Is Baby Oil Good for Leather?

Oiling your leather goods is very essential to how healthy your leather item will be. While there are very good oils for leather on the market, it’s possible you might not have one readily available and would want to make do with the baby oil you have. This article specifically researched if baby oil is good for leather.

So, Is baby oil good for leather? Yes, while mink oil amongst other types of oils is better alternatives, you can apply a fairly light coat of baby oil to your leather products. The only catch is you shouldn’t forget to wipe off any excess oil that will remain on the leather when you’re done.

Now that we’ve gotten the answer out of the way, let’s go over some of the things you may need to know and some tips for making things work so you can get your leather properly protected and take you where you need to go.

General Tips About Oiling/Conditioning Leather

Leather is a very versatile material and super durable material but it’s also a lot vulnerable especially if you do not understand and handle it with the care it needs.

  • From the leather manufacturers perspective, leather is natural and sourced from animals and as such the conditions the leather had on the skin of the animal must be maintained.
  • Leather goes through tanning to render it into a material that doesn’t decay.
  • During the tanning process, the natural oils in the fibers of the leather is lost and so has to be replace with tanning oils.
  • If the oil is not replaced, the leather will become brittle, crack, and eventually dry out. These Tanning oils act as microscopic lubricating oils for the fibers.
  • The fibers of leather look like a bunch of piled up ropes that’s all tangled up. And what the tanning oil does is to coat the fibers allowing them to freely bend, move and slip nicely across one another. The oil keep the leather really soft and supple.
  • The smell of leather is not only from the type of hide but it largely comes from the type of oil used by the leather tanners.
  • Leather items also needs to be cared for at the user level.
  • The most important conditions that makes leather as healthy and beautiful as you would expect is cleaning and oiling (conditioning) it from time to time.
  • Cleaning leather is not entirely a very frequent activity you will carry out. However, it will depend on the type of product and the conditions under which it’s frequently used.
  • Cleaning leather strips off the (natural) oils or tanning oil from the leather and so must be replaced. Without lubrication, leather items, its fibers will become stiff and brittle. When repeatedly flexed as you wear them, it will have its fibers drying, breaking or the leather will develop cracks.
  • The type of oil to be used on leather has always present a major source of argument amongst industry fellows.
  • Generally, pure beeswax, tallow, cod oil, and pine resin, and a few others are the most suitable types of oil for leather. Meaning that any other forms of chemicals, mineral oil, neatfoot oil, and paraffin based are not really the best of the best alternatives although they can be worked onto the leather.
  • The care and conditioning of leather must be done from time to time and should be done using natural leather care products consistent with the natural state of the leather when it was on the animal to prevent it from drying, cracking, or peeling.
  • The best oils or conditioners for leather will also contain ingredients that will help preserve and waterproof your leather.

Here’s What You Should Know Before Using Baby Oil on Leather

  • Baby oil is a common product that most people like you will already have in their homes. This is because aside it’s uses as a skin care product, baby oil has countless uses.
  • Baby oil is essentially about 98% mineral oil with added fragrances (2%). Meaning mineral oil is a major ingredient in baby oil.
  • Mineral oil is a highly purified liquid which is petroleum-based and it’s known to moisturize and hydrate the (human) skin really well. Because it’s petroleum-based it can be greasy and tacky on leather especially when overused.
  • Mineral oil is an inert substance, which means that the baby oil you will use will not react with other substances that comes in contact with it (at least not immediately).
  • The active ingredient in baby oil makes it noncomedogenic. This means that baby oil doesn’t clog pores.
  • Baby oil is made to actually sits on top of the skin (human) to create a barrier for the skin so that it doesn’t lose moisture. But when it’s applied to leather, it soaks quickly into leather.
  • Although mineral oil is refined for safe use for skin with applications with leather, it’s just like most commercial neatsfoot oil, it will with time cause some damage to the leather.
  • Baby oil when applied will not stay on the leather for long and tend to disappear quickly. So you will not have a consistent conditioned leather look for long. The baby oil you will apply on leather will totally be disappeared within a day or two.

Now, obviously depending on the kind of leather item you own and the kind of leather used will mean there will be variables you need to consider that may alter your chances of being able to use baby oil on leather.

Is Baby Oil Good For Leather Boots/Shoes?

Leather boots and shoes are generally hard-wearing so require the best of the best cleaning and oiling (conditioning). While baby oil can be used to give old leather boots or shoes a fairly good oil treatment and shine, the baby oil will not be able to properly nourish the leather.

You can apply a few drops of baby oil using a clean soft cloth on your leather boots. It’s however important that you use a clean cloth to remove any excess oil from the boots. This will reduce how greasy it will be. Baby oil is often good on patent leather shoes or boots and brings it to a really good shine quickly.

Is Baby Oil Good For Leather Bags?

Contrary to leather shoes and boots, leather bags are not quite as hard-wearing. So in the absence of the best leather conditioner, you can apply baby oil sparingly on your leather bags to give them a nice new look. You must ensure all extra oil is removed to prevent it from migrating onto your clothes.

You will, however, find that using a designated type of oil for conditioning or oiling bags will do a much better job.

Is Baby Oil Good For Leather Furniture & Car Seats?

Having to use baby oil on furniture or car seats is crucial as your leather furniture or car seats tend to be a lot more expensive and you wouldn’t want to go wrong with it. It’s best to always apply the right kind of conditioner on your leather furniture to ensure good treatment, nice beautiful look and feel.

You can use baby oil on leather furniture or car seats made of protected leather upholstery. You will find that most leather furniture is made of protected leather and these types of leather are more durable, stain-resistant, and so baby oil will do quite well on it.

These leathers may be labeled or marketed as semi-aniline or pigmented leather. To find out what kind of leather upholstery you have, you can check the label or the written materials that came with the leather furniture or seat, or look up the item on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website.

Related Questions

Can Baby Oil Soften Leather?

Yes, while baby oil is a pretty much light lubricant, it’s really great for softening leather and will in most cases over-soften the leather if it’s oversaturated on leather or applied on an old leather item.

Does Oil Come Out of Leather?

Yes, leather with an oil stain will come out if it’s treated with an absorbing agent such as baking soda, corn starch or talcum powder, etc to absorb the oil from the leather. This can be done before the leather is cleaned and reconditioned.

How Do You Get Baby Oil Out Of Leather?

Generally, baby oil stains don’t last long on leather when compared with many other kinds of greasy stains. But in the case of an over-saturation of Baby oil on leather, you can use baking soda to get baby oil out of leather. Baking soda is a common household or kitchen item you can use to get rid of baby oil from leather.

How you do this is to apply some baking soda to a damp cloth and use it to dab on the part of the leather with the baby oil stain. Then you leave it for a couple of hours before dusting it off with another clean cloth. What the baking soda does is to absorb the oil and leave your leather looking as good as new.


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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