Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on Leather (PROS and CONS)

Is vaseline petroleum jelly good for leather? This question is quite common and the answer has been wildly debated over the years.

Vaseline is a petroleum-based product that when applied to leather, forms a protective barrier that can prolong the life of the material.

So there is no doubt that Vaseline is not bad for leather. But, there are some drawbacks associated with using petroleum-based products on leather.

In this article, we shall look at the pros and cons of using petroleum jelly on your leather products and the alternatives to consider.

Is vaseline good for leather

Is vaseline good for leather?

Some people argue that Vaseline can actually damage leather over time, making it dry and brittle. Others support that Vaseline helps to replenish the lost oils and give the leather a new lease on life.

So, what are the pros of using petroleum jelly on leather?

1. It moisturizes and softens leather

To maintain your leather items such as a pair of boots, shoes, or a jacket, you don’t need an expensive leather moisturizer. The same results can be obtained with petroleum jelly.

Vaseline moisturizes and softens stiff leather and helps to keep it from drying out, which prevents cracking and peeling.

2. Protects from water damage

The main ingredient in Vaseline is petroleum. When petroleum jelly is applied to the skin, it forms a protective waterproof seal on the surface.

Similarly, when applied to leather, Vaseline adds a water-tight layer that is effective in preventing water and dirt from penetrating the leather.

So if you frequently work outside and are concerned that water will damage your leather shoes or boots, you can use Vaseline to temporarily waterproof them.

3. Enhances the color of the leather

One thing I like about petroleum jelly is that it doesn’t change the color of my leather items.

It does not cause it to tint rather it enhances the color and makes the leather appear darker and richer.

Also, it is perfect for restoring the color of faded leather, especially shoes, and boots.

4. Removes scratches

When leather dries out, scratches tend to show quite easily. This makes the leather appear dull and aged.

Using petroleum jelly can help to remove small and light scratches on leather items. This is due to its ability to moisturize the leather and replenish the lost oils in the fibers.

All you need to do is gently rub a small amount of petroleum jelly into the scratched leather surface using a soft cloth. Let it sit for a while and then buff using a soft dry cloth to remove excess oil.

5. Makes the leather shine

Over time, leather pieces become dull, especially if not well taken care of.

Using ideal leather oil like Vaseline helps to keep leather clean and also shines. It helps to remove dust and dirt trapped within the leather fibers, which restores the natural shine of your items.

What does Vaseline Jelly do to leather? The Cons 

Apart from making leather soft, waterproofing, enhancing its color, removing scratches, and making it shine, using petroleum jelly can have damaging effects on the leather too.

Here are a few things to take note of before using any petroleum-based product on leather items.

  • It makes leather oily

In one of our articles, we saw that olive oil makes leather greasy. Similarly, petroleum jelly might also leave behind an oily or greasy residue on the leather.

If not applied sparingly, petroleum jelly can make certain types of leather feel too oily. This in turn makes it easy for leather to trap dirt and dust and become dull.

  • Discolors suede

Another drawback is that Vaseline is not recommended for use of certain types of leather like suede.

There is no doubt that moisturizing suede replenishes the natural oils and makes it softer. But petroleum jelly tends to stain suede which results in discoloration.

Also, it makes suede leather oily, greasy, and very difficult to clean.

  • It can cause the stitching to rot

Since Vaseline softens the leather, it might cause the stitching to deteriorate over time.

Despite its protective ability, using any petroleum-based oils can cause the leather to rot and the stitching to become weak and break off.

This mainly occurs on leather shoes and work boots.


To conclude, indeed Vaseline is not bad for leather. It softens, moisturizes, and restores leather color and shine. However, to get the best results when using petroleum jelly on leather, take note of the following;

  • Use a clean and dry lint-free cloth to apply the petroleum jelly to your leather items
  • Do not use too much oil as this can result in leather becoming too oily and greasy and attract dust easily
  • Avoid applying Vaseline on leather stitching, especially on boots and shoes
  • In order for the leather to soften, apply and then let the jelly sit for a while before buffing with a clean and dry soft cloth


Similar Posts