How to Clean Your Leather Saddle

How to Clean Your Leather Saddle
by

Oak Brand Leather



We at Oak Brand Leather think saddle cleaning is very important.  We all need to
protect our investments.

So we have decided to create this article for your benefit. We know leather and we know the industry.

We are true leather craftsmen and have been providing quality leather products and services since 1969.

How to Clean Your Leather Saddle by Oak Brand Leather. 1

Gather Your Equipment. 2

Leather Cleaning Kits. 2

Strip The Saddle. 3

Saddle Soap. 3

Clean the Leather. 4

Clean Off Any Residual Soap. 4

Apply Leather Conditioner. 5

Clean Metal Fittings and Stirrup Leathers. 6

Brush Up Suede or Rough-Out Leathers. 7

Brush the suede or rough-out portions of your saddle with a stiff brush. 7

Gather Your Equipment


Gather your equipment.

Traditional wisdom says we should clean our saddles every time we use them, but that may not be practical. How often you clean your saddle may

depend on how it is used and how frequently it is used. If you only use your saddles on weekends for leisurely pleasure rides you might

not need to clean your saddle as frequently as someone who participates in a sport where the saddle is exposed to sweat, mud and dirt on a regular basis.

It makes sense to clean them before storing, before a competition, or before selling one.

(And if your stored saddle has sprouted mold, don’t worry. Just follow the steps below.) Gather all your cleaning equipment. You’ll need:

·  Mild saddle soap (glycerin)

·  Non-detergent leather conditioner

·  Small sponge

·  Toweling (3 to 4)

·  Small bucket or bowl of water (not hot)

·  Stiff bristle or wire brush (optional)

·  Cotton swabs

·  Metal cleaner

Leather Cleaning Kits

If you need to obtain the entire kits we can also help with that.

Leather cleaning kit #1

Leather cleaning kit #2

Leather cleaning kit #3

Leather cleaning kit #4

Strip The Saddle


Saddle stripped of stirrups, girth and ready to clean on a saddle stand.

Strip the saddle of all fittings and undo any buckles. Wipe the saddle down with slightly dampened toweling to

remove any loose dust, dirt and hair.

Saddle Soap


Squeeze the sponge out and work up a foam on the cake of soap.

Dampen the sponge in the water. You’ll want it damp but not dripping wet. Dip it in the saddle soap and work up a lather.

All-in-one cleaners that promise to clean and condition in one step may not be good for leather.

Some contain detergents that over time can damage the leather.

Clean the Leather


Apply the soap, then wipe off any residue.

Apply the lather to the leather. Frequently rinse and re-lather the sponge. Work in small circles covering all surfaces of the saddle; top,

underside, and between flaps. Do not apply soap or water to suede or rough-out leathers often found on seats or knee rolls.

Clean Off Any Residual Soap


Clean off excess soap.

Wipe the saddle with a damp towel and then a dry towel. You’ll want to remove any residual soap from the leather as soap left behind may damage the

leather over time. Some saddlers recommend using only a damp cloth and no soap.

Residual soap left in crevices and folds will also hold grit that can eat away at the leather.

Use dampened cotton swabs or the corner of a towel to get all soap out of tiny stitching channels and crevices.

Wipe the saddle dry. The next step is conditioning and they work best on leather that are a tad damp.

Apply Leather Conditioner


Apply a light layer of
professional quality Oak Brand Leather Conditioner.

Apply our own professional Oak Brand Leather Conditioner. Apply the oil very sparingly. You don’t want to clog the pores or give dirt a

place to cling to. Too much oil can soak through the leather into the padding or tree underneath and cause damage.

Remember if you apply too much oil it’s almost impossible to get out quickly. You may have to wait for months as it gradually oozes out onto your clothes.

Clean Metal Fittings and Stirrup Leathers


Clean the metal fittings and stirrups being sure not to get metal cleaner on leather.

Wipe down all metal fittings and remove any residual soap or conditioner that may have gathered on them.

Follow the same steps of applying soap and conditioner to clean the stirrup leathers.

Metal cleaner can be used on stirrups but they can also be cleaned with regular dish soap and water. Rinse well. Use caution if you clean

the metal fittings on the saddle with metal cleaner that it doesn’t get into the leather.

Brush the suede or rough-out portions of your saddle with a stiff brush.

Brush Up Suede or Rough-Out Leathers

Very occasionally you may want to make suede or rough-out seats or knee rolls look nice. Use a stiff bristle brush to brush up the nap.

Do this very infrequently as too much brushing will wear through the suede and you’ll end up holes.

You may want to do this step only if you’re trying to make the saddle look extra good for a special show or to sell.


Thanks for reading our “How To Clean Your Leather Saddle” by Oak Brand Leather.  Remember if you want to learn more about protecting your leather investment please go to our web site. Once there you may
send us mail.

Thanks for choosing Oak Brand Leather for all of your custom leather needs.

Ed Oak Mathieus