I am a huge fan of coconut oil. It’s useful for so many things! And I’m always looking for new ways I can use it to make my life better and remove chemicals from my life.
So last time I needed to clean my leather shoes, I got to thinking – can you use coconut oil to clean leather?
From time to time, leather goods need some extra loving care. This could be to maintain your leather items. The reality is that although leather is durable, it does tend to fade over time. Treating leather with oil regularly can help avoid this and keep your leather looking good.
Regular oil treatments can also help to keep your leather goods waterproof (especially important for shoes) and keep the leather flexible.
You may also notice cracks or stains on your leather. This is also when you’ll want to consider treating your leather.
Below, I answer whether can you use coconut oil to condition leather and whether it is good to do so by walking you through what treatments you should do to leather and whether coconut oil will work to do this. I also describe exactly how to use coconut oil as a leather conditioner including what to add to coconut oil to get the best results.
Finally, I talk specifically about using coconut oil on leather shoes, coconut oil for leather seats, and coconut oil for leather jackets.
Can You Use Coconut Oil On Leather?
When it comes to maintaining and fixing problems with your leather goods as described above, you’ll want a good oil for the task.
However, you can’t use any oil. You need an oil that:
- Provides waterproofing – this is particularly important for shoes/boots
- Conditions the leather
- Absorbs easily and is lightweight – otherwise it can settle on the surface of the leather and damage it. Same if it is sticky
So when working out can I use coconut oil on leather, we need to consider all these things.
Cleaning leather with coconut oil will provide some waterproofing. However, it is unlikely to last long as it can wash off. This doesn’t mean that it is completely terrible for leather. Adding some more ingredients can help improve its waterproofing ability. Keep reading for more information!
Coconut Oil As A Leather Conditioner
It’s good to condition leather for all the reasons above and to keep leather in the best condition possible so it’s less likely to crack.
You can use coconut oil to soften the leather and treat it. As long as you do this in the right way, it should have a positive effect. It’s not the best choice as a leather conditioner, but it can work.
I recommend you mix it with some ingredients, as described below, first.
How well the leather will absorb coconut oil depends on the type of leather as this can vary. Some leather items may absorb the coconut oil somewhat easily, with others, the coconut oil may sit on the surface struggling to absorb.
This is one of the things worth spot-testing as described below. I also recommend you use the least amount of coconut oil possible. See how well that is absorbed into the leather (and the effect it has) before using more.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Leather?
So yes, using coconut oil on leather is not necessarily bad. However, you do need to think through how you are doing it and what surfaces you want to treat.
The reality is that coconut oil is unlikely to work as well as a specialized leather cleaner
It can work better on cracks and damaged areas than for conditioning the couch overall. However, it can be tricky to apply thanks to becoming hard at 76 degrees.
What can work better for all of this is using a homemade coconut oil leather cleaner where you add some other ingredients to coconut oil to make up for where it’s lacking.
My experience using coconut oil on my leather boots is that it was hard to absorb in cracks and would leave solid bits of coconut oil in them. It did leave the shoes feeling softer afterward though.
Coconut Oil Leather Conditioner
A better way to use coconut oil for leather furniture and other items is to mix it with other ingredients to make your own homemade leather conditioner coconut oil.
Here is what I have tried with success (
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax or candelilla
- 1/2 cup castor oil
- 2/3 cup sweet almond oil
- Over low heat on the stove, melt the coconut oil and beeswax
- Keep stirring while mixing in the sweet almond oil. Stir well until fully combined
- Add the castor oil
- Keep stirring and heating for about 5 minutes, but do not allow it to boil
- Pour into a container for storage
This will create a softer leather conditioner. If you would prefer it harder, add more beeswax. You can substitute coconut butter for coconut oil.
If you are more interested in waterproofing your leather than conditioning it then substitute the castor oil and sweet almond oil with half a tablespoon of carnauba wax and add another 1/4 cup of beeswax.
Coconut oil can darken leather. Many oils will do the same.
This can be ok if you want to darken the leather color of your item, but obviously, it may be a problem if you don’t.
If you use only a very thin layer, polished well, this will limit the chance of the leather darkening very much. However, use it with caution.
Also, while we have been talking about leather as though all leather is equal, the reality is that there are many different types of leather. For this reason, it’s hard to know exactly how a certain leather item will react to coconut oil.
Take that into account when reading the next section and always spot-test your leather conditioner/coconut oil on any item before using it everywhere.
Exactly How To Use Coconut Oil For Leather
Before getting stuck into using coconut oil to condition leather boots or other items all over, try using coconut oil (or any homemade conditioner like the above) on a small patch first and ensure you like the results before continuing. Leave it at least an hour to check this.
If this isn’t possible, like for a prized leather jacket where it may not be possible to test a spot in a place that won’t be seen, I would reconsider using coconut oil and leather.
Step 1: Clean The Item Fully
The second most important thing to do before starting to use coconut oil to clean leather furniture and other items is to clean them fully (the most important thing is to spot-check the coconut oil on the item first).
Ideally, clean fully with a mixture that is half water, and half vinegar using a soft cloth. If you don’t have vinegar, you can use water. If you want to use coconut oil on the leather sofa, vacuum and remove all debris before cleaning.
Let the item dry fully before moving to the next step.
Step 2: Apply The Leather Conditioner/Coconut Oil
Wipe a small amount of conditioner onto a clean cloth. Rub it into the leather item using a circular motion.
To help avoid dark patches, apply evenly with a thin coat doing a section at a time while being extra careful of any seams.
Step 3: Dry For 10 Minutes Then Buff The Surface
Allow it to dry for ten minutes then use a fresh, dry cloth to buff the surface. This means rubbing it and getting rid of any excess oil.
Step 4: Dry Before Use
Ensure the leather is fully dry before you use it again
If you need to treat just a small part of the leather, for example, if there are marks or cracks, you can do the above just for that section. Be aware that it could cause darkening just in that area.
Coconut Oil For Leather Boots/Shoes
Not long ago, I was wondering, can you use coconut oil on leather boots?
So I gave it a try! I used the exact same process as detailed above.
And I had the following experiences using coconut oil for leather shoes.
I found the coconut oil melted and stayed liquefied easily enough when I was rubbing it into my shoes EXCEPT in any small cracks where it would solidify and I’d be left with a white line on the leather that I couldn’t really do anything about except try to clean it out with water.
The positive was that the coconut oil leather boots did feel softer and nicer afterward. I just wouldn’t use it on shoes with cracks again by itself. Instead, I’d use the leather conditioner with the coconut oil recipe above.
Coconut Oil On Leather Jacket
You can also use coconut oil on your leather jacket using the process above.
The hardest part with a leather jacket can be having a patch available where you can spot-test if you like the results of using coconut oil on it and check if it doesn’t darken the leather in a way you don’t like.
My leather jacket had some leather on the inside in the bottom where I could test it as well as in a pocket so try these places first, rub your leather in, buff it, dry and see what you think before using the coconut oil on the whole jacket.
Coconut Oil On Leather Purse
If you are wondering about using coconut oil on a leather purse, this really is just the same process as any other item. The good part about a purse is that it is small so it’s easier to spread the coconut oil on evenly to help prevent dark patches.
Coconut Oil On Leather Couch/Furniture
Finally, can you use coconut oil on leather furniture? Yes, of course. Follow the exact process above of testing a small section then if you like it, prepare the couch or other item by giving it a good clean and drying it.
Next up, rub the coconut oil (or better yet, the leather conditioner recipe above) into the leather furniture in a circular motion. It’s very important to apply it evenly in a thin coat. Then don’t use the furniture until it’s dry.
See full details on all of these steps above.
I hope this guide has helped you answer can coconut oil be used on leather? as well as exactly how to apply coconut oil for leather couches and other items.
While coconut oil isn’t the best leather conditioner out there, it can help keep your leather goods in good condition if you use it properly.