Neatsfoot Oil Vs Mink Oil Review

A few of the most important purposes of using oil on leather are to lubricate the fibers of the leather as it is a biological animal product, to waterproof the leather, and to prevent dry rot.

Many products are available to help you prevent these problems with your leather, including beeswax. This product review covers neatsfoot and mink oil.

Quick Comparison: Neatsfoot Oil Vs. Mink Oil

 Neatsfoot OilMink Oil
UsesDarkens leather color, conditions/preserves/softensWaterproofing, preserves leather
IngredientsCattle shin and foot bonesOil from mink pelts
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

History and Content of Neatsfoot Oil

Before comparing neatsfoot oil and mink oil, you might wonder about the name of neatsfoot and what it actually is.

While there are many kinds of neatsfoot, it comes from the shin and foot bones of cattle and sometimes horses. Neatsfoot is an old way to refer to cattle.

Today, it is said that neatsfoot is made from lard and that, even if there is bone material in it, it is kept to a minimum.

It’s yellow in color. It’s not made from animal fat, so you don’t have to worry about the sugar that breaks down the leather.

Prime Neatsfoot (or Neatsfoot compound) oil has additives from petroleum-based products, and it may hurt leather. Pure neatsfoot oil, although labeled as “pure” is still made from lard.

It resembles the original neatsfoot oil made from cattle bones, but it is not “pure” as you might think of it.

Another downside to some neatsfoot oils today is that they may contain vegetable oil, lanolin, glycerine, other kinds of products made from animals, or petroleum-based products, as mentioned previously.


Neatsfoot oil can rot stitching, some say, but it has also been said that modern stitching is synthetic and doesn’t rot. Neatsfoot is used to darken leather, but mink oil is used for waterproofing, not for changing the original color of your piece of leather.

History and Content of Mink Oil

Mink oil is made from the layer under mink pelts. Mink are small carnivores that live in and out of the water, and they live in North America and Eurasia.

They are widely prized for their brown. Fur trappers first understood that applying mink oil to leather boots made them more flexible and water resistant.

Never use mink oil or baby oil to treat any of your leather products. Mink oil and baby oil are made from animal fat, which has sugar. The sugar works directly against the flesh of the leather. It helps promote the breaking down of leather more than protecting it.

>>Best leather boots for hiking and working (Steel-toe boots).


In conclusion, neatsfoot oil is best for darkening leather, but it is also good for conditioning, preserving, and softening leather. Mink oil doesn’t change the color of leather, but it is great for waterproofing.


Chief editor here at Sky-Liners, Breana is a former expat and outdoor enthusiast who grew up on camping, hunting, and hiking. If she could live anywhere, it would be a tree fort in the woods. For now, she's surviving on weekly hiking trips and monthly mountain breaks. You can read more about Breana's adventures on her blog at 3rdCultureWife.

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