How to Use Neatsfoot Oil on Leather

Caring for your tack the right way will extend its life, and with the right product at hand, you’ll find that your saddles, bridles, boots, and other leather goods take on a supple feel and exhibit a soft sheen. Not sure how to use neatsfoot oil on leather? By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be able to call yourself an expert!

Why Neatsfoot Oil Works so Well

Take a look at the many leather conditioners on the market, and you’ll notice that only a few of them are all-natural. Neatsfoot oil is one of these.  It lubricates the minuscule fibers inside the leather’s structure, helping to prevent stiffness and squeaking. While you may not need to use it at all on brand new tack, it does an outstanding job of restoring suppleness to old leather. Neatsfoot oil also has the advantage of remaining in a liquid state at room temperature, making it very easy to apply thin layers.

The fact that neatsfoot oil has been popular since the 18th century speaks to its usefulness; it is such an effective emollient that it was once used in beauty aids including moisturizers!

Using Neatsfoot Oil on Leather: The Right Way to Do It

There’s a right way and a wrong way to use Neatsfoot oil on leather. First, we’ll talk about the wrong way: never apply it in thick, heavy layers as this will certainly attract dirt and dust, and as it will cause a marked change in the color of your leather.

Now for the right way: use this stuff in tiny amounts for best results. Many people who dislike using neatsfoot oil on leather don’t like it because they’ve had the experience of using far too much at once. Get a very soft cloth and dab a few drops of neatsfoot oil onto it. Rub it rapidly into the leather, covering as much area as you can with that small amount. Keep adding more in tiny increments until you have covered the entire item.

Once you are finished, take another soft cloth, preferably a highly absorbent one, and rub briskly to remove excess oil and bring out a soft shine. Done the right way, the item will dry quickly, will look marvelous, and will have a nice, water-resistant finish.

It takes some practice to use Neatsfoot oil on leather, so consider using an old piece of tack to perfect your technique before using this powerful moisturizing agent on your favorite saddle or bridle.

As a bonus, you can use Neatsfoot oil as an alternative to furniture polish. Apply just a tiny amount, rub it in, and buff it to bring out an incredible shine.

When not to Use Neatsfoot Oil

If you have light or russet colored tack, you may want to choose a different type of leather conditioner to use on it, since neatsfoot oil does contribute to darkening, and will change the color of your leather. If you’re not sure about how it will work on the items you want to condition, apply a tiny dab to a hidden area to see what will happen.