7 Best Ingredients Saddle Soaps Should Have For Best Results

Saddle soap ingredients

A leather saddle soap is primarily for cleaning leather but in more recent times the saddle soap is formulated to do more than just clean leather. So in this article, I researched on some of the best ingredients you’re going to find in an ideal saddle soap that’s going to help you get more out of your saddle soap.

The best and most common ingredients that should be in a saddle soap are:

  1. Cleaning Agent: Removes dirt deposits
  2. Moisturizer: Prevents the product from drying out 
  3. Emulsifier: Binds ingredients together
  4. Waterproofing: Adds protective layer
  5. Ph Adjuster: Improves the stability of the product
  6. Preservative: Helps maintain product quality and performance
  7. Liquid Base: Serves as a base

What’s a Saddle Soap?

The name “saddle soap” tend to be quite deceptive for a lot of beginners. Just to make things clear, saddle soaps are not only for use on saddles. Saddle soap is instead, meant for cleaning and preserving all kinds of leather goods.

Also, although saddle soap bares the name “soap”, it’s not only a soap. Saddle soap in actual sense is both a soap and a cream. It contains both a cleaning agent that goes into the leather to remove dirt and grime, and also contains emollient oils that work to condition, preserve, and render a waterproof layer.

The use of saddle soap occasionally and from time to time help to maintain and prevent leather goods from drying up and cracking.

Leather goods are awesome and the right kinds of saddle soap products you put on it makes it simply a lot more incredible. But what really renders saddle soap with so much enriching and nourishing powers?

The ingredients in saddle soap enables the right chemical performance that allows you to enjoy a good look and feel on your leather items.

You could spend hours relaxing in your favorite leather couch or wearing that hip leather jacket that simply hugs your body comfortably like another layer of skin.

Well, that is, until that comfortable feel and look begins to fade away and you need to intervene with the best product to get it back to how it was.

And just like you would for your skin, you would want to know the ideal sets of ingredients that should be present in a saddle soap product prior, so you know what to look out for when buying one or DIYing (if you’re the DIY kind of person) one at home.

Usually, most people will skip knowing what’s in their products, but with a lot of damages on leather being attributed to the various types of leather products that has flooded the markets, it’s prudent to look out for these types of ingredients in the products you buy.

Best Saddle Soap Ingredients

These 7 basic ingredients are what you can expect to fortify your saddle soap product so you get the best of the best results. It’s however important to add that not all of these ingredients will be necessarily present in a particular saddle soap you pick out but at least a few combinations of these should be present.

Liquid Base

The liquid base is one of the most basic ingredients that’s going to be used or will be found present in saddle soap. This is often known as a carrier. The carrier is going to provides the liquid base for the saddle soap product and just like all other soaps, the most common liquid base is going to be water.

Cleaning Agent

This is a no brainer! Every soap contains some form of cleaning agent. The cleaning agent, also known as a surfactant, is the substance that gets saddle soap to fulfill its basic function of a cleaning product, that is, removing dirt particles, spills, dust, grease dirt, and body fluids from leather. And they are often typically used to synthesis compounds.

Cleaning agents when applied goes onto the surface and loosens up all unwanted foreign materials so that it’s a lot easier to simply wipe of rinse them off. It’s a water-soluble cleansing agent that combines with the foreign material on the leather to make them more soluble.

There are different kinds of cleaning agents used by different companies when making saddle soap but from my survey from almost 30 saddle soaps on the market I found the most common and effective cleaning agent ingredient to be sodium tallowate.

Sodium Tallowate:

Sodium tallowate is an awesome cleaning agent. The mildness of sodium Tallowate makes it perfect for human skin and as delicate as leather can get sometimes, It’s no surprise it’s one of the chief ingredients in saddle soap products. It does a great job at helping water mix with unwanted materials on leather so that it’s a lot more easy to clean. 

Sodium Tallowate is one of the best cleaning agents you can look out for when shopping for saddle soap. You can find the use of sodium tallowate as a key ingredient in a product like the Kiwi Saddle Soap on Amazon making this product one of the best in the world.

For the DIYers, using soap with sodium Tallowate as a cleaning agent for your DIY saddle soaps projects is going help reduce tremendously the ingredients you will need and can substantially help you avoid using ingredients that can harm your leather and potentially cause skin irritations.


A moisturizer will play a primary role and that’s to prevent the leather being from drying up after cleaning. There are a few great alternatives when it comes to moisturizer ingredients that’s going to be contained in any good quality saddle soap.

Glycerin, PEG-100, Lanolin, and neatsfoot oil are the best types of moisturizer ingredients used in saddle soap. Usually, only one moisturizer or a combination of these may be used in a single saddle soap product for the best results. Let’s take a brief look at them and see how they work!


PEG, which is the abbreviation of polyethylene glycol, is a mixture of compounds and of polymers that have been bonded together.

PEGs functions in three basic ways and that is, it acts as emulsifiers (which help water-based and oil-based ingredients mix properly), as emollients (which lubricates and soften the leather), and as vehicles that help deliver other ingredients deeper into the pores of the leather.

PEG-100 is a very common moisturizer that be can be found in facial creams and body lotions. When used in the making of saddle soap products, it helps to retain moisture and prevents leather surfaces from drying out. This is what makes leather soft and more pliable.


Another great alternative when it comes to moisturizers is glycerin. From my research of some of the ingredients used as moisturizing agent for saddle soaps, I found quite a number of products that also use glycerin. Glycerin is a natural (from vegetable or animal sources) solvent which makes it ideal for cleaning and moisturizing.

Combining its cleaning and moisturizer properties makes it one of the perfect ingredients for saddle soap making.

Glycerin can also be found in personal skin care products like skin lotions. What it primarily does is to help draw water in into the leather and then forms a barrier on the surface that help retain moisture.

As a general rule of thumb, you will always have to condition your leather goods after using saddle soap to clean them, but with saddle soap products like the Farnam Leather Conditioner from Amazon, cleaning means a whole lot.

You wouldn’t have to go through the stress of getting another conditioner to moisturize or nourish your leather goods. This is because the glycerin ingredient used is going to nourish and prevent the leather product from drying out and breaking apart.


Lanolin is a substance that contains a lot of fat often obtained from sheep’s wool. It’s extracted as a yellowish viscous mixture of esters and used as a base for conditioners and skin products to make leather or skins feel soft. It’s also a great restorer that can bring dried leather or skins to a natural state.

Not only is it an integral ingredient in skin care products and conditioners, but it’s also a very good addition to saddle soaps.

Lanolin as a moisturizer in saddle soap, it helps protect a leather surfaces. It makes leather retain its moisture content resulting in a supple, pliable, and soft leather.

Neatsfoot Oil:

Neatsfoot oil is oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet of cattle. Today, neatsfoot oil is still made from cattle-based products and is most of the time criticized for speeding the oxidation of leather.

Neatsfoot oil is another great moisturizer alternative that has to be present in the saddle soap you get. Neatsfoot Oil is actually going to be one of the basic ingredients for saddle soaps especially if you’re DIYing.

What it does is to help keep the leather being clean nicely conditioned, softened, and the great thing is, it will also act as a preservative agent for leather.

A pH Adjuster

Just like a pH adjuster can be found in skin care products, it’s also an important ingredient that has to be present in leather saddle soap. It’s primary role will be to, as the name implies, make adjustments to the pH of the product to maintain and improve stability over time.

A great example of a pH adjuster is Sodium carbonate, which is a pH adjuster found in saddle soap, bath, skin and hair products.

The pH adjusters used for saddle soap help to ensure the best pH for a particular cleaning activity is achieved. It also prolongs its stability in the container in which its stored. Meaning with the presence of a pH adjuster, there will be no likelihood for corrosion to the containment storage.


An emulsifier is basically a substance that is used to stabilizes other substances in food, skin care products, leather cleaners, conditioners, etc. In cosmetics and skin care products, an emulsifier will be used in cleansing soaps amongst other things.

But when it comes to saddle soap making, it will be used to help bond the ingredients used for a saddle soap together. This is to ensure a particular formula used for making a particular product remains stable and does not separate.

There are a lot of different kinds of emulsifiers you might want to look out for or go for. Some of the best emulsifiers for saddle soaps will be lauric acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, etc. All these examples of emulsifiers will generally do the same thing!

A Waterproofer

The waterproofing element of any product ensures the product being protected doesn’t give in to water easily. It creates a protective coating or shine on the surface of the leather to boost its water resistance to an extent. The waterproofing ingredient often used for saddle soap making are most of the time waxes like beeswax.


Preservatives play such an important role in saddle soap. It’s responsible for maintaining a consistent quality and performance of the saddle soap within a particular period of time. The use of preservatives is such a huge controversial topic due to the number of people who are generally allergic to them.

But, it’s almost as if we cannot do without it due to the kind of role it has especially in food, cosmetics, and leather care products. Without preservatives most leather care product will not last up to a day, week, or month before developing mold, yeast and other bacterial and fungal that’s not entirely friendly to leather.

So give or take, a fairly small amounts of preservatives like beeswax or Benzisothiazolinone will definitely be present in the saddle soap you would get.

It’s relatively important to check out what types of preservatives are used for a saddle soap and whether or not you’re allergic to them or not.

How is Saddle Soap Made?

How Do You Apply Saddle Soap?


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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