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Homemade leather dressing balm

I don't own many pairs of shoes, so I really like to take care of the shoes I do own.  My favourite pair are these leather boots that I bought in NZ a few years ago (sorry Brisbane, but you didn't have any nice boots).  I've had these boots for about eight years.  I don't get to wear them very often, I have to wait for our short winter, but I will wear them at any opportunity!  The key to looking after leather shoes is a good leather dressing and the right storage.




I've been using a leather dressing that I bought, but I ran out, so time to make my own.  Leather dressing is made with neatsfoot oil, which is the fat from the legs of cattle.  This has a different melting point to the tallow (fat around their body).  Neatsfoot oil is popular for leather dressing and available from produce stores and horse supplies.  Its actually liquid at room temperature, so I added beeswax to make it solid and more manageable.  And some lavender essential oil for a nice fragrance as well.

For my first attempt, I followed a recipe with 50:50 neatsfoot oil to beeswax by weight, but that came out a bit too solid.  Second try is one third beeswax to two thirds neatsfoot oil and and that is a good consistency.  I use 10 drops of essential oil per 100g of leather dressing.  I melt it in a jar in a pot of simmering water, and then either keep it in the jar or pour it into a smaller tin.  Its really very easy and only a little bit messy.

Whenever my leather boots are looking a bit scuffed and dry, I apply the leather dressing with a clean cloth   I just keep rubbing it in until they are looking good again.  It doesn't take long, and it makes my leather boots look new again.  I also did a belt and a bag while I had the cloth out!


one boot done
I store my boots stuffed with newspaper to stop them from creasing, and keep them in a shoebox in tissue paper in a cool dark cupboard.  I hope I can keep them looking good for a few years to come because I don't want to have to try to find another pair that are this comfy!




Do you make or use a leather dressing?  How do you care for leather shoes and other items?

My leather dressing and wooden chopping board polish are now available in my Etsy store in 100g tins.




Comments

  1. Liz, that leather dressing does a good job. I only have some ankle boots that I don't wear very often unless it is extremely cold but the days have been quite warm so far this winter.

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  2. I live in boots for most of the year, either RM Williams or my garden-farm work Redbacks with steel caps, so we do go through a bit of leather dressing because I want these boots to last a long time, they are expensive. You are so clever to have devised this recipe, and very generous to share it with us all. Thanks!

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