Mink Oil Vs Leather Conditioner: Which is Better?

If treated and maintained in a perfect manner, leather items can remain intact for as long as 5000 years. Researches have proved that the oldest surviving leather is 5,500 years old!

You just need to know the proper ways of maintaining it!

Maintaining the leather includes several steps like cleaning, washing, fixing, etc. but most importantly conditioning the leather every three to six months.

Now, there is a lot of confusion over what is best for conditioning a leather boot, whether it is mink oil or it is a leather conditioner?

According to our study, leather conditioners are used to treat temporary damages in the leather like fading of the leather due to dust accumulation and to nourish and soften the leather fibers. But mink oil on the other hand, is used to nourish, waterproof, and reverse damaged and worn out leather in the long run.

Mink oil vs leather conditioner

We have made a deep study on both the products and have put the two to tests to find the best working as a conditioning agent for your precious leather boots.

Comparison Table of Leather Conditioner and Mink Oil

Leather conditioner Mink oil
1. Leather conditioners are made of ingredients such as beeswax, tallow and oils 1. Mink oil is made from the fat that is removed from the mink pelt
2. Leather conditioner is used to treat minimal damages in the leather from exposure to dirt 2. Mink oil is used to treat heavily damaged leather that has dried out and worn out
3. The staying power of leather conditioner is less 3. The staying power of mink oil is far more than leather conditioners
4. Leather conditioners contain unsaturated fat to a minimum amount 4. The level of unsaturated fat in mink oil is very high
5. They do not offer waterproof protection to the leather 5. They do provide waterproof protection to the leather
6. It does not offer any weather resistance to the leather 6. It offers weather resistance to the leather
7. It will not clog the pores of the leather 7. It clogs the pores of the leather
8. It will offer the leather a lustrous finish 8. It will not give the leather that lustrous look
9. It will not darken the color of the leather 9. It might darken the color of the leather
10. It will not increase the longevity of the leather to a great extent 10. It will increase the longevity of the leather to a great extent

Why Do You Need to Condition your Leather Boots?

As our skin need good moisturizer to keep the moisture intact and prevent dullness or cracks on it, so does the leather being made of an animal skin.

A good conditioning agent not only keeps the leather soft and supple and restores shine, but also acts as a barrier to lock in the essential moisture or natural oils within the leather and on the top of it provides waterproofing to the leather.

Use conditioners to soften the tar

Oiling or Conditioning? Which is Better?

Now you know the importance of conditioning your leather boots, but now the question is will you oil your boots or condition it using a leather conditioner? 

To know the answer, you need to consider the following points regarding the ever popular mink oil and leather conditioners:

Benefits of Using Mink Oil for Your Leather Boots:

 Mink oil is extracted from the fatty layer that underlies mink skins. The following are its benefits:

1.) It makes the leather boots flexible

2.) It makes the leather boots retain its softness

3.) It adds that shine to the leather

4.) It provides waterproofing effect to the leather

5.) It acts as a protective barrier to retain moisture

The Negative Sides of Using Mink Oil:

Mink oil is definitely an alternative to leather conditioners, but can’t replace them for the following causes:

1.) Over a long period of time, mink oil supposedly hardens the leather

2.) It darkens the leather too much

3.) It cannot provide that glossy shine to the leather that a conditioner can

How to Apply Mink Oil to your Leather Boots?

While you might contemplate over the point of providing that shine to your leather boots, but mink oil is a superb conditioning agent in terms of providing moistures and retaining the softness of your boots.

So, if you want to give a good conditioning to your leather boots, this is how you can use the mink oil.

Why Do You Need to Condition your Leather Boots

Things Required:

      • Mink oil
      • A lint free soft cotton cloth
      • A sponge
      • A hair dryer

Steps to Follow:

1.) The very first step is to clean your leather boots.

2.) Heat the mink oil to a liquid using the hair dryer or by putting it near a heating source.

3.) Now using the sponge, apply the mink oil over your entire boot, covering especially the hard surfaces like the seams.

4.) Use the hair dryer to even more melt the mink oil over the enter surface of the boot, making sure that the oils seeps into the pores.

5.) Leave in the oil for 30 minutes to let it fully soak in your boots.

6.) Now take the soft cotton cloth and rub in small circles over the boot. This will make the oil to absorb even more and any excess oil will come off.

7.) Repeat the last step once again to get the required shine.

See also: How often to apply mink oil to leather boots

Pro tips:

      • You can use mink oil after every two weeks.
      • Do not use mink oil if the stitching of your boots is done with cotton threads. It will rot the stitching.
      • You can use mink oil in boots stitched with nylon threads.

What are Leather Conditioners?

There are plenty of leather conditioners available in the market and you can know about the best boot conditioners from our detailed study.

Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP Leather Conditioner Natural Oil Beeswax Formula (8oz)

However, if you want to avoid them, beeswax is one of the best leather conditioners that do its job perfectly for your leather boots.

Benefits of Leather Conditioners/Beeswax:

It nourishes the leather fibers

It restores the leather fibers

It helps in repelling water

It makes boots flexible

It brings back the shine of the boots

It softens and moisturizes the leather fibers

It makes your boots go a long way

The Negative Sides of Leather Conditioners/Beeswax:


If color of the conditioner does not match the color of your boots, it might ruin the boots.

How to Apply Leather Conditioners to Your Boots?

The steps are pretty simple though:

      1. Using a cotton cloth apply a small amount of leather conditioner/beeswax to your boots.
      2. Massage in circular motions till you get the desired shine.
      3. Wipe off the excess product.
      4. Voila! You are done.

Is mink oil the same as leather conditioner?

NO, mink oil is not the same as leather conditioners. Though, both have similarity on the point that both of them are used to condition leather goods, yet they differ on lots of other factors.

While Mink oil is processed from natural fat of mink pelt, leather conditioner on the other hand is made of several ingredients such as tallow, beeswax and oils such as mink oil, neatsfoot oil, etc.

Mink oil is used to treat severely worn out leather and to offer weather resistance to it.

Leather conditioner is used to treat leather that has faded due to dirt.

While mink oil will offer an extended life to the leather by making it soft and supple, the effect of leather conditioner is temporary.

See also: Should I Condition My Boots First and Then Add Mink Oil?

When to use mink oil?

Mink oil is used to:

      • Make the leather water-resistant
      • Make the leather flexible and soft
      • It is used to guard the leather against all weather conditions like snow, dust, water, abrasions, etc.
      • It is used to darken leather

When to use leather conditioner?

Leather conditioners are used to:

      • Protect the leather from dirt
      • Bring back luster to the leather
      • Lubricate the fibers
      • Reduce friction that causes damage to the leather
      • Use leather conditioner when you just feel the need to nourish the leather fibers and make it soft

Recommended Mink Oil

Fiebing’s Golden Mink Oil Paste

Recommended Leather Conditioners

Leather Honey Leather Conditioner & Cleaning Kit 

Who Wins the Fight?

Who Wins the Fight

Both mink oil and leather conditioners have their own pros and cons. But while leather conditioners are made for the purpose, mink oil is just a natural alternative to it.

Mink oil smells musky and might rot the leather in the long run, while leather conditioners have sweet smell and won’t rot the leather.

Mink oil will soften the leather while conditioners might not.

Leather conditioners provide better waterproofing than mink oil.

Leather conditioners are easy to apply and mink oil takes patience to work out.

So, according to us leather conditioners are a better option to be considered.

That’s all guys for today. Will be back soon with yet another exciting article.

Till then take care and…

Keep walking!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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