Does Mink Oil Shrink Leather? (Nobody’s Talking About This!)

Does Mink Oil Shrink Leather?

Mink oil is a popular product used to condition and protect leather. It is said to be beneficial in preventing cracking, fading, and other signs of aging. But does mink oil shrink leather?

Having used mink on my almost five years old leather boots (that I wear daily in the winter), I can say that mink does not appear to have shrunk them. In fact, mink oil makes leather soft and stretchy.

So if you’re worried about your leather shrinking, don’t be! In the rest of this post, I will share with you some reasons why mink oil does not shrink leather, reasons why mink oil is good for leather, how to apply it, and some other things you should know about this product.

Reasons Mink Oil “Does Not” Shrink Leather

If you’re trying to troubleshoot why your leather might be shrinking, mink oil is not the culprit. Here are some reasons why mink oil does not shrink leather:

1. Mink Oil Makes Leather Soft And Supple

One of the first reasons why mink oil does not shrink leather is because it actually makes the material softer and more supple.

If you have ever used mink oil on your leather, you know that it can make even the stiffest of leathers feel soft and pliable.

This is due to the fact that mink oil contains fatty acids which penetrate the leather and lubricate the fibers. This makes the leather more flexible and less likely to break or crack.

In fact, mink oil is often used as a treatment for dry and brittle leather. It can help restore moisture and flexibility, which are essential in preventing shrinkage.

So if you’re concerned about your leather shrinking, using mink oil is actually a good way to help prevent it!

2. Mink Oil Is A Water-Repellent

Another reason why mink oil does not shrink leather is that it is water-repellent.

This means it will help protect your leather from getting wet, which can cause the material to swell and shrink.

Water can cause all sorts of damage to leather, including cracking, drying out, and shrinking. By using mink oil, you can help to prevent this damage and keep your leather looking its best.

Plus, the water-repellent properties of mink oil will also help to keep your leather clean and free of dirt and grime.

3. Mink Oil Conditions And Protects Leather

Mink oil not only makes the leather softer but also conditions and protects the material.

Conditioning is important because it helps to keep leather hydrated and prevents it from drying out. This, in turn, helps to prevent cracking and shrinking.

Protecting leather is also important because it helps to shield the material from harmful UV rays, dirt, and grime. All of these things can cause the leather to deteriorate and shrink over time.

By using mink oil, you can help to prolong the life of your leather and keep it looking its best for years to come.

So What Can Cause Leather To Shrink?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why mink oil does not shrink leather, let’s take a look at some of the things that can cause the leather to shrink:

Exposure To Heat

If there’s one thing that leather does not like, it’s exposure to heat.

Leather is a natural material and is sensitive to changes in temperature. When exposed to excessive heat, leather can shrink, dry out and eventually crack if the necessary steps are not taken.

This is why it’s important to avoid using hot water to clean your leather items. The heat can weaken the leather fibers and cause them to shrink.

Exposure To Sunlight

Just like exposure to heat, leather can also be damaged by exposure to sunlight.

The UV rays in sunlight can cause the leather to fade and eventually crack. If you leave your leather items in direct sunlight for too long, they will shrink.

The extended sunlight exposure will cause all the essential oils and moisture in the leather to evaporate. This will cause the leather to dry out, become brittle and eventually shrink.

Water, Excess Moisture, Or Humidity

Another culprit of leather shrinkage is water. As we mentioned before, water can cause all sorts of damage to the leather. It can dry out the material, cause it to swell, and eventually lead to shrinking.

You should always avoid getting your leather wet if possible. If you do get your leather item wet, make sure to dry it off as soon as possible.

When drying leather after it has gotten soaking wet, you should avoid using any form of heat source. The heat will only cause the leather to shrink further.

You want to air dry the leather in a cool, airy place away from direct sunlight. You should also avoid storing your leather items in humid or damp areas.

The excess moisture in the air can cause the leather also to swell and eventually shrink.

What Can You Do If Your Leather Item Has Already Shrunk?

If your leather item has already shrunk, there are a few things you can try to help fix the problem.

Rehydrate The Leather

You can try rehydrating the leather by using a good leather conditioner or cream.

This will help to add moisture back into the dried-out leather and potentially reverse any shrinking that has occurred.

What the conditioner does is replace the natural oils that have evaporated from the leather and make the leather soft and pliable again.

So once you start putting the leather item to use again, it will start to conform back to its original shape.

Use A Leather Stretch Spray

If you have leather boots or shoes that have particularly shrunk on certain parts, you can try using a leather stretch spray.

What this does is temporarily soften the fibers in the leather so that you can then stretch it back into shape.

Be careful not to overdo it, though, as you don’t want to damage the leather. Only use a small amount and gradually increase if needed.

Use Steam To Stretch The Leather

Another method you can try is to use steam to help stretch the leather back into its original shape.

This is a bit of a risky method as too much heat can further damage the leather. But if done correctly, it can help to stretch the leather back into shape.

The best way to do this is to use a steamer. Hold the steamer about 6-12 inches away from the leather and move it around in a circular motion.

Do not keep the steamer in one spot for too long as you don’t want to overdo it and damage the leather.

Once you’ve gone over the entire leather item with steam, you can wipe away any excess moisture and apply a leather conditioner.

Like magic, the leather should start to stretch back into its original shape. This works because the steam helps to soften and open the pores of the leather.

So when the leather cools and dries, it will start to contract and conform back to its original shape.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped to clear up any confusion about whether mink oil shrinks leather.

Mink oil is a great way to condition and protects your leather items. It is full of essential oils that help to keep the leather soft, pliable, and moisturized.

So it is good to know it does not contribute to leather shrinkage. Heat, water, excess moisture, and humidity are the main culprits when it comes to leather shrinkage.

So if you want to keep your leather items in good condition, make sure to avoid these things. If your leather item has already shrunk, there are a few things you can try to help fix the problem.

You can try rehydrating the leather with a good conditioner or cream. You can also use a leather stretch spray or steam to help stretch the leather back into its original shape.

Thanks for sticking around till the end. I hope you found this article helpful.


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!

Recent Posts