Leather Wax: Ultimate Guide Plus Which Ones You Should Use

Leather wax

Leather wax is one of the most commonly used substances on leather. It’s used for several purposes on leather and has some great protective and aesthetic effects on leather.

In this short but sweet guide, I’m going to share with you all the important things there is to know about leather waxes.

What Is Leather Wax?

Leather wax as the name implies is the various types of waxes you can use on leather to make it either waterproof or render a shine.

The primary purpose of leather wax is to bring out the shine on the leather. It’s best for this purpose due to the high concentration of hard waxes that allows you to achieve that exceptional high gloss shine on the leather.

Many people get it wrong and use leather wax on their leather goods to nourish it.

But the truth is, leather waxes will generally not offer your leather the same level of nourishing and conditioning as specially formulated leather conditioner or cream offer will give you.

Generally, if you’re looking to nourish you leather, give it a high gloss finish or shine, and waterproofing qualities, then you would want to first condition your leather item with leather cream or any good leather conditioner of your choice and then apply a layer or two of leather wax to bring it to a nice shine and render it waterproof.

Is Wax Good For Leather?

The short answer is waxes are great for leather! The long answer on the other hand is that it depends on what you would like the wax to do for your leather, the leather material you’re waxing, and how you apply it to the leather.

As I have already stated above, leather wax is good for leather if you would want it to improve the water-resistance of your leather item, give your leather a high gloss or shine finish.

So, if this simply wants you would want your leather wax to do for your leather items then with the right application, waxes will be great for your leather goods.

Waxes are particularly great for leather items such as boots, shoes, and any other leather item that sees a lot of wear.

So all in all, I will always say waxes are good for leather if it’s applied the right way and for the right reasons.  

What Does Leather Wax Do? (Pros)

There are a couple of great things leather wax will do for your leather items. Leather wax will waterproof, render a shine, maintain breathability, etc of your leather items. Here are the details on the things leather wax will do for your leather.

Waterproofs Your Leather

If you have been reading this article, then this point and the next one would have sunk in by.

Whether it’s a walking boot, shoes, or gloves, leather wax will make your item water-resistant. Applying wax will ensure water beads off your leather items.

If leather is treated well with leather waxes, it will prevent water and other liquid stains from seeping into the leather to leave ugly water stains.

If you’re interested in an original leather wax product that offers your leather goods the best waterproofing quality, then you can check out the Atsko Sno-Seal Original Beeswax over here on Amazon!

Makes Your Leather Items Shiny

I don’t mean to sound cliche but one of the primary reasons why you would apply leather wax to your leather is the higher gloss shine it’s going to give to your leather items.

The high concentration of hard waxes found in leather wax is that which elevates the shine on your leather items.

Leather waxes depending on the brand you get will come with rich oils like linseed oil and wax-like beeswax.

Gives The Leather A Rich Dark Color

One of the chief characteristics of leather wax is how it darkens the leather. While many people will find this very useful, others will see this as a complete turn-off.

But all in all, if you have a leather item that has faded over time, then applying leather wax is going to bring it to a nice look.

Leather wax will help restore the rich color of the leather or better still make it a shade or two darker than its original color.

Makes Leather Supple

In addition to leather wax making leather waterproof and shiny, it also makes it very supple and natural-looking.

It’s very important to make sure your leather is supple so that it does not dry out and develop cracks.

The suppleness of leather when you wax it is also going to make the use of your leather item very comfortable and not rigid or stiff.

Maintains Breathability

Leather as a material is a very porous material and due to its porosity, it’s very breathable. The breathability of leather has to be maintained at all times to make the use of the leather item enjoyable and comfortable.

So cleaning and re-waxing your leather in a very timely fashion using the right application methods will help to ensure that your leather maintains some level of breathability.

Getting the best leather wax is as important as ensuring the right application procedure used. This will prevent the wax from clogging the pores of your leather.

This can make your time wearing leather items such as shoes, boots, jackets, very uncomfortable due to the lack of breathability.

Leather Wax Boosts The General Leather Resistance

On top of all the things leather wax will do for your leather goods, it’s also going to generally help the leather to resist scuffs, cracks, and dry rot.

Some leather waxes like the Obenauf in addition to improving the resistance of leather are also able to cease mold, mildew, and bacteria buildup on the leather that can potentially harm your leather.

These are a few types of wear your leather will go through and using a leather wax will greatly help protect your it from any damage-causing activity.

Cons Of Using Leather Wax

To every advantage, there sure are some disadvantages. While there are some great things a leather wax will for your leather items, there are a few caveats to them.

  1. Leather waxes will darken your leather items especially if they are light-colored.
  2. Leather waxes can sometimes cause your leather items to become sticky.
  3. It can also cause a white residue on the surface of your leather items – especially on parts that bend.
  4. Leather waxes in some cases reduce the breathability of leather items such as gloves, shoes, and boots.

What Wax Should You Use On Leather?

Wax is generally obtained from natural (that is plants, animals, minerals) or from synthetic sources.

Many of the waxes we often use are man-made but we have all heard or used beeswax and it’s probably the most common natural wax that can be used on leather.

Not to forget another common one which many may consider oil but technically it’s wax. This is the oil that makes sheep wool very soft. Sheep wax – also usually called Lanolin.

And there’s the mother of all leather waxes, the Carnauba wax. It’s the hardest natural wax there is and it does a great job of waterproofing, nourishing, and putting a shine on the leather.

There are a bunch of waxes out there you can try out. A lot of these waxes will vary in terms of their ingredients, efficiency, and price.

While there are several ready-made leather waxes on the markets today, you will also be able to DIY leather waxes for your leather goods or leather crafts.

Here’s a video of how to make your own leather wax for your leather items

Tips For Using Leather Wax

  • Always check the kind of care label you have on your leather item before buying or applying leather wax. You would want to find out whether it’s aniline leather, suede, nubuck, or pigmented leather you have.
  • Before applying your leather wax on your leather item, make sure to clean off any form of dust or debris with a soft horse hairbrush in the case of shoes or bags, and a vacuum in the case of sofas, leather car seats, etc.
  • You can also clean your leather items thoroughly with a leather cleaning soap before waxing. Here you would be removing dirt, dust, or stains that a vacuum or horsehair brush cannot remove.
  • Always test out your leather wax on an inconspicuous part of the leather item before applying it on every part. This will allow you to see the kind of effect the wax will have on your leather.
  • If possible buy leather wax that will match the color of your leather items.
  • You would want to be careful when applying leather wax to parts of the leather items that bend like the vamp on shoes and boots.
  • Make sure you only apply a thin layer of leather wax especially to the part of the leather that bends or has creases.
  • What’s going to happen is that when too much leather wax is applied to these areas, it will cause the hard polish waxes when dry to crack and provide a whitish substance across the surface of the leather.
  • Better still, always concentrate on applying leather wax on parts of the leather you would like the maximum protection. These areas can be parts of the leather item that sees the most wear.
  • For example on shoes, you would want to focus your a leather wax application on the toe box and the hindquarters.
  • You would want that whenever you apply leather wax over your leather items, you buff it with a horsehair brush or soft lint-free cloth so that the heat and the friction from the brush help the waxes to melt into the leather to give it nice protection and shine.

How To Use Leather Wax (Shoes)

How To Use Leather Wax (Leather Work)


Leather as a material requires a lot of Tender Loving Care to help keep its luxurious look, and feel. So having a better understanding of what leather waxes are, what it does for leather can help you give your leather items the love it deserves.

It’s among some of the important ways to care, maintain, and protect leather items. It’s very essential for every home and every leather crafters tools box. So in this article, I shed some light on this awesome material and some important benefits to its use.  

Related Questions

Is Beeswax Bad For Leather Boots?

Beeswax will give your leather boots good protection, shine, and the right amount of lubrication the boots needs but beeswax will be bad for leather if it’s allowed to over saturate the surface of the leather which can make the leather boots sticky.

Beeswax will also not generally soften your leather and would probably make it a little bit stiffer – may be a good or bad thing depending on the leather item you use it on.

Why Is Leather Thread Waxed?

Leather thread is waxed especially during hand sewing to make the thread being used stiffer, more durable, non-fraying, and water-resistant. It also helps to keep the stitches properly lined up and in place.

You can check out my previous article on 6 Key reasons why leather thread is waxed.


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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