Either you’ve neglected your leather to the point where you’re desperate for something that will bring it back to life, or else you just purchased a new leather item and are taking the proper steps to ensure that it stays looking brand new.
Whatever your reasons may be, you find yourself here, looking for answers.
And here you’ll find them!
Check out our handy guide below that will help you find the best leather conditioner for your needs. Whether it is a pair of old shoes, a new leather jacket, your car interior or a leather belt that you found at a garage sale, we help you find the right products to care for all of your leather goods.
Know the Difference
There is a difference between cleaning your leather and conditioning it, so make sure you read this part if you are new to leather care products:
- Conditioner. This will keep the leather soft, supple and it helps to prevent cracks, but it is not meant for removing dirt, oil or stains. They come in creams or milk.
- Cleaner. Cleaners, on the other hand, do remove dirt, oil, and stains. These usually come in spray bottles and you’ll also find a few solid soaps that you will need to lather.
- Polish. For a high sheen and squeaky-clean look, a good polish does the trick. Typically, polishes are used on shoes or saddles.
- Sealer. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to weatherproof your leather with a good sealer. This will protect is from the elements (rain, snow, etc.), but remember that it’s not always safe to assume that you can use a sealer on any product.
Before You Use a Conditioner
Before you take a conditioner to your leather, you’ll need to clean it.
As we mentioned, a conditioner is not meant for cleaning, so you’ll need to make sure that the leather surface is already clean (free of dirt, grime, and oil) before you take a conditioner to it.
Also, prior to using any cleaners, conditioners, polishes or sealers, make sure you read the label!
Some types of leather require different care than others (take suede or nubuck, for example) and it’s not always a “one product fits all” solution.
Remember that some lighter creams and milk may discolor darker leather or vice versa, so make sure to read everything before you use the product and test on a small, hidden area of the leather before you rub down the whole piece.
Top 10 Leather Conditioners Complete Chart
The Right Cleaning Utensil
What should you use to apply the leather conditioner?
While your first thought is to probably find an old, worn out towel, you might want to think again.
Some fabrics and materials will leave behind small fibers, and while these won’t damage the leather, they are rather unsightly.
Look for smooth cotton rags, microfiber rags or even sponges are an excellent choice when it comes to cleaning and conditioning your leather products.
Remember not to re-use the same cloth over and over again. It’s best to wash the cloth between uses or if you have a stockpile of old t-shirts and clothes, just cut them into smaller pieces so they don’t go to waste.
Top 5 Best Leather Conditioner Reviews
The best leather conditioner on our list is definitely that of Lord Leather.
This non-toxic leather balm formula will work to relax stiff leather and bring it back to its original glory (well, near original, but you get the idea!)
Not only does it condition and soften, but it also acts as a natural water repellent that will seal moisture out.
This is safe for most leather products (apart from nubuck and suede) including saddles, gloves, purses and bags, jackets, belts, car seats, or any other leather surface that needs a little TLC.
This product is 100% Made in the USA and the family-owned company still makes and packages their product, which was designed by the current owner’s grandfather as a way for soldiers to condition their leather boots with a product that wouldn’t cause the boots catch fire (most conditioners back in the day were solvent-based which made the boots more flammable).
You are investing in a quality product and keeping the business local. A win for everyone!
Taking it down a notch in price, we have the Leather Shines conditioner.
What can we say about it? There’s not much info about the product (in fact, it’s hard to find leather products that give you details about what is used to make them) other than it is also 100% Made in the USA and has been around 60 years.
Why trust it? Because everyone else does!
This product, for the affordable price, really does a surprisingly good job at softening and rejuvenating your leather surfaces. You should have a bottle on hand for cleaning larger leather surfaces (cars and furniture) since it is more cost-effective, and save the good stuff (number one above) for the smaller projects.
Bikmore’s leather conditioner is another great choice with a great price tag.
The label claims that it will not darken finished leathers and it won’t leave a residue, and those who have used it have found this to be absolutely true.
It does what any great conditioner should do: it softens and preserves your leather products.
While the product is aimed at those in farming communities (who need to regularly clean and condition tack, boots, gloves, etc.), it can still be used on plenty of other leather products.
Leather bags, baseball gloves, shoes, etc. Another great product!
This is a very popular brand of leather conditioner in the mid-price range.
Use a small sponge to apply the product to your leather surface to add shine san suppleness to it and it also acts as a moisture repellent to protect your leather from the elements.
It’s recommended to use the product at least once a month to prevent dry rot (leather so hard it feel like a mummified corpse).
It dried fast, doesn’t leave a greasy finish and it has a pleasant leathery scent.
This is good stuff!
This pH-balanced non-toxic formula works to moisturize, restore and add shine to any leather surface (except, of course, suede or nubuck). It is safe for both treated and un-treated leather surfaces.
Once you apply the conditioner, you’ll only need to wait an hour before you can use the product again (don’t apply it on your car seats, for example, 10 minutes before you need to leave for work!)
Some find that this particular product has lightened some of their darker leather products. We can’t say it enough, though, if you have dark leather, find an unnoticeable spot where you can test a product in order to see how it will affect the entire product!