Best Saddle Soaps

Best Saddle Soaps: The Ultimate Guide to Leather Care

by | May 28, 2023 | Equine Barn & Stall Supplies

As any equestrian enthusiast, cowboy, or leather aficionado knows, the longevity of their cherished leather goods significantly depends on the care they offer. Central to this care regime is the humble yet mighty saddle soap. These specially formulated cleansers not only clean the leather but also restore its moisture and enhance its flexibility, keeping your prized possessions in peak condition for years to come. But with a myriad of options on the market, each promising to be the best, how do you discern which ones genuinely deliver?

Fear not, because we’ve got your leather-care concerns covered. We’ve dived into the world of saddle soaps, scrutinized countless products, and considered real user experiences. As a result, we’ve rounded up our top picks in the ultimate guide to the best saddle soaps. Whether you’re looking to care for your riding saddles, boots, bags, or furniture, this comprehensive review will equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best choice for your leather care needs. Let’s saddle up and start this journey!

Our Review Process and The Essentials of Saddle Soap Application

Before we delve into the specific products that made our top-rated list, it’s crucial to understand our review process, the fundamental aspects of saddle soap application, and what factors we considered when evaluating these soaps.

Our saddle soap review process was rigorous and extensive, designed to ensure only the best made our list. We tested various brands on different types of leather goods — from saddles and riding boots to leather jackets and couches. Our team took into account a variety of factors, including effectiveness, ingredients, ease of use, price, and the reviews and experiences of actual users.

Each soap was used on multiple items over several weeks to monitor its effects on the leather’s appearance, durability, and overall health. We also reached out to professional saddlers, leather craftsmen, and long-time users for their insights and experiences.

When it comes to applying saddle soap, you don’t need a plethora of tools. However, a few items can make the process more efficient:

A soft cloth or sponge: You’ll need this to apply the soap evenly on the leather surface.

A bristle brush: This is especially useful if you’re working with a particularly dirty or worn-out piece of leather. A brush can help remove the settled dust or dirt before you apply the soap.

A dry towel: You’ll need this to wipe off any excess soap after the application.

When evaluating saddle soaps, we focused on the following key attributes:

1. Cleaning Ability: The primary function of a saddle soap is to clean, so we assessed how effectively each product removed dirt, stains, and grime.

2. Conditioning and Moisturizing: A top-tier saddle soap should also condition and moisturize the leather, keeping it supple and preventing cracks.

3. Ease of Use: We considered how easy it was to apply the soap and whether it left any residue after use.

4. Natural Ingredients: Given the sensitivity of leather, we favored soaps with natural and non-toxic ingredients.

5. Value for Money: We evaluated whether the performance of the soap justified its price.

In the following sections, we’ll reveal our top picks based on these criteria. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or someone who simply wants to prolong the life of their leather belongings, you’re sure to find a product that fits your needs.

CHAMPION

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Fiebing's Saddle Soap

Greatest Clean & Quality

When it comes to the intersection of quality and tradition in leather care, one brand comes to the fore – Fiebing’s. Their long-standing reputation for excellence is echoed in their signature product, Fiebing’s Saddle Soap. Through rigorous testing and comparison, we have crowned this saddle soap as our Blue Ribbon Champion.

Our testing process involved a diverse range of leather items, from well-worn work boots to elegant vintage handbags and comfortable leather sofas. Fiebing’s Saddle Soap consistently impressed us with its ability to thoroughly clean and lubricate the fibers, preventing brittleness and preserving suppleness and strength. The non-color imparting formula allowed us to use it with confidence on leather items of any color, without worrying about potential color transfer.

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap demonstrated its superb revitalizing prowess in our tests. An old pair of work boots was given a new lease on life, and a classic handbag was restored to its former glory, all thanks to this remarkable saddle soap. Furthermore, it shone in its ability to maintain and enhance the look and feel of our leather sofas and other smooth leather articles, leaving them clean, conditioned, and looking their best.

One of the standout features was the soap’s dual-action cleaning and conditioning property. With every application, our leather items not only looked cleaner but also felt softer, healthier, and more flexible. This confirmed the saddle soap’s promise of conditioning the leather and reducing the risk of it becoming brittle over time.

Generously packaged in a 12oz container, Fiebing’s Saddle Soap provides ample soap for numerous applications, signifying excellent value for money. This American-made product, crafted from 100% leather, adds to its high-quality appeal.

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap rose above the rest as our Blue Ribbon Champion. From its versatile application and effective cleaning capabilities to its conditioning properties and excellent value, it is a star performer. Whether you need to breathe new life into worn-out boots, preserve a vintage handbag, or maintain your leather furniture, Fiebing’s Saddle Soap is a wise investment.

RUNNER-UP

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Fiebing's Glycerine Saddle Soap Spray

Versatility & Quality

While our Blue Ribbon Champion is an exceptional all-rounder, we understand that different leather caretakers may prefer alternative application methods. Hence, our Red Ribbon Runner-Up is the convenient and versatile Fiebing’s Glycerine Saddle Soap Spray. Offering the quality you expect from Fiebing’s in an easy-to-use spray format, this product gives you an entirely different level of convenience.

To test the spray, we applied it to an assortment of leather items, ranging from saddles and bridles to boots and even leather sofas. The spray application made the process significantly faster and easier. A quick spritz, a gentle wipe, and voila! The leather looked cleaner and felt softer. Plus, the spray allowed us to reach into nooks and crannies that might be tricky with traditional soap.

This saddle soap spray also delivered excellent results on leather surfaces exposed to harsh conditions. Even in dry climates, where leather tends to dry out faster, Fiebing’s Glycerine Saddle Soap Spray effectively maintained the leather’s moisture, preventing dryness and potential cracking.

We were particularly impressed with how it handled household furniture. It proved effective in reducing visible scratches and marks, bringing a fresh shine to older pieces and making them look almost new again. Even cat owners could rejoice, as it tackled those inevitable claw marks with grace.

One of the unexpected perks was its appealing scent, a pleasant feature when working with it frequently. Moreover, its easy-to-use nature made it perfect for quick, frequent applications – an absolute boon for anyone dealing with consistently muddy environments, like barns.

Overall, Fiebing’s Glycerine Saddle Soap Spray brought the tried-and-true effectiveness of Fiebing’s saddle soap to a convenient spray format. Whether you’re looking for an easier application method, maintaining your saddlery after each ride, dealing with a dry climate, or even trying to refresh your leather furniture, this product is a fantastic choice.

It delivered on all fronts during our testing, making it a worthy runner-up. Its ease of use, effectiveness on various leather types, and quick action make it an excellent option for anyone wanting to keep their leather items in tip-top shape with minimal fuss.

RUNNER-UP

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Kiwi Saddle Soap

Budget Option

Despite the affordability of most saddle soaps, Kiwi Saddle Soap stands out as an even more budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on effectiveness. This makes it a savvy choice for those looking to buy in bulk and save a little more without sacrificing quality.

Our testing process unveiled a blend of traditional ingredients in Kiwi Saddle Soap, designed to cleanse, soften, and preserve smooth leather. The addition of quality wax is a smart feature that provides extra protection for your leather items, reinforcing their durability and longevity.

We found that Kiwi Saddle Soap excels at eliminating embedded dirt and grime from smooth leather, leaving it with a soft lustre and pliable texture. It’s perfect for all smooth leather items, including boots, shoes, bags, gloves, and jackets. Furthermore, this saddle soap is particularly adept at cleaning away dirt, grime, and even salt stains, making it especially valuable for those in coastal or snowy regions.

In our tests, Kiwi Saddle Soap shone in its ability to rejuvenate aged leather items. A luxury handbag, around four decades old, was restored to an incredible state, highlighting the soap’s superior cleaning and preserving capabilities. Moreover, it successfully cleaned a white leather jacket without causing any discoloration, indicating that this soap is safe to use on light-colored leather items.

Notably, Kiwi Saddle Soap demonstrated a unique advantage in restoring leather items that had fallen into disuse or poor condition. A dust-covered leather purse showing signs of mold was fully restored, with all traces of mold and grime effectively removed. In another instance, long-neglected work gloves regained their smoothness and softness, thanks to the conditioning properties of this saddle soap.

Given the economical pricing and the exceptional results, Kiwi Saddle Soap proved itself a worthy Yellow Ribbon Runner-Up. Its strong cleaning ability, excellent preservation characteristics, and additional protection from the incorporated wax make it a worthwhile investment. Whether you’re looking to maintain daily-use leather items, restore vintage treasures, or preserve your leather apparel, Kiwi Saddle Soap provides a cost-effective solution that delivers impressive results.

RUNNER-UP

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Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus

Greatest Alternative

For a worthy alternative option, Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus steps up to the plate. In our testing, we found that it delivered results closely matching those of Fiebing’s, while bringing its unique strengths to the table. One of these strengths is the inclusion of lanolin, an ingredient recognized for its moisturizing properties, which makes this soap particularly beneficial for dry or old leather.

During our analysis, we observed that Bickmore Saddle Soap effectively cleans away dirt, grime, and even salt stains. It contains neatsfoot oil, known for its conditioning qualities, alongside lanolin, creating a formula that not only cleans but also moisturizes leather. The effect is a product that softens and preserves smooth finished leathers, giving them a rejuvenated look and feel.

We discovered this soap isn’t just for saddles; it performs impressively on various leather items such as horse tack, leather boots, shoes, and even outdoor leather goods like baseball gloves. Following up the use of Bickmore Saddle Soap with Bickmore’s Bick 4 Leather Conditioner yielded optimal results in our tests, revealing a complementary relationship between the two products.

Our trials also highlighted the easy application process. Simply adding a small drip of water to the soap, using a slightly damp cloth or brush, applying it to the leather, and then removing the excess with another damp cloth was all it took. Post-cleaning, the leather was allowed to dry and then conditioned for optimal leather care.

Feedback from our testers revealed that Bickmore Saddle Soap performed admirably on a variety of items, from leather boots to purses. It removed stubborn stains effectively and revitalized the appearance of used goods. We also found it performed excellently on non-traditional leather items, such as the skin of a bodhran (an Irish drum), demonstrating its versatility. Moreover, it subtly deepened the color of lighter tanned leather, which could be an advantage for some users.

However, it’s essential to note that Bickmore Saddle Soap doesn’t noticeably contribute to the leather scent, according to our testers’ experiences. If the smell of leather is a crucial factor for you, this may not be the perfect choice.

Proudly made in the USA, Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus reflects a heritage of quality leather care since 1882. Their commitment to providing quality is evident in this product. It proves to be a fantastic alternative for those seeking to try something different from Fiebing’s, offering comparable results with unique attributes. With its successful record in cleaning, softening, and preserving various leather goods, Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus proudly stands as our White Ribbon Runner-Up.

RUNNER-UP

stubben-glycerin-saddle-soap

Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap

Greatest Value

Our pink ribbon runner-up is the Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap. This choice stands out as a wonderful value proposition. When considering the sizable 16oz tubs, you’re getting a considerable amount of soap for your money, making it an ideal bulk purchase.

While we found this saddle soap to be effective, it didn’t consistently outperform the other options in our testing. However, it did have its shining moments where it surpassed some of our other contenders. So, don’t let this dissuade you from giving Stubben a shot! It could turn out to be precisely what your specific leather care needs require.

Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap is a high-quality product developed in collaboration with Stubben’s tanneries. It’s lauded as a versatile cleanser suitable for nearly all types of leather, and our testing results confirmed its adaptability.

During our tests, this saddle soap left leather looking revitalized and feeling supple, without leaving behind any sudsy residue. Its application process was straightforward and uncomplicated, making it an easy-to-use product even for beginners.

Our testers shared encouraging feedback about this product. They appreciated the longevity of this hard saddle soap and the pleasant fragrance it imparted. The soap was also noted for reviving tack and maintaining its new-like condition, especially when finished with Stubben Hamanol leather dressing.

Other reviewers reported that Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap cleaned their leather goods effectively without leaving any residue. Its capacity to leave leather soft resonated with many of our testers. One tester even called it their favorite for this reason.

Another standout point from our testing was that Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap was able to clean and condition even the most neglected tack. After the soap application, a rich lather was left, and the leather had a soft and supple feel with no residue. Once dry and buffed lightly, the leather was clean and conditioned, making this soap a favorite among several of our testers.

An added advantage is that this saddle soap was found not to harm stitching or change the color of leather, making it a trusted product for high-quality items like dressage saddles.

Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap makes its mark as our pink ribbon runner-up. Its notable value proposition, combined with its effective cleaning and conditioning properties, make it a worthwhile option to consider, especially for those seeking a bulk purchase or a product that doesn’t leave residue. It’s a commendable product that could very well be the perfect fit for your leather care needs.

Conclusion

In the realm of saddle soaps, we’ve explored five top-notch options, each with their own unique strengths, catering to different needs and preferences. Each soap presented here has proven its effectiveness in our thorough testing process, bringing out the best in your leather goods.

Our blue ribbon champion, Fiebing’s Yellow Saddle Soap, is a versatile all-rounder, offering excellent cleaning and conditioning properties that handle even the toughest grime. It outshone all contenders in terms of overall performance, earning it the top spot in our lineup.

On the other hand, the red ribbon runner-up, Fiebing’s Glycerine Saddle Soap Spray, offers the ease and convenience of a spray format, making it ideal for quick clean-ups. Its moisturizing properties ensure it doesn’t dry out your leather goods, and it leaves them looking their best.

The yellow ribbon runner-up, Kiwi Saddle Soap, is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on performance. It’s a traditionally formulated soap that cleans, softens, and preserves smooth leather, also providing wax for added protection.

Our white ribbon runner-up, Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus, takes a unique approach by incorporating lanolin and neatsfoot oil. This makes it not only a superb cleaner but also a powerful moisturizer, softening and preserving your smooth leather items. Its compatibility with Bick 4 Leather Conditioner makes it part of an optimal leather care system.

Lastly, the pink ribbon runner-up, Stubben Glycerin Saddle Soap, stands out as the best value proposition, providing a large quantity of soap for the price. It’s a great bulk buy option that’s still effective, leaving leather soft and free of residue.

Each of these saddle soaps excels in different ways, ensuring that there’s an option for everyone, regardless of your specific leather care needs. Remember, the best saddle soap for you is the one that aligns with your leather’s requirements and your personal preferences. With this guide in hand, you’re well-equipped to make a confident choice and take the best care of your leather goods. Here’s to maintaining the beauty and longevity of your cherished leather items with the right saddle soap!

About The Author

<a href="https://www.equiniction.com/author/aaronomary/" target="_self">Equiniction Team</a>

Equiniction Team

We are a group of passionate riders, trainers, and horse owners who are dedicated to sharing our love and knowledge of all things equine. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting out on your equestrian journey, we have something for everyone. From training and care tips to the latest in equine news and events, we are your one-stop resource for all things horse-related. So come along for the ride and join our community of horse lovers today!

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