Ever so often, leather is considered to be a luxury. But this is not because it is an expensive fabric. Leather has connotations linked to its texture and longevity.
But like any other material, the right cleaning techniques are a must in order to maintain its structure and suppleness. Besides getting a professional’s help, people use coconut oil on leather to maintain its integrity. But is it advisable? Should you use coconut oil on leather? Let us find out!
Is Coconut Oil Safe on Leather?
Coconut oil has been a controversial technique, especially for leather and faux leather. There are two sides to the story, and let us consider both the parts for a better understanding.
Advantages of using Coconut oil on Leather
After a point in time, leather gets prone to cracking. Moreover, it might even lose out its shine due to constant usage. Coconut oil can successfully restore that.
As coconut is a household item, it is easier to find without any additional spending.
If your leather shoes or leather sofas have hardened over time, a layer of coconut oil can soften them up.
It is also useful as a leather conditioner as it is hypoallergenic in nature. There are no side-effects due to its moisture-wicking property.
Lastly, it helps in restoring the leather’s shine, making it look as good as new.
Disadvantages of using Coconut oil on Leather
On the other hand, people often consider leather to have more ill-effects on leather.
Firstly, like any other oil like mink or pine, coconut oil will darker the leather’s surface. If you have lighter shoes or any leather upholstery, slathering it with coconut oil can darken the texture, giving it a different shade altogether.
Even though the leather will absorb the coconut oil at once, it might resurface leather, making the surface appear oily and wet.
After lathering the leather with coconut oil, you might see a renewed shine. But this will not last long as you might notice the upheaving of oil spots at certain places.
Hence, it can be concluded that regardless of certain disadvantages and drawbacks, it is safe to use coconut oil on leather if used in the right manner.
How to Clean and Condition Leather with Coconut Oil?
Before you start applying coconut oil to your leather shoes and furniture, you must know its subtle techniques. More amount of coconut oil can ruin the texture, and too little will not bring in any results. So, read ahead and learn how to clean and condition leather with coconut oil.
This is a primary method, and you will not require paraphernalia of assortments. Most of the items will be available in your house itself.
What will you need?
- A clean cloth
- Coconut oil
- Horsehair Brush
Start off by removing the laces of your leather shoes. As the shoelaces will have varying fabric, they might not be suitable for coconut oil. You can clean them separately while you condition your leather shoes.
Take a clean cloth and wipe the shoes. Ensure that the piece of cloth is not too damp
Clean every nook and corner of the shoes. Cover the insoles, outsoles, and exterior surfaces.
If there are any packed dirt or grime traces, you can add a few drops of water over it to clean it thoroughly. You can also use Q-tips or toothpicks to clean the hard-to-reach places. You must also clean the shoes’ interior for a better application.
Once the shoes are entirely cleaned, let them dry till the surface is dry. Do not apply the coconut oil on damp shoes.
Pour the coconut oil into a microwave-safe container and pop it in for about thirty seconds.
Once the oil has melted, start applying it to the shoes with your fingers. As coconut oil is not harmful to human skin, you need not worry about any skin allergies.
Lather the entire shoe structure with the oil. Ensure that there is a thin layer of coconut oil over it. Do not apply in the same place more than once.
After applying on the exterior surface and the eyelets, you can start using the coconut oil on the tongue of the shoe as well as the interior.
Be gentle while applying, and do not press the oil on the leather. You can rub the oil in a circular motion for better absorption. Apply the oil in the toe box as well, along with the heel area.
After the entire shoe gets covered with coconut oil, let it dry for a few minutes. Once the shoe has dried up, and the fabric has absorbed the oil, brush it with a horsehair brush to give it a nice buff.
Leave the shoes for an hour or two. After that, you can polish it as usual, and your leather shoes are ready to be worn!
You can create a homemade leather conditioner using coconut oil for your leather shoes.
What will you need?
- Coconut oil
- A clean cloth
- Horsehair brush
Take a clean bowl and mix water and vinegar in 1:1 proportion.
Once it is mixed thoroughly, dip a piece of clean cloth into the solution and clean your leather shoes with it. Ensure that all the areas are covered.
Place some coconut oil in a container and heat it for a few seconds in the microwave.
After the oil has liquified, start applying it with your fingers. You need not use any gloves for this.
Apply a thin layer on the shoes and rub the oil in with gentle circular motions.
Cover the exterior, interior, insoles, outsoles, as well as the eyelets for the same. Do not forget to remove the laces before the application.
Furthermore, let the shoes absorb the oil and let it sit for a few minutes. Using a horsehair brush, brush the boots properly.
Polish it to bring in some extra shine.
Does Coconut Oil Waterproof Leather Boots?
Leather has a porous nature, due to which it can absorb moisture quickly. Moreover, once the leather has absorbed the water, it will stiffen up after it gets dried up. You might also see the formation of cracks soon after.
This is why leather can never be 100% waterproof. But can the application of coconut oil waterproof the boots?
Well, it is safe to say that coconut oil does add a waterproofing coating over the shoes. But this only lasts for a few days. Suppose your occupation demands you to work in water-laded areas like a construction area or forest regions. In that case, you might want to try out different techniques for waterproofing your leather shoes.
You can do so by mixing coconut oil with other ingredients.
What will you need?
⅛ cup of Coconut oil
¼ cup of Beeswax
½ tablespoon of Carnauba wax
Beeswax is known for its waterproofing effects, and carnauba wax makes up an excellent waterproofing coating.
Heat some water in a pan.
Place a bowl in the boiling water and pour some beeswax to melt it.
Slowly add the coconut oil and carnauba wax to the beeswax and mix it thoroughly.
Gently remove the bowl from the water and let it stay at an average temperature for a few minutes. Pop it in the refrigerator for the mixture to get a solid structure.
Clean the boots with a wet cloth. Remove the laces before applying the prepared solution.
After the shoes have dried up, start applying the waterproof coating to your leather shoes.
Take a clean cloth and rub it over the solidified mixture. In case the mixture is too thickened to rub against the fabric, melt its upper part with a hairdryer.
Rub the cloth all over the leather boots. Cover the exterior, interior, as well as seams. You can go for two coatings but ensure that there is enough interval between the two.
Once the coatings have been applied, dry the shoes with a heat gun. This will allow the wax to melt quickly and get absorbed instantaneously.
Clean the shoes with a cloth and polish them for a more refined finishing.
Benefits of Oiling your Leather Shoes
Be it coconut oil or any other leather oil, oiling and conditioning leather shoes are a must. The following are some of the reasons why you should not miss any conditioning sessions for your leather boots:
Bring the Shine Back
Even though leather is a durable fabric, it can lose its physical attributes over a period of time. This can also be due to frequent usages. Regardless of the reasons, the shine and luster could be lost in the process.
However, with proper conditioning, you can bring back the shine. Conditioning works on the leather’s surface by adding shine to it, making it look as good as new. As the oils get absorbed in the leather, the outer texture.
Waterproof your Shoes
Besides the shine, oiling and conditioning help in waterproofing the leather. Even though leather is water-resistant up to a certain extent, it is not entirely waterproof due to its porous texture.
This can be altered by conditioning the shoes. It can either be with a leather conditioner or any oil containing wax. As the oil gets absorbed into the material, it forms a layer over it, making it difficult for the moisture to degrade the fabric.
Taking proper care of leather boots has its own set of benefits. Not only does it elevate the physical appearance, but it also helps increase its overall lifetime.
When leather boots are conditioned and cleaned regularly, it reduces the chances of wear and tears on the shoes. You can use your boots for an extended period without compromising on the material or the looks.
Lastly, conditioning your leather boots can bring back the original appearance of the shoes. Over time, your shoes might get covered with cracks. This can be avoided or removed with a proper leather conditioner.
Other Oils you can Use on Leather.
Besides the regular coconut oil, you can utilize multiple oils on leather, like the following:
Mink oil is considered to be one of the best oils for leather. It is made from mink animals. As it has unsaturated fatty acid compositions, it provides flexibility to the leather.
As it has a thin structure, the oil does not feel heavy on leather. When it is applied to the shoes, it gets absorbed quickly.
It helps in keeping the shoe water-proof. Moreover, it nourishes its texture, giving it a renewed feel.
Neatsfoot oil is made from the feet and bones of cattle. The oil generated is mixed with other oils or petroleum substances. This is converted into a conditioner that can be used on leather material.
As neatsfoot oil has a unique chemical composition, it makes the leather oxidize over time. In other words, such oil will condition the leather on a short-term basis. If you are looking for long-term results, you might want to go for different kinds of leather oils.
Other General Oils
People also use other types of oil like canola oil or vegetable oil to condition their leather boots. Even though these oil types can retain moisture and suppleness, they are cumbersome and cause stains.
Leather is a complicated fabric as it has several types, varying as per the structure, formation, and requirements. We think it is safe to conclude that even though coconut oil can be used to oil and condition leather, there are better alternatives in the market that can bring better results.
But whatever option you go for, make sure you utilize the correct techniques and clean your shoes on a daily basis.
I am a registered professional nurse with experience of 10+ years under my belt. I graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Since then, I have been beneficial for various rehabilitative and critical medical situations. I work with Feetfitness.com Team with researching foot problems and assists them by providing my expertise in the best footwear for different medical conditions. I am also instrumental to the group by helping in test, compile, and present the best footwear for professionals & everyday uses