I recently made a video sharing some of my favorite leather care items.
And then I had someone ask me in the comment section if I have a list of all of these products on my blog. What a genius idea! Why hadn’t I thought of that?
Well I have to say thank you to that viewer, for giving me the idea for a blog post that I should have already thought of! So thank you!
Putting Together A Leather Care Kit
Just like we have our grooming kits, isn’t it a good idea to have a leather care kit too? I mean, it makes sense. Our tack is an investment. And in order to keep that investment going strong, it needs to be care for.
And even though some of these products might seem expensive, they really aren’t. Think about it. Over time, you have spent a lot of money on tack, and that tack needs to be cleaned and conditioned in order to last and be safe. So a $20.00 bottle of leather cleaner and conditioner is far cheaper than buying a new saddle, right?
To keep things organized, it’s an excellent idea to keep all of your leather care supplies in a handy tote.
This way you know where everything is. And you don’t have to wander around looking for your leather cleaner, or a rag, or a sponge, or a ….. you get the idea. So the first thing you need to do is find something to keep all of your products in.
For myself, I have recently painted a grooming tote that I had made. And it works perfect for storing everything.
It also fits well under my fancy saddle stand that I made. It was as if my future self knew I would need this some day. Honestly it just makes sense to keep the products close by the saddles, right?
So if you have an old grooming tote lying around (I bet you do) clean it out, and clean it up. Then find all of your leather care items, and keep them here as well.
If you are trying to get organized, this is a fantastic first project. It’s relatively easy and quick. Which can give you a nit of motivation to tackle another organizational project.
Ok, now that we have something to store all of our leather care stuff in, lets talk about the products.
Keeping your tack clean is very important. Especially if you want it to last. The products that I am going to share with you are ones I use on a regular basis. I have tried so many different cleaners, but these are the one I always end up going back too.
This is by far my most favorite leather cleaner. It is made by Effax-Effol, which is a German company. But thankfully, it is so popular you don’t have to go to Germany to find it.
Leder-Combi is a leather cleaner that you simply put on a rag, and then clean your tack. No rinsing required. And it works. But better than working, which of course is really important, it is so easy to use!
It costs around $19.00 for a 500 ml bottle, and it lasts a very long time. I think this is my second bottle that I have purchased in the past 2 years. So a $19.00 purchase to protect and clean my tack is worth it.
As a side note, the Leder-Combi works great for leather couches too. We bought our leather couch at IKEA two years ago. And I didn’t have any couch leather cleaner, so I grabbed my Leder-Combi, put some on a clean towel and cleaned my couch. It worked fantastic! So much so that I haven’t bought another cleaner for my leather furniture.
I bought this at Dover Saddlery because I bought a double leather saddle, and I wasn’t sure if I could use the Leder-Combi on it. And I researched what kind of soap would be safe to use on my fancy new saddle. The Stubben soap was the one that seemed like the best choice. I am so glad I bought it.
It’s relatively easy to use, you do need to have a sponge and warm water, but that is the most difficult part of the application. So you get your sponge damp with warm water and apply a little bit of the soap on the sponge, then you just rub it in to the leather.
Then you wipe it off with a soft towel. The best towel I have found is a microfiber towel that you can find at the Dollar Tree.
Honestly, this is the BEST microfiber towel I have found. It can be hard to find, but if the Dollar Tree has them, they are located in the automotive section of the store. Seriously, this is an AWESOME towel to have in your kit, as well as a few extra’s for the barn as well!
But back the the Stubben Saddle Soap. This is a fantastic cleaner to add to your leather care kit. It is especially great if you like to see a little bit of suds, to prove to yourself it’s actually cleaning.
The next important thing to add to your leather cleaning kit is a leather conditioner. I have two that are my favorites, and one that I still use on my bridles, which I will explain why further down.
Again, Effax makes my favorite leather balm. Effax Lederbalsam is incredible. And it’s affordable too. At roughly $21.00 for a 500 ml tub, it is worth its cost.
Effax Lederbalsam is made with lanolin and avocado oil. It also has beeswax in it, which helps to repel moisture. And when you put this on your saddle, it gives just the right amount of ‘stick’ to the saddle.
And the best thing is that this Lederbalsam is safe to apply to the ‘double leather’ that so many saddles seem to be made of today. I’m sure that’s not the official name for it. But its the type of leather that almost has a brushed appearance. Its not smooth, and its not the dimpled kind of leather. But the most important thing is this Lederbalsam will not damage this type of leather.
To apply it, I just use my hands. Not only does it feel great, it smells fantastic too!
This leather conditioner really is awesome, but it’s difficult to find. I bought this 4 years ago. And I think I found it at SmartPak. Unfortunately, I don’t think they carry it anymore. But I was able to find it on the Antares website. And it is affordable at $30.00 a tub.
I have not used this on my ‘brushed leather’ saddle. But I have used it a lot on my other saddles. And it seems to work better than the Effax does for my Arena saddle.
The Arena saddle I actually won in a contest. And I really do love this saddle. But the Effax just seemed to sit on top of the seat and knee rolls. Antares leather conditioner to the rescue!
After cleaning, the Antares conditioner soaks in beautifully to the leather. I am really happy with this conditioner, and it works great on bridles too. It gives a soft shine to the leather, and isn’t sticky.
I only have about a 1/4 of the tub left, so I guess I am going to have to break down soon and buy another container of it. But since I can’t find it locally, I will have to order it directly from Antares. The shipping isn’t horrible, only $9.87. Which brings the total cost to $39.87. Believe me, it’s worth it.
Now that I have shared my favorites, I have a few extras that I love to have in my leather care kit.
I can’t remember how I first learned about Hydrophane leather dressing. But I am so glad that I did. If you have new tack, you know how stiff the leather can be. Or if you have some older, or cheap leather tack, you know how stiff it can be.
This is where the Hydrophane comes into use. You see, it is a leather dressing that actually helps to soften leather. It doesn’t matter if it’s new, old, or cheap, hydrophane will make it softer.
You put it on the leather with a rag, and allow it to penetrate the leather. It can take several applications over an hour or so. But it really works.
Now, every time I get a new bridle, halter, or any leather strap goods, I always apply Hydrophane to it before using it.
But there is a caveat to this too. Most higher end saddle manufactures do not recommend using this product on their saddles. And in some cases doing so might effect the warranty on your saddle. So always check with your saddle manufacture to see if using Hydrophane will void the warranty.
Again, I do not use this product on my saddles, only my strappy tack.
I didn’t realize how incredible this was, until I actually used it. And I only realized what it was after I got another instant shine product.
But Effax Speedy Shine is a shiner product. You simply apply it to clean leather, like your boots, halter, or bridle, and get ready to see the shine!
I would not recommend using this on your saddle. It will get slippery! So only use it on your boots, and again, strappy tack. It is the perfect addition to your ringside tote too.
It is very affordable on Amazon. Even with a shipping charge, it is still cheaper on Amazon than any tack retailer.
This was my first introduction to an instant shiner product. It came in one of the Heart To Horse Boxes I used to subscribe to. And it is amazing! Just like the Effax Speedy Shine, the Fiebings Instant Shine is a product you apply to your boots or strappy tack to give it an instant shine. Just like the product name.
And it really works! Again, this is a product you would not put on your saddle, but for your boots, bridles, breast collars, etc. It is fantastic.
It also helps to repel dust. So if you are riding in a dusty arena, but still want your boots and tack to look great, consider using this product. It is a little more expensive than the Effax, but I think it might be a little easier to find. That is unless you are shopping on Amazon. They have everything it seems.
And if you want to experience all of the Effax products I have talked about, but aren’t really sure about the cost, you might consider this starter leather care kit.
This was how I was introduced to all of the incredible Effax products. The starter set includes:
- Leather grip stick
- Speedy leather shine block
- Black boot polish
- A super soft brush
- Carrying case
All of this for $38.00 plus shipping. Not too bad to be able to sample the products, and see if you like them. Or, like me….LOVE them!
Once I tried Effax products, and saw what they did for my tack, I was sold. And the handy carry case is fantastic to either take to a show, or turn it into something else all together. I love this set. And I love all things Effax.
Amazon has the best price on this kit at $38.00. Dover Saddlery, and SmartPak carry it too, but its around $48.00.
The Ultimate Leather Care Kit
All right, there you have it! A whole bunch of information to help you create the ultimate leather care kit for all of your leather tack. It doesn’t matter if you ride English or Western. Tacking care of your tack is something all equestrians need to do.
Hopefully this will help motivate you to make your own ultimate leather care kit. And maybe even help you with finding great products that you will love, and your leather will too!