Leather is a popular material for tack because of its durability, style and comfort. Quality leather can last for a long time, but it must be properly taken care of. Using saddle soap regularly will allow your leather tack to stay pristine.
- What is Saddle Soap?
- Benefits of Cleaning Leather
- How to Use Saddle Soap
- 6 Best Saddle Soaps
What is Saddle Soap?
Saddle soap is a necessity for anyone who owns leather tack. It cleans, conditions and protects the leather from wear and damage. When used routinely, it will help maintain the appearance of leather.
Typically, saddle soap is made from lanolin and beeswax. Lanolin is a wax that is secreted by wool-bearing animals. Coming from the sebaceous glands, lanolin is produced after animals, like sheep, are sheared. This unique ingredient provides the necessary moisturizing leather needs.
Some soaps may also be made from glycerin or neatsfoot oil. Glycerin is available in both bar and liquid form and allows the leather to retain proper moisture. Neatsfoot oil, which comes from lard, is ideal for providing much-needed conditioning to dry saddles.
Benefits of Cleaning Leather
Using saddle soap lets leather stay supple while cleaning off any dirt and preventing it from drying out. Without it, leather can become stiff and hard to use. Soap provides the leather with just the right amount of moisture, which helps it from cracking when exposed to hours of UV light from the sun.
In some cases, mold can even start to grow on uncleaned leather. In addition to regular cleaning, storing your tack in bridle bags and saddle covers will help keep them clean.
Leather that has been neglected from lack of cleaning can be dangerous to use. Dried and cracked leather can break much easier than well-maintained leather. If your tack breaks while you are riding it could result in injury.
How to Use Saddle Soap
Ideally, you should clean your leather tack after every time you ride to keep it in top shape. However, since life at the barn can be hectic, this may not always happen. You should aim to clean your leather with soap at least 2-4 times a month.
When cleaning leather, apply the soap to a clean cloth or sponge. Rub all leather parts on your tack in a circular motion. You will need to reapply the saddle soap regularly to your sponge or cloth. After you have cleaned all the leather, take a clean cloth to wipe off any excess.
For bars of soap, take a damp sponge or cloth and rub it in the bar before using on your leather. Though many saddle soaps come ready to use, some need to be diluted in water before using.
After using, you should apply a leather conditioner. Leather conditioner helps leather maintain the moisture from saddle soap and helps prevent it from drying out.
6 Best Saddle Soaps
1. Fiebing’s Saddle Soap
Used on fine saddlery all over the world, this signature saddle soap works hard to clean and lubricate leather. Not only does it prevent brittleness, but it also provides suppleness and strength to leather products.
This soap works like a charm to maintain and restore leather. It provides the essential cleaning powers leather needs. Whether you have an old saddle you want to restore or need a bar of soap to clean your tack every ride, this is the ideal saddle soap.
- Cleans and lubricates leather.
- Perfect for restoring or maintaining leather.
- Easy to use with noticeable results.
- If not stored properly, this soap can dry out.
2. Farnam Leather Saddle Soap
In an easy-to-use spray bottle, this soap works to remove dirt while replenishing the natural oils found in leather. No more dull looking leather after using this to clean your tack.
Great for everyday use, this will keep your leather supple. Even your dirtiest pieces of tack will look brand new after using this glycerin soap. Many equestrians love how simple and effective this spray soap works on their tack. This saddle soap will leave your tack soft and with a long-lasting shine in just one step.
- Comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle.
- Hydrates leather to prevent cracking.
- Leaves leather soft and with a shine.
- Some users found it made tack slightly sticky when applied daily.
3. Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus
Made with lanolin and neatsfoot oil, this soap helps to moisturize and clean leather. It works to restore leather to its original state while preventing it from drying out. With the ability to soften and preserve leather, you only need to apply this soap a few times a month.
Even old, cracking tack can be restored to look new again. In addition to cleaning dirt and grime, this saddle soap can also clean salt stains. This is a great saddle soap to keep handy at the barn. With the ability to be long-lasting, you won’t have to worry about cleaning your tack every time you ride.
- Moisturizes and cleans leather.
- Helps leather return to its natural state.
- Keeps leather soft and supple in between uses.
- The jar can be difficult to open.
4. Kiwi Saddle Soap
This traditional soap works to clean, soften and preserve leather. Made with quality wax for additional protection, your tack will be left feeling smooth. With the ability to remove dirt, grime and salt stains, this soap will leave your tack sparkling clean.
After just one use, you will notice a difference in your leather. Even old, faded leather can look new again with this soap. Made from a traditional mix of ingredients, you can rest assured your leather will be clean.
- Soften and preserves leather.
- Includes a quality wax for additional protection.
- Cleans and restores leather.
- Can dry out easy if not properly stored.
5. Fiebing’s Glycerin Saddle Soap Bar
This glycerin-based saddle soap works wonders when cleaning leather. You don’t have to worry about any staining or discoloration, as it works on all finished leathers. In addition to being an excellent cleaner, this saddle soap bar also preserves and restores tack.
Great to have handy at the barn, the soap will make leather supple and give it a beautiful satin finish. It will also provide a scuff-resistant finish that gives you extra grip while you ride. This is a great saddle soap for all your leather needs, as it won’t dry out your tack. You will love how easy and effective this glycerin-based soap is. This is a must-have for many barns, as professionals love how effective it is.
- Effectively cleans and restores leather.
- Makes leather supple and provides a beautiful finish.
- Provides a scuff-resistant finish with extra grip.
- Comes in a paper box that is not ideal for storing it once it’s been used.
6. OAKWOOD Liquid Soap
Easy to use, yet tough on dirt and grime, this leather soap effectively works to clean leather. With a neutral Ph balanced formula, it gently cleans dirt and grime while moisturizing the leather. It is made from unique ingredients such as beeswax, lanolin, eucalyptus oil and emu oil that are non-toxic.
This easy to use liquid requires no water and is also fragrance-free. Whether you are cleaning your tack for a show or restoring an old saddle, this is a great soap to use. This awesome saddle soap leaves no residue while providing a supple, shiny finish that is not sticky.
- Liquid formula that requires no water.
- Ph balanced to be gentle yet effective while cleaning and moisturizing leather.
- Leaves no residue behind while providing a beautiful finish.
- The bottle can leak easily.
Can Saddle Soap Be Used on Suede?
Though some saddle soap states it can be used on suede, many experts will say not to use it. Since suede is a different texture than finished leather, it will have different effects on it and won’t give it the proper type of clean.
Does it go Stale?
Though soap can last for awhile, over time it may dry out. Once it begins to dry out, you want to avoid using it, as it may not work effectively to clean leather anymore.
Do You Wash Off Soap?
There is no need to wash off soap after applying it, only wipe off any excess. Washing off saddle soap with water will remove the benefits of saddle soap.
What Other Uses Does it Have?
In addition to being used on leather tack, you can use it on leather, shoes, bags, furniture, upholstery and jackets. Saddle soap is a versatile product that is great to keep handy at the barn and your home.