FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please, before contacting us with your particular questions, check the list of already asked questions and answers found below. Hopefully you will find the answers you need within the growing list of frequently asked questions we have provided here.
Experiment & experience teach:
The answers to your questions are based on experience (over 30 years) with various types of leather items. We have had assistance, guidance, and done testing with tanneries, boot companies, the Leather Research Laboratory, sportsman’s groups (field tests), and literally thousands of customers comparing our products in various elements and conditions around the world. We can only share and advise according to our experiences. We make no guarantees as there are so many variables and few constants, which you will understand as you read further. Whatever you have could be different or show different results. Experiment and experience are our best teachers.
Basic information about leather and its care:
Leather is a skin that can be from a variety of critters, from reptile to bird to animal. The most common is from a steer, called cowhide, and it varies a great deal within itself. How does cowhide vary?
As a rule, cheaper leather is lower in quality. Belly leather is thinner, weaker, scarred and consequently cheaper. Leather items made from the back and sides of an animal are stronger and more durable than the belly leather. For more information on leather, click to read All About Leather.
Cowhide is tanned by a single, or combination of many different processes. Each process produces different results and characteristics of the finished hide. Common tanning processes include chrome, vegetable, and silicone. Also, boots are either oil tanned or dry tanned. For the finishing process, most uniform and dress boots are coated with a polymer, so they can be polished to shine. These are sealed off, meaning no liquid (including oil) will penetrate their surface.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Obenauf's Products:
Are Obenauf's products considered leather conditioners?
Answer: Our leather preservative, Heavy Duty LP and Leather Oil, are leather conditioners. True leather conditioners are formulated to penetrate leather and keep it moisturized, providing protection from water and dirt. If leather loses moisture, it loses its flexibility and will crack.
Water Shield is a waterproofing spray but does not provide conditioning oils that penetrate leather, so it is not considered a leather conditioner.
Will Heavy Duty LP or Leather Oil darken my leather?
Answer: Yes, almost anything that restores the natural oils will darken it. Often this is a reaction with the bleaching or dying (coloring) processes used when the leather was colored for its specific use. As natural oils migrate through the fibers they change the ratio of oil to dye that were mixed to give it its original color. This intensifies the dye and alters the color. If your leather has been bleached blonde or dyed a light color, this darkening will be more significant. However, it usually enhances the appearance as it draws out the grain and gives it a richer natural albeit slightly different darker color. Many eventually consider this to be an improvement that gives leather real natural character. If darkening is a concern, test in an inconspicuous location. In some quality leather it takes 7 days for complete fiber migration and true color to show. Another option is to avoid deep color change by simply spraying and protecting with Obenauf’s Water Shield. This will resist water and most stains but will not do anything necessary to actually preserve your leather.
How often should I apply Heavy Duty LP or Oil?
Answer: Frequency depends on many factors, like thickness, quality, tanning process, animal it’s from, and age of leather. Our recommendation: Get familiar with the look of your leather like you look at your skin. If it looks dry it is, restore it with natural oils. For temperate climates, every six months may suffice. Leather in hot/dry climates may require conditioning every three months. If it is subjected to hard daily use, wet or dry, it should be restored at least once per month. For more information, visit our How To Apply page.
How much conditioner should I apply?
Answer: Amount will depend on thickness, age, and type of leather as well as the article itself and conditions to which it is exposed. Experience is the best teacher. Until you’ve learned what works best for your particular article and its exposure, begin with a light application to avoid over doing with LP or saturation with Oil. Multiple lighter applications are better than one heavy application. However, for thicker leather and high quality footwear subjected to severe conditions, a second application of Heavy Duty LP can be applied soon after the first one has penetrated. This double application process will impregnate the leather to protect longer and better against extremely wet conditions. Warm leather in the sun for a few minutes or with a PEET boot dryer. Wipe or buff off excess. Use caution when doing a second application, until you're familiar.
What kind of oils or what is in your products that cause them to be rated superior?
Answer: Both of our preservatives contain a blend of Natural Oils, Propolis, and Beeswax.
Leather Oil: a liquid version with the same ingredients but, a different ratio of beeswax and Propolis to oil.
Heavy Duty LP: is in a cream form that is a time release formula wherein the natural oils are suspended in the wax and Propolis and gradually seep out over a long period. If the leather gets warmed or flexed the oils get released faster so leather is protected against parching and premature cracking due to flexing while dehydrated.
Water Shield: is a simple non-aerosol, water based silicone emulsion spray that was developed as a waterproofing spray for fabric. It has no oils, solvents or propellants. It’s basically water and silicone, with a higher concentration of silicone than aerosols.
Can I use leather preservative on suede?
Answer: Suede does not require oils for protection. Apply Water Shield to waterproof and protect against stains. Check with the boot manufacturer.
The boot manufacturer told me not to use your LP, recommending their own brand of leather conditioner instead. I noticed their conditioner also contains oil and beeswax. Can I use your LP anyway?
Answer: Only you can make this decision. Inspecting listed ingredients is always a good idea. Many boot manufacturers allow a variety of conditioners be used as long as the basic ingredients match the needs of the leather. For example, a boot manufacturer may allow oil-based conditioners without any silicone added. While another manufacturer may allow silicone sprays without any oil added (for suede boots).
Is LP compatible for leather boots lined with waterproof membranes/booties?
Answer: According to the manufacturer, waterproof membranes/liners may be compromised when the leather is sealed off and cannot breathe. When applied correctly, our LP (Heavy Duty LP and Leather Oil) will not seal leather. See our product detail pages. Always check the boot manufacturer's care instructions as well.
Can I use LP on any brand of work boot?
Answer: No. Types of leather, tanning, and finishing processes all differ, even within the same brand. Contact the boot manufacturer for recommendations by visiting their websites boot care page or by emailing them.
I have severe food allergies and wanted to use Obenauf's Leather Oil & Heavy Duty LP. Is it possible to get a list of the ingredients in these products?
Answer: Obenauf’s provides general product information on each product webpage and Safety Data Sheets for its Leather Conditioning products containing information concerning various product characteristics and contents. The exact composition and formulation of each product are trade secrets and proprietary information of Obenauf’s Inc. Directions and tips for use of product can also be found on product label. Obenauf’s does not recommend, market or sell its products for human and animal consumption or for cosmetic use.
What is the best way to get rid of salt and body acids that corrode leather?
Answer: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water, pour inside your boot and slosh around. Repeat with the other boot then dump out. Do not rinse. Allow to dry completely before restoring oils. This will neutralize body acids and salts. Occasionally applying Heavy Duty LP lightly to the inside leather will help resist bacteria build up. (This recommendation is for leather boots that don't have thermal or waterproof linings.)
My pet ate some LP. Is LP toxic to animals?
Answer: Ingredients of Leather Oil and Heavy Duty LP are non-toxic. If the animal has consumed a large amount, this may cause loose stool which should pass in a day or two. If problem persists, consult your local veterinarian.
Can I use your LP on my Vegan leather?
Answer: Vegan or fake leather has a plastic coating making it waterproof. Fake leather doesn't need leather preservative. Apply a product made for faux leather.
Will the LP rot the stitching on my footwear?
Answer: If the stitching on your footwear is synthetic fibers, than a leather conditioner should not cause any harm to stitching. If however, your stitching is made of organic fibers, than with general use and exposure to moisture & some conditioners, you may see a breakdown of those fibers. Natural plant fibers, especially cotton, are susceptible to bacteria & mildew causing them to biodegrade.
Can I use LP on my cotton oilskin duster? What about waxed canvas bibs?
Answer: The Heavy Duty LP has been tested by hunting guides on (canvas) tin cloth bibs and coats with good results. The LP helps this heavy material remain flexible and breathable. Warming it slightly with a hair dryer improves absorption and helps to avoid dust residue collecting on the surface.
Can I apply cream polish over top of Heavy Duty LP?
Answer: Due to the many different types of leather, tanning and finishing processes, first confirm with a Cobbler or the manufacturer of your leather item, that the products you plan to use are acceptable. Most cream polishes are colored, so it is often best to apply directly to clean leather; as directed on the bottle. This will give leather a more uniform color. After the suggested cure time, then you may apply Heavy Duty LP for added protection from the elements. Test in a hidden spot before complete coverage. If uncomfortable doing this yourself, a Cobbler/Shoe Repair Shop in your area can repair and care for your leather footwear for you. (NOTE: DO NOT apply a combination cleaner/conditioner after cream polish; it may remove it.)