly 6″x”6 in size, are usually packed in a plastic tube dispenser, and cost between $6-$10 per pack.

If you wish to conveniently maintain your larger leather items, leather wipes can be useful. They can be used to clean, condition, and protect leather products from UV rays, depending on the recipe.

Wipes for the Car:

If you have ever been in a car with leather seats that haven’t been properly maintained, you’ll notice that the seats are dry to the touch, peeling, or cracked. Based on the “prevention as cure” school of thought, leather wipes for cars are a useful solution. Leather wipes can be either leather cleaning wipes or leather disinfection wipes. They must be safe and non-toxic because they are applied to items in the interior of cars.

Wipes for Shoes:

Wipes for shoes are possibly the wipes that get presented to the most soil and grime because shoes are generally exposed to the outdoors. Since the ground is rougher than the living room or inside a car, shoes are likely to get scrapped.

Therefore, leather shoe wipes must be able to clean tough stains and scuffs which may develop from regular use.

White Vinegar and Olive Oil:

White Vinegar is the most common form of vinegar and can be found in almost every home. Since vinegar, especially distilled white vinegar, has so many uses, I suppose our parents and their parents before them utilized it as well. Now it’s time for us to discover something about vinegar, one of the most useful household cleaning essentials.

Vinegar has a lot of uses and is an eco-friendly substitute for many chemically produced and store-bought cleaners and saddle soaps. It must be less expensive as compared to other leather cleaners as well.

The usefulness of olive oil on leather has yielded conflicting results. In short, the use of olive oil alone is not good for leather. However, a mixture of olive oil and white vinegar can be used in place of saddle soap. Here’s a complete guide on how to prepare and use this mixture;

Ingredients you need:

  • White vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Soft  and clean clothes

 How to make and use:

 Measure ½ cup of Olive oil and ¼ cup of White Vinegar and pour them into a clean spray bottle. Mix both ingredients simply by shaking the bottle. Put a modest quantity of the blend over your leather surface and rub it with a delicate clean cloth. Repeat this procedure until the grime you’re removing from your leather is gone. After thoroughly cleaning the surface, the vinegar combination will evaporate, leaving just small traces of olive oil on the leather. Buff the leather with the second dry, clean towel until the olive oil has been evenly absorbed, nourishing and softening the leather.

In conclusion, some common substitutes for saddle soap include dawn soap and white vinegar. These can be blended with glycerin, mink oil, and other moisturizing oils like dubbin.

 It has been demonstrated that each of these ingredients works well to clean leather goods without causing any harm.

Some of these elements might help preserve the leather and prolong its fresh appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What can I use instead of saddle soap?

It is one of the most frequently asked questions by consumers about substitutes for saddle soap. Different products can be used as an alternative to saddle soap such as Glycerin, dubbin, and Dawn soap but Mink oil can do a much better job in conditioning the leather, due to the protective waxes that are also left behind, which will keep your boots looking brand-new and shining.

How do I clean leather cheaply?

Dawn soap is the cheapest alternative to saddle soap. Instead of Dawn soap, you can use any other mild dishwashing liquid with lukewarm water to clean the leather. 

Can I use Dubbin on any leather?

Dubbin is suitable for most leathers including polished leather, waxed leather, and calfskin.

Should I use olive oil on leather?

Olive oil can be used to cure tiny scratches and restore the color of the leather. It works on several items, including shoes, couches, and chairs.

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