Mink oil is a leather waterproofing agent that contains chemical properties that make it ideal for treating, conditioning, and restoring leather products.
This oil variety is derived from the thick fat layer in a mink’s abdomen.
It dates back to native American indigenous tribes like the Chippewa, who used it as a skin conditioner because of its softening effect.
Does mink oil waterproof leather, though?
Yes, mink oil does waterproof leather, but it’s not a permanent solution.
It’ll help protect the leather in light to heavy rain or a light snowstorm for a short duration, but it’s not going to last forever.
Benefits of Using Mink Oil on Leather:
- Restores the leather’s natural oils that have been lost over prolonged use.
- Prevents leather from peeling or cracking.
- Provides a protective barrier that helps seal in the moisture.
- Helps seal in the color and prevent fading and discoloration in the future.
- Due to over-exposure to sunlight and dirt, leather can become dry and brittle. Mink oil helps condition the leather back to its original quality.
- Waterproofs leather for a short period of time.
- Mink oil has an abundance of palmitoleic acid, which softens the leather and gives it its natural elasticity back.
Side Effects of Using Mink Oil:
- Mink oil can darken leather by clogging up its pores, which makes the leather appear black.
- Mink oil, over a long period of time and with excessive use, can harden the leather.
- Unlike traditional leather conditioners, it doesn’t provide a glossy shine effect on your leather.
- If the leather isn’t cleaned well before applying mink oil, it can make the stains and dirt on the leather permanent.
- It can make the leather surface sticky, which can attract dust.
- Using mink oil on white or light-colored leather will likely cause discoloration.
- Mink oil can’t be used on suede and nubuck leather.
How to Use Mink Oil on Leather
Items you’re going to need:
- Microfiber towel
- Soft bristle brush
- Rubber gloves
- Mink oil
Then follow these steps:
- First off, you want to clean your leather with a wet towel to get all the dirt and grime off of it. Use a soft bristle brush for the creases and seams to make sure it’s totally clean. It’s preferable if you do this step in a well-shaded area to prevent the leather from drying before it can absorb all the mink oil.
- Warm up the leather with a hairdryer. It helps the leather absorb the mink oil better.
- Take a dab of mink oil and start rubbing it into the leather with a circular motion.
- Pay special attention to the stitches and seams, as that’s where dirt and moisture can get in.
- After you’re done, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to let the mink oil seep into the leather to saturate it and make it nice and supple.
- Take a microfiber towel and wipe off all the excess mink oil.
- Let it fully dry overnight.
- If your leather requires multiple coats of mink oil, you can repeat the same process again.
- That’s it! Your leather is nice and waterproof.
How Often Do You Need to Apply Mink Oil to Keep Leather Waterproofed?
This is a tough question to answer because it depends on how often you use your leather.
As a general rule, excess of anything is bad, so you shouldn’t use mink oil on your leather every day.
Overuse of mink oil can clog up all the pores in your leather, which affects breathability.
If you have leather boots, your feet will start getting hot and sweaty due to the lack of ventilation, which in turn will make your boots stinky.
Excessive use of mink oil can also promote the growth of bacteria due to the lack of ventilation.
So, with all that in mind, we think the appropriate way to use mink oil is once every two weeks if the leather is in constant use.
So does mink oil waterproof leather? Yes, but it does so temporarily. You shouldn’t consider it as a permanent solution.
You’ll need to apply the mink oil periodically to ensure a long-lasting proofreading effect.
Just be sure not to overuse the oil so that it doesn’t clog up the leather or prompt bacterial growth.
Remember that waterproofing your leather is only half the battle.
Take good care of your leather and it’ll last you a very long time.