How to Care for Leather With Saddle Soap

by Melissa King

Despite the name, saddle soap isn't just for cleaning horse-riding gear. It works miracles for a variety of leather goods, including dirty shoes and handbags. Saddle soap does more than cut through dirt -- it helps condition and waterproof leather with lanolin and neatsfoot oil. Glycerol, another ingredient, moisturizes leather and helps keep it from drying out. With regular washing, your leather will stay soft and supple for many years.

Dampen a cloth with lukewarm water, then wipe the leather item to remove dirt.

Moisten another cloth with water, then dip it into the saddle soap.

Rub the leather item with the cloth, using small, circular motions. Continue this until you've covered the entire item with saddle soap. Allow the saddle soap to dry for a few minutes.

Wet a clean cloth with water, then wring out the excess. Wipe off the saddle soap, using circular motions. If any lather remains, dampen the cloth again and continue wiping the item. Keep doing this until you've removed all of the soap.

Use a clean, dry cloth to buff the leather, using circular motions, until it shines. Allow the item to dry completely before wearing or using it.

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Items you will need

  • Cloths
  • Saddle soap


  • Some brands of saddle soap may darken light-colored leathers. If you're worried about this, test the soap on a small, hidden spot before applying it to the entire item.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images