Mink Oil vs Saddle Soap: What to Use on Boots?

Purchased a stellar pair of leather work boots and want to take good care of them? However, it’s quite obvious that you might get confused with the number of leather care products available in the market.

Mink Oil vs Saddle SoapWhile most of us know about some common oils like mink which are used for conditioning of leather, there are soaps like saddle soap which works great when it comes to cleaning. What’s the difference between the two and which is actually better for your boots?

The main difference between mink oil and saddle soap is their role in keeping your boots long standing. While the former is a conditioner for hard wearing leather items, the latter is a cleansing agent.

However, deciding which is better for your boots is a bit tricky as both products together do a great job at cleaning, hydrating and adding more years to your leather boots. That is why we suggest you clean your work boots with saddle soap and then condition them with mink oil.

To make you more clear about the two we have made a comprehensive guide which will break down the differences. Keep reading to find out more!

Pros and Cons of Saddle Soap


There are more than a couple of reasons which will definitely make you buy saddle soap irrespective of what all “leather care products” are available in the market. Basically, saddle soap helps in cleaning, maintaining and moisturizing your work boots.

Firstly, saddle soap gives your leather boots just the right amount of moisture they need and saves them from drying out. We all know that leather dries out over time and if you are wearing it outside on a daily basis then it’s moisture content is lost within no time.


Such a phenomenon can result in leather cracking and substantial damage. Here saddle soap acts as a saviour! Conditioning your boots regularly with saddle soap can give enough protection to your boots and helps retain the moisture.

Morerover, the soap contains certain cleaning compounds which easily remove all the stains and dirt from the surface of your boots. This way you can maintain your boots and help increase their longevity.


Saddle soap is not as shiny as it looks. Even it has got some downside. Most of the people worry about using saddle soap as it can dry out the leather by extracting out all the protective oils and waxes.

If you are thinking that you can saturate your entire boot with the soap then let me tell you it could have consequences. This way you are allowing the saddle soap to pull out as much of the oil it can.

Not just this, excessive use of soap can discolour the leather and can make it look one or two shades lighter.

Pros and Cons of using mink oil on leather



        • Prolonged use of mink oil hardens the leather
        • People often complain that mink oil darkens the leather
        • It is not as effective as a conditioner and fails to provide the desired shine.

Saddle soap vs Mink oil: An overview

Before getting into too much of details, let’s have a quick overlook at the main differences between mink oil and saddle soap

        Mink Oil         Saddle Soap
Origin Obtained from mink fats from Mink pelts Saddle soap is a compound with added lanolin and waxes.
Main Ingredients Mink Oil Lanolin and Waxes
  1. Helps in oiling the leather
  2. Makes Leather waterproof
  3. Makes work boots more flexible
  1. Gives moisture to leather and prevents it from drying out.
  2. Helps to clean the leather
Cleaning No Yes
Conditioning Heavy conditioning Light conditioning
Weather Resistance Yes No
Disadvantages on Leather Mink oil makes the leather more gresy If used in large amounts, it can discolour the leather. Causes leather to become soapy or damp.

Saddle Vs Mink


If we take cleaning into consideration then saddle soap obviously wins the race. Just a little amount of saddle soap on a rag along with some warm water makes your boots cleaner than ever. This is something which can’t be achieved by using mink oil.

Infact, if you will clean the dirt or stain on work boots, then chances are that mink oil will essentially seal the stain in.

Therefore, if you want to clean your boots then use saddle soap first. Later on, if you are in the mood of darkening the leather then go for mink oil which will preserve and condition the leather.


Saddle soap is customized for softening the leather but mink oil is a better conditioner. Moreover, apart from cleaning, it removes some of the waxes and oils of the leather and makes it a bit dull.

On the other hand, mink oil saturates leather with waxes and fats and makes your boots resistant to weather. It conditions the leather and softens it thus saving your boots from getting cracks and holes.

Weather Resistance

Saddle soap cannot provide any kind of weather resistance. You can get mild water resistance with mink out since it is a fat based compound and helps in saturating leather. The oil adds a solid layer of resistance which protects your boots in extreme conditions.

Best Saddle Soap

Now that we have gained some basic knowledge about saddle soap, let’s see which is the best one available in the market. 

1. Fiebing’s Saddle Soap

        • Can be used not only on your boots but also on other leather products with equal ease and comfort.
        • Fiebing’s saddle soap cleans leather and lubricates the fibres to prevent brittleness.
        • Helps in maintaining suppleness of leather 
        • The quality is really impressive
        • Made in the USA.
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Mink Oil

2. Fiebing’s Golden Mink Oil Paste 

        • Fiebings Golden Mink Oil Leather Preserver is great for use on leather and vinyl items such as boots, shoes, baseball gloves, jackets and horse saddles and harnesses!
        • Golden Mink Oil softens, preserves, and waterproofs smooth leather and vinyl for outdoor use.
        • Helps prevent water, salt and perspiration stains.
        • Specially formulated with silicone, lanolin and vitamin E to replenish lost oils.
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Are there any similarities between Mink Oil and Saddle Soap?

While we have seen that these two leather products are entirely different from each other, can there be any similarities between the two? Yes, you heard it right! Below are some common things shared by these two products

      • Both the products are suitable for only smooth leathers and are not recommended to be used on suede or nubuck leather.
      • Mink oil or saddle soap works hard wearing leather such as winter boots or work boots.
      • Both the products are available in paste form.
      • These help in nourishing and protecting the leather. 

Final Verdict

Both, saddle soap and mink oil are complementary to each other and work really well if used properly. While one cleans the leather, the other conditions it and makes it waterproof.

At the end of the day, whether it’s saddle soap or mink oil, you need to protect your boots with whatever works the best.

The purpose of both the products are different and in essence, both are most basic and essential maintenance product with little or no harm to your work boots.

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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