Mink oil is a product that has been used for many years to protect and condition leather. But while mink oil is good for darkening suede or saturating suede leather items, mink oil is not the ideal solution for treating your suede leather items.
In the rest of this article, I will share with you my research on the downsides of using mink oil on suede. Let’s get into it!
1. Mink Oil Significantly Darkens Suede
To kick off the list of downsides to using mink oil on suede, let’s start with one of the most obvious drawbacks: how dark it will make your suede or nubuck items.
Mink oil is a substance that comes from minks who are raised in captivity for their fur and skin. The fat (or “oil”) derived from these minks is used as a conditioning and protective agent for leather.
When you apply mink oil to suede, it will quickly darken the material – sometimes making it look almost black.
Mink oil has the ability to darken leather. This is because mink oil contains a high amount of natural oils that are absorbed by leather, thus causing it to darken in color.
While the darkening quality of mink oil is perfect for many types of leather, it is not a great solution for suede. Suede can be very finicky – especially when you apply products to it in an attempt to protect its original look.
If your suede item becomes too dark, it can be pretty tough to lighten it back up again. Instead, you’ll have to rely on a professional to help you restore the color.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a product that will darken your suede, mink oil is a great option for your suede leather items.
2. Mink Oil Hardens Leather Over Time
Another potential downside to using mink oil on super porous materials like suede is that it can make the suede leather hard or stiff over time.
Mink oil is a fatty substance, which means that when it’s applied to suede leather, it will be absorbed quickly and deeply – especially with the porous nature of suede.
While this may seem like a good thing, it can actually have some negative consequences over time. While the science behind how this happens is a bit complicated, the short answer lies in how the fats in the mink oil react with oxygen and water over time.
When fats react with these two elements, they become “oxidized” and turn into a solid material.
When the mink oil soaks into your suede leather and becomes oxidized, it will produce a hardening or stiffening effect on the material. So in essence, you’re turning your suede leather into something that is essentially very similar to plastic.
3. Mink Oil Application On Suede Is Not Smooth
Another downside of using mink oil on leather that tends to be a pain in the neck is how difficult it can be to apply. Simply put, mink only does not go on leather smoothly due to the nap or velvet-like surface of suede.
This means that you’ll likely have to apply a few coats for the oil to be even on the suede or sink in and provide adequate protection.
This is usually because mink oil is a fatty substance and it will not spread evenly on suede leather like regular conditioners or protectants that are meant for suede.
These specially made suede products not only come with an ideal consistency but they also come in a spray bottle or can – making them very easy to apply.
If you choose to go for the mink oil route instead, you’ll find yourself struggling with applying the product in an even manner.
4. Mink Oil Is A Bit Sticky And Thick
Personally, the straw that breaks the camel’s back for me is that mink oil can leave your suede surface a bit sticky and thick.
Nobody is a fan of an eww sticky feeling, right? This is because, as mentioned earlier, mink oil is a fatty substance. And when it’s applied to suede leather, in particular, it will leave behind a sticky residue on the surface over time.
This often happens after you have applied the mink oil on the suede months or weeks earlier. It looks as if the oil resurfaces after some time and forms a sticky, gummy, and sometimes shiny residue on the surface of your suede leather.
In addition to the stickiness, this residue can also be thick – making your suede item look and feel heavy.
While this is not always visible, it makes leather appear more dull and lifeless. If you are looking to make your suede leather look new again, then the last thing you want is for it to be covered in an oily substance that will darken its color while adding a greasy feel.
5. Mink Oil Is Not Water Repellent
One common reason why people apply mink oil on their suede leather items such as boots, jackets, or seats is often to make the leather more water repellent.
After all, who wouldn’t want their favorite suede leather jacket to keep them dry in the rain? Unfortunately, mink oil does not really do a great job of this – at least when compared to some of the other popular water repellents on the market.
In fact, if you apply mink oil on a suede leather and then get it wet, the water will likely just soak into the fabric rather than bead up and run off like it would with a treated item.
So if you’re looking for something to help keep your suede dry in the rain, mink oil is not your best bet. You would want to consider suede spray water repellents or protectors.
These types of products go on suede much easier and are much more effective at repelling water than mink oil.
6. Mink Oil Is Not The Most Versatile Choice For Suede
When all is said and done, mink oil really is not the most versatile choice for suede leather.
Compared to some of the other products that are specifically meant for suede leather care (suede protectant sprays, conditioners, etc.), mink oil does not have many benefits.
Some of these specialized suede cleaners are able to clean, condition, and protect suede. You can say they are often an all-in-one solution.
These products will clean any dirt and stains from your suede, provide the leather with some much-needed moisture, help restore color to faded areas of your item, and make it water repellent as well.
But with mink oil, you’re really only getting one benefit from using it and that is to add moisture to the suede leather in the short term.
If you’re looking for something more versatile for your suede – including cleaning and water repellency – then mink oil does not have much to offer.
7. Mink Oil Is Not The Most Affordable Option For Suede
Lastly, mink oil is probably not the most affordable option for suede leather looking at the kind of value it provides.
It’s not very easy to use, doesn’t do a great job of cleaning stains, or making suede water repellent.
Other products on the market are specifically designed for suede and can provide all of these benefits while being easier to apply than mink oil (and much less messy).
Mink oils are generally a lot more expensive than some of the other products on the market because it is sourced from minks.
So if you’re looking for a more affordable and easier to use option that will give you a return on your money, then you may want to consider some of the other suede leather care products that are available.
So, is mink oil good for suede? The answer is unfortunately no. While it may have some benefits such as restoring color and adding a bit of shine, there are several major drawbacks to using this product on suede leather – including how difficult it can be to apply, the fact that it leaves behind a sticky residue, and the fact that it is not water repellent.
If you are looking for a better option, there are many other types of products on the market specifically designed for suede leather care – such as suede spray protectors or conditioners. These tend to be much more affordable, easy to use, and most importantly, they provide better protection against wear and tear while also repelling water.
So now that you know the answer to is mink oil good for suede, it’s time to start looking into other options like those mentioned above!