Life is full of ways to make things easier and cheaper. Everyone likes a decent life hack.
People who like to look after their work boots tend to experiment with different ways to do so. This might mean using home-made remedies.
One product found in the home that is often enquired about in relation to using on work boots is olive oil.
It can be used for a whole variety of other reasons, like makeshift furniture polish, skin moisturizing, medicine, soaps, cosmetics, and fuel for traditional lamps. So why not boots, right?
This article is going to talk about if olive oil is in fact good for work boots. And if so, what for.
Is olive oil good for conditioning leather work boots?
The answer is yes and no.
It depends on the material and color of the boot, and what you want to use the oil for.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why people might want to use olive oil on their boots.
Before we cover these factors, rather than repeating at each topic, experts state that on leather boots, it’s advisable to only use olive oil on black leather, because over time it can stain or alter the color of brown or tan boots.
Olive oil might bring a shine to your boots, but the problem is it gets soaked into the leather easily, so the shine won’t last for long.
If you want a proper long lasting shine that will protect your boots from the elements, you’re better off using proper boot polish.
Here’s how to polish your work boots properly.
Sometimes, the leather on our boots can be quite tough, especially when new and need breaking in, or when dried out in summer months.
A good way of softening the leather is by conditioning with oil. For best results, use extra virgin olive oil.
First, you must make sure the boots are clean of stains and dirt. Rubbing the oil on top of dirt particles might scratch the boots.
Use a clean white cloth or towel to dip the oil onto, then rub it into the leather in circular motions.
The reason you should make sure it is white is so that you can see if any boot coloring comes off onto the towel. This is why you should always test in small areas first before covering the whole boot.
Allow the oil to fully soak in and dry before wearing the boots.
Although this is a cheap way of conditioning your boots, it won’t be anywhere near as effective as using proper leather conditioning oils. Also, after a while, it might leave an unpleasant odor, rather than the pleasant odors that a proper conditioner leaves.
The best conditioners will not only soften the leather, they will help remove scratches, and marks caused by salt stains, dampness, or water damage.
Mink oil is very popular to use, but there are conditioning creams, conditioning waxes, and other methods.
Bear in mind that conditioning your work boots with mink oil or any other conditioner will almost definitely darken them. This might not be what you want, but is usually the desired effect.
Olive oil will not waterproof boots. In fact, no leather conditioner will fully waterproof boots.
But they should help with water resistance. This means light rain should run off the boots rather than soak in. But if the boots get fully submerged, water might still get in, unless, of course, the boots are actually waterproof.
Oil is denser than water. You’ve probably seen the experiment where oil is poured into a glass. It will separate and sit on top of the water.
Think of the saying ‘Water of a duck’s back’. Ducks have oil in their feathers that prevent water from soaking in, which would make the feathers heavy. The duck would struggle to fly, or even float on water.
Leather conditioner does the same thing. But saying that, olive oil won’t do as good a job of repelling water as proper leather conditioners. Learn more about how to waterproof your work boot here.
One useful thing olive oil can do is remove watermarks or natural stains on leather. It won’t give a deep clean. And won’t remove stubborn stains, like paint for instance. There are other methods to clean paint off your boots.
It can also hide scuffs and scratches. Even on rubber boots. Simply rub the oil onto the area using a white cloth or towel in a circular motion.
As stated before, the white towel will allow you to see if any coloring comes off the boot.
Now you know the pros and cons of using olive oil on work boots.
As a reminder, it will almost definitely darken the boots, and in some cases, might stain the leather in a way you don’t want it to. So always test the oil on small areas before committing to the whole boot.
Other things to bear in mind.
Some people report that using olive oil on boots can leave a rancid smell over time. Some people also report that over time it can also attract bugs and insects.
These points are subjective, and not known to be facts. I suppose it’s a risk you’d have to take.
We hope we’ve covered enough areas, and that you’ve found this article useful.
If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences, or correct us in any way, feel free to contact us. We’d love to chat. It can get lonely on the internet.
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Hey, Jimmy here. I’m one of the researchers and writers here at BestForMyFeet.com. I’ve been wearing work boots all my life working as a forklift driver, landscaper, groundworker, and now as a tower crane operator so I know a few things about footwear and footcare in general. I’m also working on my first novel. So writing IS my passion. When I’m not writing I love to spend time with my wife, two children, and furball.
Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!