Mink Oil vs. Leather Conditioner: Which One Should I Use for My Boots?


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Buying qualitative clothes and shoes is a good investment. However, their maintenance is even more important. In addition to cleaning them, which should be a priority, conditioning them is also  a crucial step. In this way, you will increase their longevity and their aesthetic look. 

There have always been and still are various products available on the market used for cleaning and conditioning clothes and shoes. However, you cannot use whatever comes to hand; you should carefully choose them. 

What Is Mink Oil?


Vegetable and animal oils are widely used in many industries, including the clothes industry. One of the most popular oils is mink oil, though not as widely used as olive or coconut oil.
Mink oil, as you can guess from the name, is made from mink fat. It contains up to 20% triglycerides of palmitoleic acid, an acid that is not found in vegetable oil. 

What is mink oil used for?

Mink oil is widely used in quite a few industries. Thanks to its composition and especially palmitoleic acid, it can be used as a moisturizer. Mink oil is part of the skincare routine for many; it keeps the skin fresh and healthy when used properly and in moderation, of course. Additionally, it contains protective properties for the skin, especially for the more sensitive skin types that might get damaged easily due to various factors.

Mink oil is also used for the hair; it nourishes the hair and scalp, gives shine to the hair, protects them from possible damage, soothes damaged hair from harsh and dry products.

Mink oil has been proven to be quite effective, even for healing wounds that are not very serious. Additionally, it can be used as a hand cleanser because it does not dry the skin as it happens with many types of soaps or detergents.

One of the most popular usages of mink oil is its usage on leather items. The history of using mink oil is quite old and relates to farmers, construction workers, and similar physical workers who began using mink oil to protect their leather boots when they were damaged or very dry.

What does mink oil do for leather?

Mink oil has quite an effect on leather because it lubricates its surface and does not allow it to be damaged or get dried too much. Leather products, especially boots, contain an amount of oil when produced. Over time and in different work environments, sometimes due to dust, the oil contained in the leather composition is lost. Thus, leather gets cracked and damaged.

Mink oil helps prevent such damage and makes leather boots (and other leather products) more durable. Not to mention the fact that another benefit of using mink oil in leather boots is that it makes them waterproof. This does not mean that it magically changes the boots from non-waterproof to waterproof, but it helps prevent the ingress of water inside.

How long does it take for mink oil to dry?

Once mink oil is applied to your leather boots, it is best to let them dry for up to 24 hours. The longer the oil stays in the boots, the more effective it will be.

How often should you apply mink oil to leather boots?

It is suggested that mink oil be used regularly but not more often than after every two weeks. Although it is effective and useful for leather boots, over-usage is not recommended. 

What Is Leather Conditioner?


Similar to oils, a leather conditioner is a product used to moisturize the leather. Leather as a material contains an amount of oil that gets lost over time. This, along with the dust and other factors, causes the leather to crack. The application of leather conditioner helps the leather fibers to recover the right amount of oil and, consequently, prevent cracks.

What is the leather conditioner used for?

Leather conditioner can be used for leather boots or other leather items you own. By applying the conditioner, you help prevent the cracking of the leather and you give the shine and freshness that your leather boots were missing. 

What does a leather conditioner do for leather?

The effect of a leather conditioner on leather is similar to the effect of mink oil. It replaces the oil that leather itself contains on its fibers. This way, when the leather oil is lost over time, from excessive sun exposure, or other factors, the conditioner gets into the leather fibers and prevents cracking.

 To add to that, the conditioner gives more shine and preserves the color of the boots (or other leather items).

How long does it take for the leather conditioner to dry?

You are advised to apply leather conditioner in thin layers because, in that manner, you won’t add too much, and it will dry way faster. After the conditioner is applied, use a dry cloth to spread the conditioner over the boots. You will notice that the drier the boots, the quicker they will absorb the conditioner. You can still add conditioner as needed. It will only take about five minutes for the conditioner to dry, and you are good to go.

Should you condition new leather boots?

Leather boots are quite resistant to damage and do not get dirty too easily. In fact, when they are brand new, they contain a certain amount of oil in their fibers. For this reason, a good old water cleaning will be enough. However,  after a period of time, when you start to notice that the shine of the boots has disappeared and they have started to get damaged, you can start using a leather conditioner. In that case, you should check for the date they were produced (not bought); if they were manufactured months ago, you might as well start using the conditioner even if you bought them recently because their natural oil has already evaporated. 

Mink Oil vs. Leather Conditioner: Which Should You Choose?

When you find yourself being in a dilemma between using mink oil or leather conditioner, one thing you can do to ease your selection process is to consider their specific properties. Both mink oil and leather conditioner get into leather fibers and lubricate them. Remember that mink oil is a product used in some industries, and its properties differ from the leather conditioner. 

Mink oil gives the leather a darker color, but on the other hand, protects it for a longer time from damage or dirt. The leather conditioner does not change the color of the leather, but it protects it for a shorter period of time.

Your leather items need to be maintained regularly and carefully. You will not spend much time, energy (nor money) on their maintenance. Just remember to choose the products that suit you best for boots and other leather items. With mink oil and/or leather conditioner, they will have protection from the weather, dirt, and other factors. How well they will shine and look beautiful!


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