What do you treat your leather holsters and belts with to keep them happy?


April 24, 2008, 12:26 AM
What do you you all put on your leather holsters and belts to protect them and otherwise keep them happy and looking good? Black shoe polish comes to mind as suitable, but I've always found that there is a little bit of polish that comes off on my pants no matter how vigorously I buff and polish. I'd rather not have that black polish come off on my pants and shirts.

A clear shoe polish seems like it might be the ticket. Anyone know of any other special polish/creams?

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April 24, 2008, 12:40 AM
Neets oil (sp). I use it on all my leather. Cleans and conditions..


April 24, 2008, 01:07 AM
The instructions that came W/ my galco specifically said NOT to treat it W/ anything

April 24, 2008, 01:30 AM
Foul language and sweat.

April 24, 2008, 01:31 AM
mink oil

April 24, 2008, 01:36 AM
Belts - saddle soap. Holsters - nothing.

April 24, 2008, 02:19 AM
Tag for later.

April 24, 2008, 10:21 AM
I've use shoe polish and wax based conditioners and avoid the oil based products on the advise of various leather craftsmen.

April 24, 2008, 11:04 AM
Clear or Natural paste shoe polish to maintain looks without changing the leather or staining your clothes.

Do Not use any oil or grease, like Neatsfoot oil, Mink oil, Sno-Proof, etc. on molded, hand-boned holsters.

Neatsfoot oil makes leather soft.
Might be great for saddles & boots, but you don't want a soft fitted holster!


The Bushmaster
April 24, 2008, 11:21 AM
My concealed carry holsters? Just a very damp cloth (if I clean them at all). For my belts and open carry holsters Neets Foot oil...That includes my saddles...I never use saddle soap on any leather product.

April 24, 2008, 11:37 AM
Foul language and sweat.


the naked prophet
April 24, 2008, 01:42 PM
Shoe polish is for... wait for it... SHOES!

Yes, the black or whatever will rub off on your clothes, it's shoe polish!

Do not use any sort of oil or soap on a holster, it will weaken and soften the material. For a soft milsurp type holster, sure. But any good modern holster will not require that, and it will damage the holster if you try.

This is why I include a letter explaining these things with every holster I make and sell.

April 25, 2008, 11:44 AM
Clear or Natural paste shoe polish to maintain looks without changing the leather or staining your clothes.

Do Not use any oil or grease, like Neatsfoot oil, Mink oil, Sno-Proof, etc. on molded, hand-boned holsters.

Neatsfoot oil makes leather soft.
Might be great for saddles & boots, but you don't want a soft fitted holster!

Shoe polish is for... wait for it... SHOES!
Yes, the black or whatever will rub off on your clothes, it's shoe polish!
Any other boot polish other than a clear, natural paste wax will indeed rub off and stain your clothing.

- regards

April 25, 2008, 11:59 AM
Do not use Neats; that stuff is one of the worst things you can use on leather. If you can find it try Glove Luggie.

April 25, 2008, 12:02 PM
Ixnay on the Glove Luggie if you do find it; it will soften the leather as well.

The Bushmaster
April 25, 2008, 12:25 PM
308win...Ya want to explain why a 70 year old saddle is still in service and one of my favorite saddles and it has never seen anything but Neets foot oil...

Or...In your words. Why isn't neets foot oil good for leather products...??

April 25, 2008, 12:29 PM
My gun, in and out of it, regularly. I find that to be the best conditioner. I use no leather treating products.

The Lone Haranguer
April 25, 2008, 12:43 PM
Nothing. Just a wipedown with a very lightly moistened cloth, and that mostly on the inside to remove any dirt or particles that might get embedded. I don't sweat on or through them and don't store them in adverse conditions.

April 25, 2008, 01:08 PM
I got some stuff recommended to me for my racing leathers. Motorcycle road racing is done rain or shine and after they get rain soaked a few times, leathers can stiffen up. This stuff turned them back to better than new suppleness and it works well on old, dry holsters, too. It's called Aussie Leather Conditioner. Guess you'll have to google it. Got it from a guy I race with who runs a shoe/leather repair shop in College Station, Texas.

This stuff doesn't soften up my Mitch Rosen IWB in a way to hurt its function, just conditions the outter leather when it gets sweat soaked and dries, keeps it from getting too hard and cracking as leather will do. I don't use it on rough out leather, just smooth finish. I run it on the inside of my Sparks rig occasionally, it if starts getting too dry.

April 25, 2008, 01:22 PM
Neats softens, darkens, adds weight and can harm leather due to the solvents. If Neats is working for you use it.

One site that advises against Neats goodle neats and leather care to find others.
Why Not Neats Foot Oil?
Neats Foot Oil is an old preparation made by boiling the hooves and shinbones of cattle and horses, yielding a pale yellow oil. Initially used to treat the splitting of hooves, farmers eventually used it to waterproof harness and saddle leather and to increase it's suppleness.

Later, thinning agents were added to Neats Foot Oil. Unfortunately, thinning agents, including kersoene, destroy leather and stiching. Thinning agents other than water (which also adversely affects leather) are always petroleum distillate. These petroleum-based agents "burn" the leather and stiching similar to gasoline on human skin. The effect is not immediatley visible, but the damage is severe and usually irreparable. Over time, effects include blackening of the leather, hardening of the fiber bundle, bleeding onto display surfaces, and hardening and rotting of stiching. Neats Foot Oil also cause the leather to become odourous

The Bushmaster
April 25, 2008, 03:26 PM
Interesting..:)..In all fairness what you say about most Neatsfoot oil is true. No argument here. However...I'm using 100% pure Neatsfoot oil by Fiebing's Leather softener and preserver.

Quoted from the label:

"Fiebing's Pure Neatsfoot Oil is a natural preservative for all leather articles subjected to rugged use. Rubbed in deeply before exposure it repels water and protects against the stiffening of repeated wetting-drying. Used after exposure. Pure Neatsfoot oil is a restorative...makes dried out leather pliable.

recommended for care of saddlery and boots of horsemen...gun cases and boots of hunters-fishermen...shoes and gloves of athletes...and shoes, belts and gloves of construction workers.

Oil may permanently darken light colored leathers. Do not use on suade leathers.

Fiebing Company, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI 53204"

Taken directly from the label of my container...

Oh...And I do use it for treating "dry hoof" on my horses too. I, however, don't use it on my CCW holsters, but I do use it on my other belts and holsters that will see and be exposed to bad weather...

April 25, 2008, 03:37 PM
Milt Sparks also cautions against the use of any leather conditioning product that advertises itself as an aid to help soften leather. I believe Neats and Mink fall into this catagory.

I've got a couple of VM-2s and so far I've used nothing. If I ever feel the urge to wax them, it'll be Renaissance Wax - it's recommended by Sparks and it doesn't hurt that I already use it on some stuff.

But so far I've been real happy with "nothing".

The Bushmaster
April 25, 2008, 03:56 PM
That is correct. No one (at least not me) is recommending Neatsfoot oil for carry holsters. Only those leather goods that will be exposed to extreme weather conditions like saddles and utility holsters and belts...

April 25, 2008, 05:43 PM
Nothing! I've never had any reason to put anything on mine...

April 25, 2008, 05:59 PM
Pure virgin Olive oil.

It does soften leather, but I wanted it softened some. It worked out perfect for me in the instance I used it. It also added some slickness to the leather, that has partially remained with time. (Time being a few years.)

April 25, 2008, 06:08 PM
Depends on the finish of the holster. If you have one of mine, it is sealed inside and out so nothing is required. If dirty, use a damp cloth to wipe it off otherwise leave it alone.

April 26, 2008, 07:59 AM
My IWB holster is constructed to be rigid; it retains its form and is easy to re-holster because the top doesn't collapse. I imagine I could use enough of some type of conditioner to eventually soften it but it would take a bit and that is not what it needs.

A man with a gun!
April 26, 2008, 08:12 AM
I don't put anything on my holsters. Don't do anything more than treat holster scuff marks with a dab of spit and my finger.

xray 99
April 27, 2008, 07:59 AM
Never put anything on a custom, molded holster that could soften the leather. Every maker I know of suggests SMALL amounts of shoe polish to cover scratches, etc. Coating the whole rig is unnecessary.

April 30, 2008, 02:02 PM
Whether neatsfoot oil helps or harms leather totally depends on the type of leather, what you're using it for, and what adulterants may be in the neatsfoot oil.

Gunbelts and holsters need to retain their shape and maintain stiffness. Most oil treatments are designed to soften leather and would be counterproductive. Most holsters also have hard finishes that oils would have trouble penetrating.

I wipe surface crud off my holsters and belts with a cloth just slightly moistened with saddle soap, the clear kind that comes in a bar (Belvoir, for any horsefolk), not the kind that comes in a can. Scuffs and scratches can be touched up with a bit of Meltonian or Propert's boot cream on a q-tip. Those products soak in and don't rub off if you use them correctly.

Just useless knowledge picked up over 45+ years of working with horses and tack, and a several-year employment with a third-generation saddler and harnessmaker who did a lot of custom work for local police.

April 30, 2008, 04:54 PM

Whenever I purchase a "USED" holster, the first thing I do is clean/shine it. The Galco product works just fine. I can't tell you how much crap (dirt) I get from a used holster. The product not only cleans it but after buffing, it also gives it a nice natural shine.

I use to use shoe polish but I just don't care for the smell and it's just to messy.

Big Boomer
May 12, 2008, 12:24 AM
What do you treat your leather holsters and belts with to keep them happy?

1. Put holster on belt.
2. Put gun in holster.
3. Repeat daily.

Foul language and sweat.

May 12, 2008, 01:17 AM
There's an leather treatment/conditioner that keeps the leather from drying out and preserves it called 'ID'. You can get it at Sportsman's warehouse. It was developed by a firefighter up in Idaho who was tired of his leather boots falling apart from the Borate slurry. The stuff works really well on any type of smooth leather. Waterproofs, conditions and preserves leather.

May 27, 2008, 02:13 PM
Absolutely nothing.

May 27, 2008, 07:38 PM
I use Meguires leather cleaner and conditioner.

May 27, 2008, 08:37 PM
Neetsfoot oil and such are bad for holsters and belts. These products soften the leather.
I'm surprised people don't know any bettter, but I forget that everyone on the internet is an expert and has an opinion!

If you own quality leather gear for gun carrying, treat it with a high quality boot polish (eg, Kiwi) now and then. or per the maker's directions (Gary Brommeland, for instance, has alternative recommendations), but fer cryin' out load, don't use Neetsfoot oil, mink oil, silicone sprays or other products which soften the leather.

May 27, 2008, 09:23 PM
Clear paste wax, such as Simoniz can be used on furniture, musical instruments, firearms, and leather to shed water, dirt, etc.

May 28, 2008, 07:06 AM
When making a new holster, I treat with a neutral leather balm upon completion. Other than that, my holsters don't receive any polish/oil/conditioner. Just wiped down with a soft rag once in a great while.

May 30, 2008, 08:57 AM
I've understood the need to NOT treat holsters with any products that will soften the leather ... so I've done nothing but wipe them off occasionally with a slightly damp cloth when particularly dirty.

But is there a way to cut down on the creaking, stiff leather-on-leather sound when a holster rubs against the belt? I have a couple of belt/holster combinations that work well, but creak. Not too good for a concealment setup.

June 6, 2008, 01:10 PM
Love, kindness and respect........ Just joking.....Sweat and foul language :neener:

June 7, 2008, 10:54 PM
My Versa MaxII IWB will get a dull milky appearance after a time. I clean it with saddle soap and rub in a small amount of Ross Leather Dressing I got from Brownells. This brings it back to a like new condition.

July 29, 2008, 01:35 AM
DIAMONDBACK is right on ive been using nutural shoe polish on the outside and inside of all my holsters for years, and it keeps them looking great i was told years ago by a famous holster co to use this shoe wax and i never looked back to try anything else on the leather i figure if its not broke why fix it:cool:

July 29, 2008, 06:07 PM
From The Beltman:

14. How should I care for my new belt?
Do NOT wad it up in a tight ball when not in use. This unnecessarily stretches the outer layer of the belt and compresses the inner layer. If you do this often , the belt will soon lose its natural stiffness.

When putting your belt on, do NOT crank it over as if you were securing a load of cargo on a truck! We can't control how you get dressed, so if you want your belt to last a long time, don't bend a dual layer belt any more than 90 degrees when you are putting it on.

Do NOT use leather softeners such as Neats Foot Oil or Mink Oil on these belts unless you want them limp as a noodle! Our leather is of sufficient quality to last for many years. This stuff is fine for your baseball glove or your hiking boots, but not for gun belts or holsters.

If your belt gets hard use or starts to look tired, a coat of KIWI NEUTRAL shoe polish, available at any grocery store or shoe shop will restore the surface appearance.

As stated in the CONSTRUCTION Paragraph, the outer layers of these belts are submersion dyed so the color penetration is quite deep. If you manage to scar it down to the natural beige leather, then the appropriate color of shoe polish will help a lot. If you buff it with sufficient elbow grease so the polish no longer comes off on an old t-shirt or shop rag, then it won't come off on your furniture or car seats either.

I just got a Gray Elephant belt from The Beltman - this thing is beautiful - and stiff as can be!

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