How do you take care of holster leather?


December 19, 2003, 03:32 PM
Just bought a Galco OWB Concealable High Ride Belt Holster for my Glock 19 in anticipation of receiving my TX CHL. (DPS says it went in the mail today). Never having owned a leather holster before, just wondering what kind of care and maintenance is involved. We get some pretty hot summers here so perspiration will be an issue. Thanks.:confused:

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December 19, 2003, 03:40 PM
Do what it says right on Galco's site. It's good info. Good luck.

December 19, 2003, 05:32 PM
The holster will come with care instructions from Galco to use their leater lotion. Before they marketed their on brand they used to recomend Lexol(avail from any saddle shop) an excellent product for leather care. I have been using it for years on saddles, holsters and all types of leather gear. Cheaper than Galco's leather lotion.

Jason Demond
December 19, 2003, 05:37 PM
I use clear Carnuba shoe polish, most of the time, color if it needs it. I also use a shot of silicone spray for the inside, once and a while.

December 19, 2003, 09:17 PM
Long term use of Silicone spray will deplete the leathers natural oils and will cause drying/cracking. Be careful if its a holster you love....................
Id stick with non penetrating leather products.....

Shoot well.

December 19, 2003, 11:45 PM
Yeah, silicone is bad for leather. Use nothing but warm water and soap to clean it and regular shoe polish to protect it. Shoe polish has waxes in it that water proofs and keep leather nice and shiny.

Jason Demond
December 20, 2003, 05:09 PM
I didn't know silicone was bad. I guess I won't be using is again.

Mike Irwin
December 20, 2003, 05:37 PM
Another vote for Lexol.

December 20, 2003, 08:50 PM
Desantis says not to use any leather wax or anything else on their I missing something by not using anything??

December 20, 2003, 09:27 PM
Now I am confused. I do not understand how a pure FDA approved silicone spray could cause leather to prematurely age and crack. I understand that silicone sprays have solvents that will also dissolve "natural leather oils" (which are put in at the tannery). However, unless the leather's oils are being oxizidized by the solvents or are running out of the leather, I would think the silicone would only serve to stabilize the leather. Lexol will soften leather and destroy the boning of a good holster as will saddle soap. IMHO Lexol is only good for belts and shoulder holster straps. Wax treatments that are water based emulsions of carnuba wax are good. Good quality shoe polishes also seem to do no harm.

I have used industrial FDA silicone sprays on Kramer leather holsters (hard rolled horsehide) for several years with no ill effects. The main benefit is that it makes the holsters much more resistant to sweat. It does not soften the leather.

December 20, 2003, 10:36 PM
After I made my original post, I remembered that several very well known holster makers infuse their leather holsters with an acrylic emulsion to stiffen the leather. There is nothing wrong with this per se however, the holster is no longer natural leather and the solvents in a silicone spray may attack the acrylic and cause cracking.

December 20, 2003, 10:45 PM
If holster actually genuine ''hide leather'' then I'd have though some ''Neetsfoot'' type of oil is OK .. it is tho penetrative but - is supposed to ''nourish'' the leather and help with flexibility and so avoid embrittlement and cracking.

Few of my holsters are in fact leather ... and my Jim Burke for the SP is- so far - despite sweat stains ... still well flexible.

James Bondrock
December 21, 2003, 12:29 AM
Excerpt from Galco's website:
Do not use oils such as Neats Foot oil as they will saturate and soften the leather too much.

This is fine for shoes and boots, especially those that have gotten wet, but the leather of these needs to be flexible. A holster must remain rigid in order to function.

December 21, 2003, 12:48 AM
It depends on what kind of holster you are talking about. I really like flap holsters for carry in the wilds and I clean with saddle soap and preserve with neetsfoot oil. The leather being soft takes nothing away from them at all.
If it is an inside the waistband holster, I would agree that it must remain rigid, but for that, I buy horsehide holsters.

I can also tell you that I have saddle soaped and oiled some of my holsters a dozen times and I haven't noticed any change in the leather at all.

December 21, 2003, 02:16 AM
My first thought was that, if it's going to be exposed to the elements, finish your leather treatment with a coat of NikWax waterproofing cream. I think it's great stuff. But I see Tony mentioned not using any leather wax, according to one source. So I'm confused. I'm about 90% sure I'd use NikWax on any leather holster, but if that's a mistake I'd appreciate being corrected.

December 21, 2003, 09:36 AM
The industrial 100% Silicone is an interesting comment. The "typical" person is NOT going to find this stuff and will be using the type with other ingrediants that will be hard on leather after long term use. Thus the recommendation from gun leather makers.........I still recommend it.

I do know that Silicone, due to its very small Molecular Weight, or another way of saying it has very small molecular makeup, can get in leather and force out" its natural oils. This is why its such a good lubricant it gets in places that some other lubricants cant.

It also tends to stay in place better than other lubricants as its makeup is made of "chains" on the molecular level, as to oils individual "platlet" makeup. The chains stay togethor much like cheerios do in milk and resist moving.

Also, the Govt. says when you label something 100% "Product", while putting in propellants, stabilizers, detergents, anti foaming and anti fungle agents to a very minor extent also. Usually just enough to make sure it stays stable through its "natural shelf life" in the form its sold. Typically the shelf life of Silicone is 7-10 years.

FDA Approved Silicone Spray, designed to be used in/on food processing equipment for lubrication, meets this criteria. Its pure enough to not harm you when ingested, according to the FDA and such agencies anyway. The theory is, when it drips into the cake mix being processed in the mixer, they used the spray on the night before during its PM, it wont kill/harm you. Thus its FDA approval.

To my knowledge, the only oils put in leather in the tanning process are what they think they are removing due to the tanning process times a well rounded guess or an average.

Just trivial stuff at best but interesting.............Shoot well.

December 21, 2003, 02:45 PM
Funny thing, after reading this thread, I know less about what to clean and care for my leather holsters with than before I read this thread.

I think I'll go to the Milt Sparks website and do what they say to do.

December 22, 2003, 06:00 PM
In 20 + years I have never cleaned or oiled any of my quality leather....and they still are going fine...

December 23, 2003, 11:57 PM
Lou Alessi told me to use Lexol and Mitch Rosen said to use a natural colored shoe polish and that is what I use. Regards, Richard:D

December 24, 2003, 03:33 PM
Lexol and clear shoe polish - nothing more! Buff the shoe polish really well and it enhances its protective qualities. Good shooting;)

December 27, 2003, 05:32 PM
Yep, lexol is good stuff on any leather you've got -- car seats, shoes, jackets, or holsters.


December 28, 2003, 01:54 PM

Is anybody making a distinction between a smooth leather holster and one that is formed specifically to a certain weapon?

Here is the "Care and Feeding" FAQ for my holsters...

Yours may be different...???

December 29, 2003, 09:28 PM
When I get a new cow or horse hide holster I first spray it with Kel 110 pure silicone. When it dries, I then give it a waxing with Renissance Wax.

December 31, 2003, 01:09 PM
For what it is worth, Lou Alessi told me a bit of Kiwi wax in a matching color, or in clear, is all the holster really needs, an an occasional basis.

I like to touch up scuffs and scratches when possible to avoid making a water path.

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