Mink oil is a good all-around solution for conditioning and protecting suede. Suede usually isn’t conditioned, but if you want to make your suede last a little longer and keep it soft and supple, mink oil is a great way to do so. In this guide, we’ll go through how to use mink oil on suede, its effects, and things you may already have in your home that you can use as an alternative.
Can mink oil be used on suede?
Yes, mink oil can be used on suede. However, we only recommended using mink oil for darker-colored suede items as it has a tendency to darken the material. If you want to condition your shoes, bag, or other suede garments, go for the suede protectors and conditioners in the market that are guaranteed safe for all suede colors.
What does mink oil do to suede?
Mink oil is used for conditioning suede and if you want to weatherproof your item. The oil will keep it lightly protected from water or any liquid stains, but the downside is that it also causes the suede to become a shade darker. If you’re dealing with dyed suede (dark brown or black), then it’s generally fine for you to use mink oil to condition and protect it.
- It makes the suede semi-water-resistant and weatherproof.
- Mink oil helps rehydrate the suede and bring back its suppleness.
- It is great for restoring the rich colors of dark, but faded suede.
- Mink oil darkens light-colored suede.
- It’s not great for porous items as it can harden the fibers over time.
- Mink oil leaves a sticky residue.
- It’s not as water-repellent as the commercial suede protectors.
Is mink oil really good for suede?
There are more downsides to using mink oil on suede than its benefits. If you just want to restore the dark color of your suede items, you can opt for re-dyeing the garments. However, when it comes to conditioning and protecting, mink oil doesn’t do as well as the products that are specifically formulated for suede or nubuck leather maintenance.
How to use mink oil on suede
The ideal way to apply mink oil on suede is to use a mink oil spray. This prevents putting too much oil in one spot and oversaturating a spot with mink oil. That could darken the area and you’d have to deal with an oil stain instead. However, there is also a way to apply mink oil in liquid form and we’ll tackle them here.
Applying mink oil on suede with a mink oil spray
Using a mink oil spray is great for light-colored suede as this doesn’t darken the suede as much as the liquid and is best if you don’t want to darken your suede item.
Things you will need:
- Mink oil protector spray
- Suede brush (Brass bristles)
- Suede cleaning brush
- Clean your suede from any excess debris in the fibers by brushing it off with a cleaning brush.
- When your suede item is clean and dry, take your protector spray and give it a few shakes.
- Proceed to lightly spray the surface about 6-10 inches away. You can add multiple coats if necessary, but keep in mind that the more layers you do, the darker your suede will become.
- Brush the suede and work the mink oil into the fibers with the brass suede brush. Brush lightly.
Applying mink oil on suede with a brush
Mink oil in its liquid form can be difficult to apply on suede without leaving large spots of oil. However, you can prevent these oil stains by using a brush. Here’s how you can do so:
Things you will need:
- Plastic suede brush
- Suede cleaning brush
- Mink oil liquid
- Paper towels or clean rag
- Make sure your suede item is clean and free of debris by brushing it first.
- In order to prevent large splotches of oil, pour some mink oil liquid into a wide, flat dish.
- With your plastic-bristled brush, dip it into the mink oil. Don’t dip it deeply, just enough for the tips to grab some oil. Let any large droplets drop off as well.
- Dab the brush onto the suede and spread the oil around by brushing it around.
- You can also even out any darker spots by brushing and spreading it around further.
- Continue this until you have full coverage of the item.
Best mink oil for suede
Try this mink oil product for your suede item:
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the easiest and most convenient way to apply mink oil to suede is to use a mink oil spray. The Angelus Mink Oil Conditioner Spray is one of the best deals you can get on the market.
Angelus is a leather care brand that has been in the market for a very long time and they know what they’re doing. We have the utmost confidence in their products, and we love how affordable and accessible they are.
What we like
- Doesn’t darken the suede too much
- Good water resistance
- Suede stays fluffy and doesn’t get crusty
What we don’t like
- Mink oil coating doesn’t last as long as paste or liquid
How to remove mink oil from suede
Here’s how to remove mink oil (including any oil and grease stains) on suede materials:
Apply cornstarch, baking soda, or baby powder
This method is the easiest way to remove oil or grease stains on suede and you can also use alternatives such as baking soda or baby powder. Simply sprinkle a good amount of powder on the area with mink oil and let it soak up the oil for a few hours.
You’ll notice the powder has turned yellowish which means it’s done its job and you can go ahead and gently scrape off the excess using a suede brush. Repeat the entire process as necessary until you reach your desired outcome.
Use suede cleaners
You can never go wrong with suede cleaners when it comes to removing oil stains including excess mink oil. One of the best suede cleaners we recommend is the Saphir Omni’Nettoyant. They use natural ingredients and have a great reputation for being able to clean suede thoroughly.
Suede cleaners like the Omni’Nettoyant are able to remove most liquid stains, especially oil stains, and leave your suede looking new.
Mink oil alternative for suede
If you’re convinced not to use mink oil on your precious suede items, here are some alternatives you can choose from:
Coconut oil is one of the safest alternatives to mink oil and they work similarly to mink oil. It will still darken the suede material, so always use it with caution. Coconut oil is great if you want to make a patina on suede and appear more unique with a rich and rugged look.
However, since this is also a type of oil, there are still a lot of downsides to using coconut oil on suede or nubuck. Coconut oil will most likely ruin the velvety feel of suede and won’t make it very water-resistant.
If you’re thinking of using other types of oil-based products such as neatsfoot, beeswax, creams, linseed oil, etc., the warnings are the same as oils are generally unsafe for porous materials such as suede and nubuck.
Suede and nubuck protectors
The main reason why you want to try mink oil on suede is that you want to condition and protect it. We can’t recommend any type of oil, even if it’s derived naturally because those will still cause suede darkening, clog the pores, and make the fibers hard and brittle.
Instead, we recommend using suede protectors that can condition and provide excellent care for your suede items. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all your options online, check out our detailed review about the best protectors for suede and nubuck.
The products that we listed in our review are formulated to be waterproofing, anti-staining, and will not affect the breathability of your item.
Suede cleaners and kits
Other alternatives for mink oil are suede cleaners. Mink oil doesn’t do much cleaning on suede and nubuck items, so might as well use products that are made to clean the specific material. There are many suede cleaners & kits that already come with suede brushes for easier application, plus they won’t affect the color when it’s dried.
You can check out our in-depth review about the best suede cleaners & kits to choose the best option for you.
Does mink oil darken suede?
Yes, mink oil will definitely darken suede and turn it a shade or two darker. In some cases, it will darken the material to the point that it will almost become black. This is because the porous material and the suede nap absorb so much of the oil causing it to turn dark. This applies to almost all types of oil-based products when it comes to suede.
How often should I use mink oil?
This depends on how often you use your garment or furniture. You can apply mink oil on suede or nubuck leather around 2-3 times per year if you use them only on special occasions. If you use and wear your suede items more frequently, you can apply the oil around 3-4 times a year.
Can I use mink oil on nubuck leather?
You may use mink oil on nubuck leather if you want to darken it. However, we don’t recommend using it for any other reason as it will only clog the pores of the material instead of conditioning it. Other animal byproducts that are oil-based such as beeswax or neatsfoot oil will also do the same to nubuck, so it’s best to just avoid them altogether.