Leather furniture makers recommend not using drying oils on leather as they will harden the leather too much – that means no hemp, walnut, linseed, or tung oil.
Most non-drying oils are also not recommended because they will go rancid. That includes DIY methods using olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc.
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Should You use Refined Coconut Oil?
Refined coconut oil is better than drying oils. Refining removes most of the coconut scent and the parts that go rancid, but it is also is not a “drying oil”, so it will not polymerize and harden your leather.
Clarkes makes a great pure refined coconut oil with no other ingredients. I have used this oil for multiple purposes.
Many leather experts recommend against all oils on leather as it can stain them over time. This is especially risky on sofas, couches, and large items. I would avoid using this on furniture.
If you have an aniline or vegetable-dyed leather piece be sure to check with the manufacture’s instructions to find the most natural product that will also work well on their leather.
Obenauf’s Leather Conditioner uses beeswax and propolis and unidentified plant oils. It’s specifically created for leather, but like always I would still check with the brand of the leather piece you are conditioning before using a natural product.
Jojoba oil is an interesting option. This is technically not an oil, it’s a wax in liquid form. It does not go rancid and the odor is light. Many claim it works well on leather. I’ve used it on wood, stone, skin, and hair.
EcoPell Leather Refresher
EcoPell leather makes a leather refresher that is based on lanolin and olive oil. If I were to invest in furniture made with this leather I would go with the product that is specified for it.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
I have 2 x camel leather chrome free wingbacks that started looking a bit dull. The chairs where imported from UAE. Now in South Africa. What is the best to oil/cream or dubbin. Some corners look about lighter. So I don’t what my chairs to get damaged