Saddle soap is truly an amazing product. Made of a combination of softening agents and preservatives - traditionally, lanolin and beeswax - this type of soap is an excellent cleaner and conditioner for a multitude of leather goods.
Popular uses for saddle soap include horse tack maintenance and cleaning leather garments and shoes.
If you’ve ever sought advice on how to salvage that old, worn-out pair of leather shoes at the back of your closet, you may have heard saddle soap touted as the ‘miracle fix’.
However, things get a little more complicated when you consider the fact that there are dozens of saddle soap brands on the U.S. market, and no two are exactly alike.
That’s why we decided to compile this list of the five best saddle soap brands on the market.
Using our product reviews, buyers guide, and FAQ section, you’ll be able to purchase a saddle soap in complete confidence that it will clean your leathers to the highest possible standard.
If you don’t have time to stick around, check out our top pick:
- Made and manufactured in the U.S.A.
- Fiebing’s is a trusted manufacturer
- Uses natural, vegetable oil-based lubricant
- Easy to apply
- 2 container sizes available
Top 5 Best Saddle Soap
OUR TOP PICK
You’ll find Fiebing’s Saddle Soap at the top of just about any list of saddle soap brands you can find.
Fiebing has been a well-established and well-loved U.S. manufacturer of leather care products since 1895, and since then, its saddle soap has been one of its most popular products.
This saddle soap has been formulated to clean and lubricate individual fibers in leather with natural, sulfated vegetable oil and Polydimethylsiloxane. This formula provides a deep and thorough clean whilst maintaining the suppleness and strength of new leather.
In its polish form, Fiebing’s saddle soap is easy to apply in moderate quantities with a soft cloth.
Fiebing’s saddle soap is available in tubs of 12 or 3.5 oz, so you can purchase the quantity you need for the scale of your leather-cleaning task.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Trusted and popular manufacturer
- Natural, vegetable oil-based lubricant
- Easy cloth application
- 2 tub size options available
- May slightly darken leather
For those eco-conscious leather owners, Otter Wax Saddle Soap is an all-natural formula, made in the U.S.A from environmentally friendly and non-toxic ingredients!
Otter Wax has formulated its saddle soap using beeswax, Castile, and lemongrass oil for a gentle cleansing and moisturizing effect on all your leather surfaces, from boots to car seats.
This saddle soap isn’t just easy on your environmental conscience - it’s also super easy to apply! Simply use a damp cloth or soft-bristled brush to remove dirt and stains from your leather and wipe clean.
With this natural formula, cleaning your leathers can become a more pleasant task than ever before thanks to the citrus fragrance created by the lemongrass oil and other ingredients.
Where other saddle soap brands do not recommend their products for use on more delicate, leather-adjacent materials, Otter Wax saddle soap is gentle enough for use on suede.
- All-natural formula
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Non-toxic ingredients
- Suitable for use on suede
- Easy to apply
- Pleasant fragrance
- Some customers have complained of leather darkening after use
Another product from Fiebing, this saddle soap bar is made of 100% glycerine. An all-glycerine formula is highly desirable in a saddle soap because of its incredibly gentle, hydrating properties.
These properties are proven by Fiebing’s recommended use of their product as a shampoo for show horses and cattle to enhance the quality and shine of their coats.
This soap comes as a sizeable 7 oz bar weighing 0.4 pounds, so you can be sure at the point of purchase that this soap will last you a long time and provide many in-depth leather cleanings.
Again, this soap is easy to apply to all your leathers with a damp sponge. The surface can then simply be buffed with a dry cloth once the soap is dry.
This saddle soap is suitable for use on all leather surfaces and will not cause darkening or discoloration to any leather items when applied according to directions. However, it is still advisable to spot test this product before use.
- 100% glycerine formula
- Large 7 oz bar
- Easy application
- Suitable for use on all leathers
- Some users find the soap bar form more difficult to use than other Feibing products
Another popular saddle soap brand is Bickmore’s Saddle Soap Plus.
This saddle soap is made in the U.S.A. and uses 99.7% pure glycerin with added lanolin and neatsfoot oil to moisturize and clean leather surfaces.
This formula has been tried and tested since 1882 and is powerful enough to lift dirt or salt stains whilst remaining gentle enough on leather to avoid discoloration or other damage.
Bickmore’s saddle soap is available in containers sized 6.5 or 2.8 oz, so you have some purchasing flexibility in terms of which quantity best suits your needs.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- 99.7% pure glycerin
- Contains lanolin for moisturization
- Available in 6.5 or 2.8 oz containers
- Not for use on roughout or napped leathers
- Some reports of damage on arrival
So far, we’ve featured saddle soaps in polish and soap bar form, but this New Easy-Polishing Glycerine Saddle Soap from Farnam Leather presents saddle soap in its liquid form.
This is a multi-purpose soap that cleanses, polishes, and conditions leather in a single step through its effective glycerine formula.
The liquid consistency of this soap, dispensed through an easy-to-use 32 fl. oz spray bottle, makes cleaning your leathers easier than ever.
A significant advantage of this saddle soap brand is that it will remove dirt without staining your leather in turn. This means that you can use this soap to achieve that sought-after shine for your leather items without worrying about staining, drying, or dulling.
However, some customers have reported some darkening of lighter colored leather items, so this soap should only be used on leather that is dark enough to resist discoloration.
- Glycerine formula
- Easy application spray bottle
- Single-step cleaning, conditioning, and polishing
- May darken lighter leathers
Best Saddle Soap Buying Guide
If you’ve read this far and still aren’t sure which saddle soap will best meet your requirements, don’t worry.
There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to leather cleaning products like saddle soap, but this buyers guide will help you to make the right decision!
The first and most important factor to consider when purchasing any saddle soap is the ingredient content.
Because saddle soap is not a food item, manufacturers are not necessarily required to list all of the ingredients contained in their product.
Luckily, all you really need to know (unless, of course, you suffer from specific product allergies, in which case you should consult the manufacturer) are the primary ingredients used as the basis for the formula.
There are a few common ingredients across saddle soap brands to bear in mind when determining which is the right saddle soap for you.
As we mentioned previously, the traditional formula for saddle soap contains lanolin and beeswax. These ingredients are present in some, but not all of the products featured on our list.
Lanolin is also commonly known as ‘wool yolk’ or ‘wool wax’ because of its waxy texture and the fact that it comes from the sebaceous glands of sheep.
Lanolin is a highly effective moisturizer, so it’s no surprise that it features frequently in saddle soap formulae, where hydration and moisturization are essential.
However, lanolin is the primary substance that causes human wool allergies, so if you are allergic to wool, you should avoid saddle soaps containing lanolin.
Beeswax is another popular saddle soap ingredient because of its softening and conditioning properties. Beeswax will help to keep your leathers supple whilst also providing a water-resistant layer to prevent water damage in the future.
The next most popular ingredient used in saddle soap is glycerine. Glycerine is very gentle and hydrating, hence its use in many high-quality skin products. When used in saddle soap, glycerine will help to hydrate your leather and provide a gentle, moisturizing cleanse.
The moisturizing properties of glycerine can also be imitated by natural plant-based oils, such as vegetable or lemongrass oils, which are also often found in saddle soaps. Lemongrass oil has the added benefit of lending an appealing smell to your saddle soap and, by extension, your leathers.
Castile also features in many saddle soap formulae and is a desirable ingredient to look out for thanks to its moisture content, deep-cleaning properties, and non-toxic, natural status.
Where possible, it is advisable to stick to saddle soap formulas that use natural ingredients, as exemplified by several of the products on our list. Not only will natural formulae be gentler and safer for use on your leather, but they are also more likely to be non-toxic, making them safer for handling.
As you may have noticed from the range of soaps featured on our list, saddle soap comes in a variety of forms and consistencies. The consistency of saddle soap is an important consideration to make because it may dictate how easy the soap is to use and apply.
Primarily, saddle soap can be purchased in 3 forms. It is perhaps most often available in a polish-like consistency in a resealable tub. However, it can also be obtained as a soap bar or, in its liquid form, in a spray bottle.
Saddle soap users will each have their own preference when it comes to soap consistency, but there are, nonetheless, some advantages and disadvantages to each type.
Polish-like saddle soap in a resealable tub is favored by many users because it is easier to store when not in use compared to soap bars.
The same can be said of liquid spray-on saddle soap. Additionally, saddle soap in liquid form does not necessarily require the use of water during the application, which simplifies the process.
However, users may find a solid bar of saddle soap more intuitive to use since it applies similarly to other standard forms of soap.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use saddle soap?
We’ve already covered this to some extent in the ‘consistency’ subsection of our buyers guide (see above) but this question is important enough to warrant a more in-depth answer.
Using saddle soap incorrectly can result in unfortunate results for your leathers, including discoloration and drying, so it’s crucial to know how best to apply your saddle soap before first use.
The best way to apply saddle soap to your leathers will vary depending on individual product formulas and consistencies.
You should always check the product-specific application guidelines before applying saddle soap to any leather items.
That being said, in general, the first step to using saddle soap to clean your leathers is to do an initial clean of the desired surface.
When using soap in bar or polish form, you can do this by gently rubbing some soap into the leather with a damp cloth or damp soft-bristled brush. Don’t use too much water during this step since water can be damaging to leather in excessive quantities.
If you’re using liquid saddle soap, you may not need to use any extra water, but check this with the product guidelines.
Additionally, if you are using a saddle soap that is suitable for use on suede, you should check the instruction guide of the specific product, since suede should generally not be exposed to water.
Once you’ve cleaned the leather, wipe away any residual soap and dry any water from the leather using a new, dry cloth.
At this point, you can use a conditioner (again, suede will probably be an exception here) to finish treating your leather. This will leave your leather feeling supple and looking shiny, as well as providing water-resistance.
We recommend using a conditioner by the same brand as the saddle soap you are using for the best results.