Why You Should Use Mink Oil for Boots and How to Apply it Correctly

Got leather boots? If you’re looking for a good leather oil to maintain them, mink oil is a must-have for proper maintenance.

Cleaning leather shoes with or without polish or leather conditioner can give it an incredible shine but that doesn’t come close to what mink oil can do for dull-looking, dried-up leather boots.

Read on to learn the benefits of using mink oil for boots and how to use the oil.

Use Mink Oil for Boots
 Image Source: Pixabay

Benefits of Mink Oil

I’m not going to bore you with the life history of minks or the fat under their fur. We’ll leave that topic for another day. For now, let’s talk about why you should use mink oil for boots.

When used correctly, mink oil has some impressive benefits for leather goods. Here’s a quick rundown of what this oil can do, especially as it concerns a leather product.

Mink Oil Conditions Boots

The most obvious benefit of mink oil for boots is its conditioning effect. It can soften hardened leather items.

If your cowboy boots are beginning to dry up due to age, exposure to harsh conditions, or sheer neglect, you can use mink oil to make them go easy on your toes and feet.

The oil will lubricate the leather fibers to increase their flexibility and softness. The result is improved durability for your leather footwear.

It Replenishes Natural Oil in Leather

Want to restore your cracked leather work boots to life? Think mink oil!

Over time, leather can lose its natural oil. Some of the oil is lost during manufacturing, so when you buy new leather boots, you are already faced with the task of replenishing that lost oil.

Lack of oil causes leather to crack. This can hasten deterioration, as the fibers of the boot tend to separate faster.

Applying mink oil to your boots will replenish any lost oil and increase the lifespan of your leather boots. It’s an important part of leather care.

It Makes Your Boots Resist Water

While shoe polish can give your boots a better shine, it doesn’t have water-resistant properties like mink oil.

Applying mink oil to your boots creates a slightly waterproof barrier, helping them resist rain and wet conditions for a short while, at least until you can get to a dry place.

This is not magic but simple science.

You probably already know that oil and water do not mix. They are two opposite substances, so they will naturally separate when they come into contact.

In addition to protecting your leather boots from water, mink oil can also keep your boots safe against certain stains, including mud and salt stains.

There’s a misconception that mink oil can make your boots fully waterproof. Waterproof boots have inner membranes made from Gore-Tex or something similar.

Mink oil can only provide temporarily waterproofing properties. If you wade through water long enough, your socks will eventually become wet even with boot oil applied!

Mink Oil Lasts for a Long Time

Lastly, your mink oil should remain usable for several years to come provided you keep it away from heat.

Mink oil has impressive oxidative stability. In simple terms, the oil isn’t highly reactive to oxygen like other vegetable oil and animal fat. While some people may use olive oil, neatsfoot oil, coconut oil, or other oils for shoe care, none of them can last as long as mink oil.

Store it in a cool place and the oil won’t go rancid for a long time.

How to Correctly Apply Mink Oil to Boots

mink oil and brus
Image Source: Shutterstock
Step 1: Clean Your Boots

The first thing to do is clean your boots!

Never apply mink oil or any other leather conditioning product to dirty boots. The oil is great for reversing the damage done to leather boots by constant friction, but it won’t magically clean your boots.

If necessary, use soap and water with a soft cloth to remove excess dirt and grease. Fully dry your boots before the next step.

Step 2: Warm Your Boots

Next, you want to prepare your boots to easily absorb the conditioning oil. You can do this by using a hairdryer to blow warm air on the boot.

Step 3: Prepare the Mink Oil

If the oil is hard, often coming in a mink oil paste. Heat it to make it easy to apply.

Step 4: Apply the Oil to Your Boots

Use a clean piece of cloth to dab the oil on your boots in layers. Wipe down the corners of the boots, making sure the smooth leather absorbs the oil.

Step 5: Wipe Down Excess Oil

Thoroughly wipe down any oil that gets into the boot’s soles, laces, buttons, or eyelets. Allow the boot to dry for about two hours or overnight if you prefer.

How Often Should You Apply Mink Oil to Boots?

Okay, mink oil is great for leather boots so it’s safe to use it generously, right?

Not quite.

The saying that too much of everything is bad applies to mink oil for boots, too!

Remember that mink oil is a conditioner for leather boots or products that are used very frequently.

It is best not to use mink oil on new boots unless the leather is too hard that it causes pain or gives you cuts.

Even if your boots see plenty of wear and tear, it is best to limit the use of mink oil to only once in two weeks.

Excessive use of mink oil on your boots can make the leather become too soft and clog the pores. If this happens, there will be little to no ventilation in your boots and trapped moisture will encourage mold growth and bacteria or fungal infection.

Applying too much mink oil for boots can also darken your boots. Therefore, you shouldn’t use mink oil for light-colored boots.

But this might not be such a bad thing if you want your boot to eventually take on a matte appearance or significantly reduce your boot’s natural shine.

Stick to applying the oil occasionally if you want to retain the stock color of your leather boots.

Bottom Line

Mink oil is an essential ingredient in boot maintenance. You should consider adding the oil to your collection if you plan to make your leather boots last a lifetime.

The oil will not only give your old leather boots an ideal shine, but it will also increase flexibility, softness, and suppleness.

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