How to Make and Use Your Own Homemade Leather Conditioner

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From leather jacket to fine upholstery for our couches, leather is a part of our daily lives, and anyone who loves leather knows that it will last longer and continue to look gorgeous if you take care of it well.

Conditioning leather is important because constant use and the dry atmosphere can suck out all the moisture from it, leaving it dry and lackluster. Dry leather not only looks bad, it also cracks very easily, and can easily get ruined. A leather conditioner ensures that your leather stays soft and supple by renewing natural oils used in the tanning process.

Homemade Leather Conditioner

Take good care of leather goods with what you have lying around

Buying a leather conditioner can be an expensive affair and is completely unnecessary if you are willing to spend a little time. You can easily learn how to make your own leather conditioner that will not only be superior than most of the stuff that you will buy from the store but also cost you a lot less.

Best of all, you can find most of the ingredients that you need in your home itself, and will not even have to go out shopping! The only downside is that you will first have to check the mixture in an inconspicuous spot first to ensure that there is no discoloration in the leather of any kind.

Which leather to treat with your homemade concoction

Most modern leathers that you will have in your house will be of the finished variety and the conditioner that you make by yourself will work great on them.

However, if you own an especially expensive leather object, then it is always best to leave the care of it to the professionals. For such leather items, just ensure that you wipe the leather regularly, and have them conditioned at least once every year.

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As well as, some homemade leather conditioners may not be suitable for unfinished leather and it is important to know the difference between finished and unfinished leather. Any leather described as aniline, semi-aniline, raw leather, suede, nubuck, pull up is considered unfinished. The best way to tell if you have finished or unfinished leather is to do the water drop test.

If the water drop ends up darkening or staining the leather then it’s unfinished and if doesn’t then it’s finished leather. Make sure to perform this test on a hidden area of the leather.

Homemade Conditioner Recipe for Finished Leather

Homemade Leather Conditioner for Finished GoodsThe following recipe is wonderful to use on any type of finished leather. The only point you need to keep in mind is to not use this recipe on unfinished leather because unfinished leather does not have topical pigment applied or has only been treated with a small amount of resin coating. This kind of coating makes unfinished leather more susceptible to staining and fading.

What you will need to start:

There are many ingredients that you can use to create the perfect leather conditioner at home. For example, you can use a mixture of lukewarm water and some baby soap, mixed with some drops of white vinegar.

In short, you must have the followings:

  • Half a cup of warm water
  • Any brand of high-quality mild baby soap
  • White vinegar
  • 1-2 drops of essential oil to mask the citric smell of vinegar (Optional)

Steps by Step Instructions:

  1. Before you start with the conditioning, clean the leather first!
  2. Then grab some warm water mix it with a tablespoon of mild baby soap. Add 2-3 drops of vinegar for added effect.
  3. Soak a soft rag with this mixture, rinse it a little and then wipe the leather surface in gentle and circular motion until you are done with the entire surface.
  4. Wait for the leather to dry out.
  5. Apply a little olive oil on a soft piece of rag, and then apply it all over the leather in a small circular motion. Use only a little oil, and make sure that it is evenly spread.
  6. The baby soap also has essential oils and is a great moisturizer, so even if you do not apply the added layer of olive oil, your leather will look amazing, but you will get the best shine with this added effort.
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Pro Tip: If you do not like the vinegar smell, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the cleaning mixture, and the smell of vinegar will get masked.

This is all that it takes to condition your leather couch and other items using a leather conditioner that you can make by yourself, anytime you need it. Make sure that you first test the mixture in some hidden corner and then wait for it to dry out completely before you proceed with the rest of the surface, as some leathers can get discolored and always want to avoid that!

Homemade Conditioner for Finished & Unfinished (Aniline Only) Leather

Homemade Leather Conditioner for Both Finished and Unfinished GoodsAs we saw, the previous leather conditioner recipe works quite delightfully and is useful when you may only have certain ingredients at home, yet we have some other options you can consider for your leather products as well.

The following recipe can be used both on finished and unfinished leather however only certain types of unfinished leathers such aniline and semi-aniline. Not suede or other types of unfinished leathers.

This homemade recipe will definitely come in handy when you may be conditioning both finished and unfinished leather with the same batch of solution. And always keep in mind to test the solution in a small discreet area of your leather first.

What you will need before start:

  • Beeswax
  • Coca Butter
  • Sweet almond oil (or any other type of liquid oil make sure it’s not to greasy)
  • Any size cooking pot
  • Glass Jar
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Step by Step Instructions:

  1. You need only three parts for this homemade leather balm. You want one part beeswax, one part coca butter and two parts liquid oil. This way, you can make as much or as little as you want. Now, if you want a softer product that is closer to a cream than a balm, you can go with three parts liquid oil against one part cocoa butter and one part beeswax.
  2. Add in all of the ingredients together into a large pot on your stove and melt the items together. You can have your oven on a medium-low heat so nothing burns. If you want any kind of specific sent to the balm, you are free to include an essential oil, that you desire. This can give a nice fragrance to all of your leather products, without masking the nice leather smell either.
  3. Once you have everything melted together (make sure to stir the pot throughout the melting process in order to prevent anything from sticking to the side of the pot or from burning on the bottom). As soon as everything has melted remove the pot from the stove and let the mixture cool for about 30 mins. Then pour the leather balm into a glass jar but really any container with a sealable lid should work just fine. After that you have your very own homemade leather balm, that you can almost use on all your leather products.


Using a leather conditioner is the last step in renewing the shine of your leather pieces because first you need to clean them with a leather cleaner. Just like these leather conditioner recipes, you can take safe and easily accessible ingredients right from your home to make a leather cleaner. Check out our amazing homemade leather cleaner recipes for some ideas!

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