Mink oil is a popular leather treatment that many people use to keep their shoes, jackets, and a host of other leather goods looking new. But does mink oil damage stitching on these items? In this article, we will explore the effects of mink oil on stitching and offer some tips for how to protect your stitches.
So, can mink oil damage stitching? While mink oil can help to prolong the life of your leather goods, it can also cause cotton stitches to break down or rot over time. This is mainly because mink oil is a petroleum-based product and can therefore break down natural fibers like cotton.
There is a lot more to this topic, but that is the gist of it. Stick around as I delve deeper into this interesting topic and offer some tips for how to protect your stitches from mink oil damage.
Reasons Why Mink Oil Damage Stitching
To be able to find a solution to a problem effectively, we must first identify and understand the root cause of the problem. So, in this section, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why mink oil can damage stitching:
1. Mink Oil Is Acidic
Like neatsfoot oil, mink oil is also acidic. This means when it’s had enough time on your leather item, it can start to eat away at the stitching.
This is because the acidity in mink oil breaks down the natural fibers in cotton stitches, causing them to become frayed and eventually break.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to be mindful of how often you’re using mink oil on your leather items and to always any excess mink oil residue after application.
2. Mink Oil Is Mixed With Other Harsh Ingredients
There are a lot of brands that claim their products are mink oil when, in reality, they only contain a fraction of mink oil.
A good example is Sof Sole Mink Oil, which is only 5-15% mink oil, as a review by Stridewise revealed. The rest of the product is made up of 55-85% tallow and about 10% glycerol.
So, if you’re going to use mink oil on your leather items, make sure you’re using a pure mink oil product to minimize any potential damage.
3. Mink Oil Can Dry Out Leather
Mink oil is a great leather conditioner and can help to keep your leather goods looking new for longer. One common way this happens is when you apply too much mink oil or apply it too frequently.
When this happens, the leather becomes brittle and starts to crack. This can cause the stitching to become loose and eventually break.
To avoid this, it’s important to use mink oil sparingly and only as needed. If you’re not sure how often to use it, consult a leather expert or the manufacturer of your leather item.
What Type Of Stitching Does Mink Oil Damage?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why mink oil can damage stitching let’s take a look at what type of stitching is most susceptible to mink oil damage.
Full disclosure and not to cause fear and panic, most of the threads discussed below are today not the most commonly used by manufacturers, but you can find them on certain products.
As we mentioned earlier, mink oil can break down natural fibers like cotton. This means that any items with cotton stitches are more likely to be damaged by mink oil.
Cotton threads are used as one of the most popular types of stitching for leather goods because they are strong and durable. However, this also makes them more susceptible to mink oil damage.
While polyester threads are not as strong as cotton threads, they are more resistant to mink oil damage. This is because polyester is a synthetic fiber that is less likely to be broken down by the acidic nature of mink oil.
However, this doesn’t mean that polyester threads are completely immune to mink oil damage. If you use a pure mink oil product or if you don’t remove the excess mink oil after application, there is still a chance that your polyester stitches could be damaged over time.
Linen threads are also susceptible to mink oil damage. This is because linen is a natural fiber that can break down when exposed to the acidic nature of mink oil.
However, linen threads are not as strong as cotton or polyester threads, so they are more likely to break down sooner if exposed to excessive use of mink oil.
What Type Of Stitching Is Mink Oil Safe On?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the types of stitching that can be damaged by mink oil let’s take a look at what type of stitching mink oil is safe on.
If you have a leather item with nylon stitches, you can safely use mink oil on it without the worry of damaging the stitching.
This is because nylon is a synthetic fiber that is less likely to be damaged by the acidic nature of mink oil.
The good news is that a lot of the stitching on most leather goods today are done with nylon threads, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your stitches if you use mink oil.
Another type of stitching that is safe for use with mink oil is vinyl. Vinyl threads are also synthetic and are less likely to be damaged by mink oil.
Like nylon, vinyl is a common type of stitching used on leather goods today–especially hand-made leather items such as bags and wallets.
How To Prevent Mink Oil Damage To Your Stitching
Now that we’ve looked at how mink oil can damage your stitching and what type of stitching is most susceptible to damage let’s take a look at some tips on how to prevent mink oil damage.
1. Use Good Quality Mink Oil
There are a lot of cheap knockoff mink oil products on the market. These products are often made with lower-quality ingredients that can damage your stitches.
To avoid this, make sure only to use good quality mink oil products. You can usually tell if a product is of good quality if it’s from a recognizable brand and not insanely cheap–less than $8
In general, you get what you pay for when it comes to mink oil. So, if you want to avoid damaging your stitches, make sure to use a good quality product.
2. Ensure Proper Application Of The Mink Oil
Another way to prevent mink oil damage is to ensure proper application of the product. First, do not use abrasive applicators when applying mink oil to your leather goods.
Second, apply a thin layer of mink oil to your leather goods and make sure to remove any excess mink oil after application. Excess mink oil can pool in the stitching and cause damage over time.
To remove excess mink oil, simply wipe down the area with a clean cloth until no more mink oil comes off on the cloth.
Third, allow the mink oil to dry fully before using your leather goods. If you use your leather goods while the mink oil is still wet, it can cause the mink oil to pool in the stitching and damage them.
3. Use A Seam Seal
You can also use a seam seal to protect your stitches from mink oil damage. A seam seal is a clear, protective coating that you can apply to your stitches.
This will create a barrier between the mink oil and your stitches and prevent the mink oil from seeping into the stitching and causing damage.
Another important thing to consider is storage. If you’re going to be storing your leather goods for an extended period of time after applying mink oil on them, make sure to do so in a cool, dry place.
Excessive heat and humidity can cause the mink oil to seep into the stitches and damage them. So, if you’re going to store your leather goods for more than a few days, make sure to do so in a cool, dry place.
As I mentioned earlier, make sure the mink oil application is completely dry before moving the item into storage.
What Do You Do If Your Stitching Is Already Damaged?
If your stitching is already damaged by the mink oil application, there are a few things you can do to try and repair it.
Have A Professional Have A Look
If you begin to notice that your stitches are looking damaged, the first thing you should do is take it to a professional.
A professional will be able to assess the damage and tell you if it’s repairable or not. They may also be able to repair the damage for you.
What they are likely to do is to remove the damaged or old stitching, clean the leather thoroughly and then replace the entire section of damaged stitching.
Do-It-Yourself Repair Kits
There are also a number of do-it-yourself repair kits available on the market. These kits usually come with everything you need to repair your stitches, including instructions.
While these kits can be effective, they’re not always perfect. So, if you decide to go this route, make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them to a T.
Mink oil is a great product for conditioning and waterproofing your leather goods. However, it’s important to use it correctly to avoid damaging your stitches.
This is important because the stitches on your leather goods determine how durable or how long your items last.
By following the tips above, you can ensure that you use mink oil correctly and avoid damaging your stitches.
If you do damage your stitches, there are a number of ways to repair them. Thanks for reading this article.
If you found it helpful, kindly share it with your friends and family. And if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave me a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.