Can you use Walnut Oil On Leather? The Pros and Cons Explained

Can you use Walnut Oil On Leather

Leather goods are popular items that many people enjoy using. However, there are some downsides to leather goods as well. One of the most common problems with leather is how quickly it begins to wear out and damage without oiling or conditioning.

This article will explore whether or not walnut oil can be used on leather goods, what the pros and cons are for doing so, and if it’s worth the effort.

So can you use walnut oil on leather? You can use cold-pressed walnut oil to darken leather items if you do not want to use dyes. You can use walnut oil on your leather items if you want to oil or leave a nice clean shine on your leather goods. You cannot, however, use walnut oil to deeply condition your leather goods like you would be able to use specially formulated leather care products.

To learn more about this topic keep reading this article. First, let’s take a look at a little information about walnuts and why it’s even thing today.

A Little Piece Of Info About Walnut Oil

Before we get into the meat of this topic let’s take a look at a couple of things about walnut oil.

Walnuts have always been known as a great source of omega-three and omega-six essential fatty acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, like vitamin E, which is important for our skin health.

Walnut oil is produced from the nut of the walnut tree which is native to Europe and Asia but can be grown in North America as well. 

There are many reasons why walnut oil has become popular: it’s a natural product that comes with many benefits for our body as well as being more affordable than other oils on the market today.

It can be used both topically or ingested to maximize its potential. Walnuts have been cultivated since 1500 BC by various civilizations around the world because they’re so versatile!

One of the greatest pros about using walnuts is that you’ll feel better overall because of all the healthy fats in them.

Other notable features include their ability to fight signs of aging, lower blood pressure levels, promote good health, and make skin softer.

Walnut oil is a natural product that has also been used for centuries to condition and treat leather goods.

It was traditionally used by craftsmen who made saddles, boots, and other articles of clothing out of animal skins.

Pros To Using Walnut Oil On Leather Goods

The are many benefits to using walnut oil on leather. Some of the most common benefits of using walnut oil on leather are listed below.

1. Walnut Oil Help To Give Leather A Nice Clean Look

There is nothing quite sad like leather that’s all dried up. This is why a lot of natural oils like walnut oil are able to serve as a nice alternative in the absence of leather care products like conditioners.

One of the common benefits of using walnut oil on leather is how it is able to give the leather a nice clean and healthy look.

The natural oil in walnut is also able to provide leather not only with a clean look but also a nice and healthy glow on the surface of the leather itself.

This is because it helps to break down some of the dirt that may be present on your leather goods.

What this means for you as someone who wants to use walnut oil on your leather is that not only will you have clean leather but also, you will have shiny and more vibrant looking leather too!

2. Walnut Oil Is Great For Darkening Leather

Leather items with constant exposure to the weather and other environmental elements cause them to lose their luxurious rich look.

This includes leather items that have been exposed to the sun too much or even ones that are subjected to constant rain and humidity.

These among other things can cause them both to fade over time as well as dry out faster due to water and UV exposure.

There are many instances where you would want to darken your leather items without dyes and here’s where walnut oil is pretty useful.

Using walnut oil on leather will be great as it will nicely darken the color of the leather item.

Having said this, one thing worth noting is that walnut oil will particularly be great for brown, black, and other dark-colored leather items.

Applying walnut oil on your leather surfaces will make them even darker, rich, and more luxurious looking.

3. Walnut Oil Offer Leather Some Level Of Protection

Another thing you will like about using walnut oil on your leather items is the protection it’s going to give them.

Walnut oil contains natural protective ingredients that can help to protect your leather items against stains.

How this normally happens is when you apply walnut oil to leather items, it gradually soaks into the leather and protects it against any future stains.

Not only does it protect the leather from stains but it also helps to hide minor blemishes like scratches and scuffs as well as helps protect them from water damage.

4. Using Walnut Oil Is An Inexpensive Alternative

With a lot of people becoming health conscious today, the use of walnut oil has increased.

What most people including me like about walnut oil is that it’s a natural treatment for leather that is inexpensive as it is possible you might have one sitting on your shelf right now.

It’s an inexpensive way to clean, oil, or treat your leather and the best part is that it doesn’t require any harsh chemicals or solvents.

5. Walnut Oil Is Drying Oil So It Doesn’t Turn Rancid

Walnut oil is a drying oil. Why this is relevant to this topic is that walnut oil is a drying oil, it is more resistant to oxidation unlike others like olive oil will.

Walnut oil is a “drying oil” because it has a tendency to harden or form a tough, solid film after a period of its exposure to air.

Walnut oil will turn hard when its components polymerize because of oxygen. Drying oils are often used for painting and varnishing.

Some other types of oils apart from walnut oil used to dry things are linseed oil, tung oil, poppy seed oil, and perilla oil.

The benefit of walnut oil when it comes to leather is its resistance to oxidation as a result of it having properties that make it a “drying oil”.

This essentially means that it will not become rancid. What’s great about this quality of walnut oil is that once you have your leather goods oiled with walnut oil, they will stay protected for longer and not need to be re-oiled quite as often.

6. Walnut Oils Leave Behind Pleasant Smell On Leather

Leather is generally known for its luxurious smell and it’s a favorite for most people.

What is even better about walnut oil on leather goods is that it leaves behind an equally pleasant scent that will linger long after the process of applying and massaging it into the surface has been completed.

I particularly like how it smells, as it has a sweet fragrance that is not overpowering.

The smell of walnut oil on leather goods may linger for days. The best part of walnut oil smells is that although it can linger on for a while, if you’re not particularly a fan of its smell, just simply leaving them outside for about a day or two to air out is enough to get rid of the smell.

Cons Of Using Walnut Oil On Leather

1. Walnut Oil Will NOT Offer Leather Deep Conditioning

If you need to deep clean or condition your leather goods then walnut oil might not be the best option.

Walnut oil is never going to penetrate deep into your leather goods – which means it won’t offer them any conditioning or cleaning benefits.

If you’re looking for a product that will deeply clean and condition your leather goods, then walnut oils aren’t what you want.

2. Walnut Oil Can Eventually Dry Up Leather

It’s ironic how walnut oil is able to eventually cause the leather to dry up.

A lot of people use walnut oil to protect their leather – but in the process, they are actually causing it to lose its natural oils.

This can cause cracks and creases on your expensive leather furniture or clothes, because once again: walnuts won’t offer any deep conditioning benefits.

The only way you could avoid this is by using a protective sealant after applying the walnut oil.

A good product for that would be carnauba wax cream; as long as you apply it before any damage has been done, then there should not be any problems with dryness or cracking in your finished project.

3. Walnut Oil Does NOT Make Leather Water-Resistant

Generally, leather is a material that is often used for hardwearing goods like shoes, belts, bags, jackets, to mention a few.

This means your leather goods will always come into contact with water and other moisture, which means you will need to waterproof them.

Walnut oil does not make leather water-resistant and cannot help with this; so you would have to use another product such as a sealant for that purpose.

You can do it before or after the walnut oil application process but just remember: if your product already has cracks in it, then applying any kind of wax on top may only exacerbate those problems.

4. Walnut Oil Takes Time To Fully Absorb Into Leather

What you would always want the leather treatment products you apply on your leather goods is for it to immediately absorb into the leather and nourish it to revert any damage that might have started.

Walnut oil, however, takes a considerable amount of time to fully absorb into the leather. This makes walnut oil’s use on leather goods, not the best option because it does not provide a quick response.

How To Use Walnut Oil On Leather

If you find the advantages of using walnut oil on leather appealing or you currently do not have a better alternative, there are a few ways to safely use walnut oil on your leather items.

The process of using walnut oil on leather goods should be done following these steps.

Things Needed:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Warm Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Cold-Pressed Walnut Oil


Step 1:

  • Wipe off any loose dust, debris, or dirt from the surface of the leather using an old towel, soft brush, or a vacuum cleaner.
  • What you want to do is to remove as many of the loose particles on the surface of the leather as possible.
  • This is so that those loose particles do not scratch the surface of the leather during the cleaning or oiling process.

Step 2:

  • Now clean the surface of the leather using warm water and dish soap. You can also use a leather cleaner if you have some available.
  • Cleaning the leather before applying the walnut oil will help to remove any dirt, dust, or other particles that may have been missed during the first step.

Step 3:

  • After washing with warm water and dish soap you can now use a clean towel or paper towel to dry off the surface of the leather.
  • This will remove any excess moisture from the leather so that your walnut oil does not get washed away by this liquid when it is applied later on in Step 5 below.
  • What we are doing here is removing as much of the excess moisture from the surface layer of the leather before applying our walnut oil onto the leather because if there is too much moisture on top then some of what we just put down might be removed again – thus defeating its purpose (to make the leather waterproof).

Step 4:

  • Now leave the leather surface to air dry.

Step 5:

  • After the leather has dried, apply an even layer of cold-pressed walnut oil onto the surface of the leather.
  • Be sure to use enough oil so that it is evenly distributed across the surface.
  • Another option is, if possible, to take an old toothbrush with bristles into the grooves and cracks of your leather goods for coverage inside those areas as well.
  • If you’re treating a rather large leather item, you can visually divide the surface of the leather item you’re working on and oil in sections.

Step 6:

  • Leave the application to absorb into the pores of the leather.
  • After allowing the application time to absorb fully, wipe off any excess by using a soft cloth dipped in warm water over the treated area.

Step 7:

  • Finally, buff away any remaining residue with either more pure cotton or microfiber fabric.
  • Do not use anything abrasive because it may remove some topcoat layers.
  • Doing this every couple of weeks should help maintain the condition of your leather without ever having to touch it up again!


In conclusion, walnut oil has many benefits for leather goods but there are other products that can better serve this purpose. 

What you really want to consider is specially formulated leather care products that will do the job better, faster, and a lot safer without any major issues. 

It might cost you a little more, but it will be worth it in the long run. Consequently, walnut oil is only suitable to use on leather goods when wanting an all-natural product or a great alternative in the absence of leather care products.

I hope this article has helped you understand the pros and cons of using walnut oil on leather goods. Thanks for sticking around. See you in the next one!


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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