Vaseline And Leather: 15 Good & Bad Factors (Explained)

Vaseline is a very well known brand used usually for skincare, but wouldn’t you know people use this for leather too. Vaseline has it’s good and bad points and we are going to discuss these today with you.

Vaseline is good for leather as it softens, cleans, waterproofs, moisturisers, gives a nice shine, is a barrier, removes sticky spots and protects against dirt or grime.

Vaseline also has bad points which includes darkening or discolouring leather, also is not suitable for suede or nubuck and may not work with glue adhesives.

These positives and negatives will be written about in further detail below and will be helpful if you are trying to make a decision on whether to use Vaseline on your leather piece or not. I am sure this will answer everything for you.

Positives Of Vaseline On Leather

Softens Leather:

If you don’t condition leather it becomes extremely dry, and this can even lead to cracking or splitting (worse case scenario). Leather used to be on a animal and that animal produced oils keeping the leather soft. So keeping your bag or leather garment soft is important and this is where Vaseline comes in handy.

When you apply Vaseline to leather the ingredients soak into the product making the area soft and subtle. Applying this regularly to a item will help prevent the item getting hard and then forming these nasty splits.

Cleans Leather

Everyone knows leather accumulates dirt and grime and needs cleaning from time to time. Especially shoes and leather couches as these items are either used outdoors or couches can have kids with grimy on them.

Vaseline can be used as a cleaner on leather, as the petroleum jelly (being the main ingredient of Vaseline) helps clean stains and also fights grease and dirt. When you apply Vaseline onto dirty leather, you need to apply a thick layer and then leave for a short period of time (1-5 mins), then use a clean cloth to wipe and remove the Vaseline, and this will then help remove any dirt or grease away from the leather.


Many leather items including leather saddles, leather boots, leather shoes, belts, jackets are subject to the outside elements being rain and snow. If you do not condition the leather the rain or snow can stain (change colour) or wreck the leather, or have your feet soaking wet, this is why you need to waterproof your leather item.

Vaseline temporarily waterproofs leather. It is better to use a beeswax conditioner, but if you do want to use Vaseline for a time that you are out in rainy weather, then this is sufficient to do so.


The same as your skin needs moisturising so does leather. When applying Vaseline onto a product it acts as a barrier which locks the rest of the ingredients into the leather, stopping the leather product from drying out.

You are able to apply Vaseline regularly onto your leather to get a good moisturising outcome, and this will also stop cracks and extreme dryness from occurring.

Gives The Leather A Nice Shine

When you look at a new pair of leather shoes or pair of boots, the first thing you notice is the beautiful shine that is created over the leather. To maintain that look you need to use a conditioner, one that will maintain that shine.

Vaseline will give the leather a glassy look, similar to taking it to a shoe shiner, but it is something you will need to apply regularly to get this type of cleanness and lustre.

Remove sticky spots

Leather can become sticky from spills (including stains) and also from cleaners leaving residue over the leather.

The easiest way to remove sticky spots is to apply Vaseline (being a thin layer) over the spot and then wipe off with another clean cloth. This then will remove stickiness away.

Removes Scuffs And Scratches

Leather (especially boots and shoes) can develop scuffs and scratches from walking, hiking or just general wear and tare.

When you apply Vaseline on these scuff or scratch marks it fills in the space, creating an even look over the leather, so the leather isn’t scratched or scuffed any longer.

Stops Dirt And Grime

Dirt and Grime appears everywhere and especially if you are outside. Leather needs a product applied over the surface to stop dirt and grime. So when it does appear, it can just be wiped off. Vaseline helps with this, and if you apply it before you go outdoors (making sure it is a dry finish) it will help stop dirt embedding into the leather.

Negatives Of Vaseline On Leather

Made From Crude Oil

A major negative about Vaseline is that it is made from Petroleum Jelly which is made from Crude Oil. This means that the substance is not natural, so this may be a issue for some people.

Petroleum when used on the skin can block pores so this could be the same when it comes to being used on leather, being that it takes a long time to sink into the leather.

May Discolour Leather

Leather comes in many different colours, some colours including black respond really well and don’t normally change colour.

Other colours however, can discolour from placing Vaseline on and this includes colours being brown and purple. Vaseline may make the colour of the leather blotchy and not a even colour when applied.

May Not Long Term Condition

Conditioning your leather is something that you want to achieve long term.

As Vaseline is not natural, it may be a short term fix in terms of conditioning and you will have to reapply many times to get a regular result. Other conditioners such as beeswax or jojoba oil will last longer as a conditioner.

Not Suitable For Suede

Suede’s including nubuck leather have a short fur and any sort of leather conditioner including Vaseline is not suitable to be use at all. It will damage and flatten any suede, and this type of material needs a suede spray not a cream or a leather conditioner.

Breakdown Leather Over Time

Many people over the internet promote to use a hairdryer which is essentially using heat over Vaseline (when applying it to leather). Doing this over and over will cause the leather to break down over time. The fibres within the leather will expand and open up, and worse case scenario cracks could appear when done again and again.

Darken Leather

Applying Vaseline to your leather may darken the colour. This is usually because leather fades when it dries out. So if you have a light brown couch, when you go to apply Vaseline it will darken the colour potentially to a dark brown. You will find that this could drastically change the colour from pink to dark pink, light green to dark green.

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