If you’re looking for the best saddle soap options for cleaning your tack, you’ve come to the right place. Call me crazy, but tack cleaning is one of my favorite barn chores. I love the smell of old leather and polishing it till it shines.
I’ve cleaned a lot of tack in my years of working with horses, and I know a thing or two about saddle soap. So, if you want to know all about the best equestrian saddle soaps on the market, I’ll guide you through them below.
In this guide, you can learn:
- How to choose the best saddle soap
- The function and purpose of saddle soap
- The best saddle soaps on the market.
- How to use saddle soap
Bottom Line Up Front
When it comes down to it, you can’t beat the Belvoir Saddle Soap from Carr Day and Martin. I love this soap because it’s easy to use, tough on dirt, and it seriously brings out the shine in any leather. Belvoir is a highly trusted and reputable brand – favored by horse owners around the world.
My Top Choice in Saddle Soaps – At A Glance
There are so many high-quality soaps on the market it’s hard to narrow them down to a single choice. So, before we dive deep into the details, I’ll give you a sneak peek at my top saddle soap options.
- Belvoir Carr Day and Martin – This superior-quality solid saddle soap cleans and conditions all kinds of leather. I love it because it’s easy to use, and it has a smooth, soft finish, which leaves the leather feeling supple.
- Farnam Leather New – This is the best liquid soap on the market. It’s easy to use and has outstanding results with dry, tough leather.
- Bickmore Saddle Soap Plus – This solid soap from Bickmore is tough on stains, so I like to use it when my saddle needs a deep clean.
What Is Saddle Soap?
Saddle soap is specially designed for equestrian leather – it cuts through grease and dirt and helps prolong the life of your leather tack and boots by keeping them soft and supple. Leather tack is expensive, but it will last many years if you clean it regularly with saddle soap. As well as cleaning, saddle soap hydrates leather and brings out the natural color and shine.
Soft, supple leather is more comfortable for you and your horse and is also essential for your safety. Dry, unconditioned leather can snap, which is dangerous if you’re riding or handling a horse. Cleaning tack isn’t everyone’s favorite chore, but you can make the grueling task easier if you choose the correct soap for your needs.
Here Are the Things I Look Out for When I Choose a Saddle Soap
One of the main things I look out for when choosing a saddle soap is that it’s suitable for the leather I want to clean. Some soaps can darken light leather, so I always choose a color that’s compatible with my tack. Next, I think about how often I’ll use the soap – do I need one for regular maintenance or a one-off deep clean? Finally, I decide whether liquid or solid soap is appropriate for the job at hand.
If you want to know more about the things to look out for when you choose a saddle soap, I’ll tell you about them below.
#1 – The Application Method
Traditionally, saddle soap comes in bars, but these days there’s a range of liquid options available too. Liquid and solid saddle soap ultimately do the same job, only the way you apply them is different.
- Liquid Soap – Liquid soap is good if you want to restore old leather because it’s easy to distribute in large amounts. I also like to use liquid soap to get to hard-to-reach areas on the saddle, like around the stirrup bars or tooling.
- Solid Soap – Solid soap is good because you have more control over the application, and it’s less messy than liquid soap. I like to use solid saddle soap for regular cleaning and maintenance.
#2 – The Ingredients
An important thing to look out for in saddle soap is the ingredients. Glycerine is the main ingredient in most saddle soaps – it cleans leather and helps hydrate it. Other common ingredients include lanolin which comes from wooly animals, and neatsfoot oil, which comes from lard – both are powerful conditioners and are fantastic for dry, stiff leather.
#3 – The Usage
Each saddle soap is different – some are good on stains, while others are better for conditioning. Before buying soap, ask yourself what you want to use it for? If you have an old piece of tack you want to restore, choose an extra conditioning soap, or if you want soap for regular maintenance, choose a milder one which is good on stains.
Always check the packaging for guidelines about how to use the soap. If you don’t choose a suitable one, it might damage your leather.
#4 – The Color and Finish
Another thing I consider before I buy a soap is the color and finish. Some soaps will darken leather, so If you have natural or light-colored leather, use a clear, white, or yellow soap. Different types of soap will also give your leather a different finish. Some have a shiny finish, and others have a matte finish, so you should choose the finish according to your leather type and preference.
The Best Saddle Soaps on the Market
If you want to prolong the life of your leather, you must choose a high-quality soap specifically designed for equestrian use. With so many saddle soaps to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start looking but don’t worry; I can make your search easier.
Below, I’ve listed the best saddle soap options on the market and broken them down into different categories to help you choose the best one for your needs.
#1 – The Best Liquid Saddle Soap Options
Leather New is my favorite liquid saddle soap because it instantly moisturizes and restores old, dry leather – it brings up a healthy shine after just one application. This is a fantastic product for tough dirt and grime, but it’s gentle enough for everyday use.
I love this soap because it cleans, conditions, and polishes and won’t dull leather or leave it feeling tacky. It replaces the natural oils and preserves the color and texture of all types of leather. Farnam is a trusted brand, and Leather New is the ideal product to maintain your saddle and keep it looking brand new.
- Fantastic for old, dry, or cracked leather
- It absorbs quickly
- It can darken leather, so don’t use it on light leather.
- The bottle top can leak, so you must store it upright.
Fiebing’s Liquid soap is made in the USA, and it cleans, repairs, and restores leather and leaves it with a satin finish. I like it because it doesn’t darken leather or leave it with a greasy residue. This soap cleans well, but if you want a soft finish, you must use it with their saddle conditioner.
Fiebings soap is a fantastic product that’s easy to use and is ideal for regular cleaning. I like to use this soap on my riding boots because it protects the leather and is tough on grime and stains.
- Economical price
- It won’t leave a greasy residue.
- It can darken leather, so don’t use it on light leather items.
- You need to apply several applications and lots of elbow grease to soften old leather with this product.
Absolutely Clean is a fantastic spray-on soap that brings out the shine in leather, and you can also use it on fabrics such as your saddle pads and riding helmet. I like this product because it’s versatile – you can even use it on synthetic saddles.
Absolutely Clean is a unique product because it cleans using the power of natural enzymes. It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and is veterinary-approved. It has a pleasant mild fragrance and doesn’t leave a greasy film or residue after cleaning.
- Removes odors
- Safe to use on suede
- Natural ingredients
- It’s not very good for tough stains
- It doesn’t condition leather
#2 – The Best Solid Saddle Soap Options
Fiebings Saddle Soap is one of the most popular brands in the USA, and they are a leader in the leather care industry. I like to use this soap on old leather to remove stains and bring out the finish.
I love this soap because it’s fantastic value for money – it comes in a small, practical container and is available in yellow and white. I found that this soap can leave leather a little bit dry, so, for the best results, I always use a conditioner after soaping.
- Made in the USA
- Fantastic for cleaning old, cracked leather
- You must use it sparingly, or it will leave a poor finish on your leather
- You have to polish and buff it a lot after cleaning
- It can darken light leather
Bickmore has been making saddle soap here in the USA since 1892 and is a trusted equestrian brand. I like this soap because it contains lanolin and neatsfoot oil, so it restores, protects, and moisturizes leather.
This saddle soap is one of the most economical soaps on the market – it’s easy to use and comes in a handy tin. It’s fantastic at removing stains and makes leather feel soft and supple, so it’s the best soap for cleaning leather riding boots.
- It contains Neatsfoot oil which is a good conditioner
- Fantastic on grime and stains
- For the best results, you must use it with a leather conditioner
- Not good on painted or specially finished leather
Otter wax is a bit more expensive than other brands because it’s made from all-natural ingredients, including castile soap, beeswax, and essential oils. It’s non-toxic and doesn’t contain silicone or petroleum.
I love this soap because it cleans, revives, restores, and moisturizes leather and protects against stains. This soap is suitable for all kinds of leather, it may darken it at first, but the original color will come back once it’s dry.
- It contains natural ingredients and is non-toxic
- It’s ideal for all types of leather because of the gentle formula.
- Not good at removing stains
#3 – The Best Conditioning Saddle Soap Options
Carr, Day and Martin are experts in equine care and are a trusted global brand that produces high-quality products, and their saddle soap is no exception. This is my favorite soap on the market because it’s economical, easy to use, and does a fantastic job cleaning and conditioning leather. It restores the life and color to leather and brings out the natural shine.
This solid soap comes in a tray, which makes it easy to use and store. It contains coconut and glycerine, so it cleans, softens, and conditions, and you don’t have to polish it off. This is a fantastic all-in-one soap and is a favorite among horse owners all over the world. It smells lovely and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
- Easy to store and use
- You don’t have to buff the leather after using the soap
- You need to apply several coats to old, dry leather
This saddle soap is Made in the USA and was created by a legendary saddle maker, Don Bently. I like this soap because it cleans, softens, and restores leather and doesn’t leave a residue. It’s also super versatile – you can use it on all types of leather, including boots, tack, and furniture.
Another thing I like about this soap is that it’s water repellent, non-toxic, and can prevent mildew. It’s ideal for regular use but can darken leather, so avoid using it on light shades.
- Fantastic for all kinds of leather
- Ideal for regular use
- Can darken leather
- Not suitable for suede
This highly moisturizing saddle soap is made in the USA with Carnauba wax and will restore even the oldest leather. Many customers swear it’s a magic product that can’t be matched for its restorative properties.
As well as being an amazing conditioner, the Black Rock soap is really good at removing dirt and stains, and it doesn’t alter the color of leather. It’s highly economical because a little goes a long way, and you can use it on all kinds of leather. Black Rock saddle cleaner is easy to apply, but some people don’t like the scent and find it a bit sticky to use.
- It doesn’t alter the color of the leather
- It’s highly conditioning
- It has a sticky finish
- The sent is a bit unpleasant
How Do You Clean a Saddle With Saddle Soap?
To clean a saddle with soap, you need:
- Saddle Soap
- A sponge or cloth
- A small bucket of warm water
- A clean towel
Saddle soap is easy to use, and you don’t need any specialist skills to use it. It’s not like regular soap because you don’t have to rinse it off with water. Instead, you leave the soap to sink in, where it will loosen grime and dirt and hydrate the leather.
Before using soap on your saddle, you must remove as much dirt and dust from the surface with a soft cloth or brush. When the surface is clean you can apply the soap with a moist sponge or cloth. When you’ve covered the saddle in soap, polish the leather with a soft towel to bring out the shine.
Before you use a new soap on your saddle, do a spot test first. To do a spot test, you apply a dab of the new soap onto an inconspicuous area of the saddle, such as under the flap. Leave it for 24 hours to ensure it doesn’t discolor the leather.
Answer: Saddle soap and leather cleaner are similar – they both clean and condition leather. The main difference between the two is that saddle soap is harsher and more aggressive than leather cleaner because it has to deal with grease and dirt from horses.
Leather cleaner, on the other hand, is milder than saddle soap, so it’s more suited to soft, delicate leather like the leather on dress shoes or furniture. Leather cleaner is usually more nourishing than saddle soap.
Answer: The best way to clean a horse saddle is with saddle soap, which is available in solid or liquid form. Before using soap, you must clean the saddle’s surface with a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and dust.
If you use solid soap to clean your saddle, you need to apply it with a damp sponge or cloth and then massage it in until there’s no more lather. If you use liquid soap, spray the soap directly onto the surface and massage it with a sponge or cloth.
Answer: The best soap to clean a saddle with is equestrian saddle soap which contains glycerine. Saddles endure lots of grease, mud, and dirt, so they need a purpose-made soap that is tough but gentle. Never use Lye-based soaps on your saddle because they can make leather dry and brittle.
You can use almost any soap to clean your saddle, such as dish soap, but you must dilute it and use it with warm water. If you use too much-concentrated soap, which isn’t designed for saddles, it can discolor or damage the leather.
My Top Choice and Conclusion
The saddle soap I usually reach out for to clean my tack is the Belvoir from Carr, Day, and Martin. They’re global leaders in equine care, and this soap is high quality and easy to use. I love it because it cleans and conditions my tack – it really brings out the shine and keeps leather nice and supple.
Cleaning your tack is critical – It prolongs the life of leather, and it also keeps you safe in the saddle because dry, brittle leather can easily snap under pressure.
To get the best results from track cleaning, always choose a soap which is compatible with your leather and use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To keep your tack looking at its best, you should use saddle soap in conjunction with a leather conditioner.
- Boots, Cowgirls. “Cleaning the Old and Very Dirty Saddle.” The Horse Forum, 18 Jan. 2014, www.horseforum.com/threads/cleaning-the-old-and-very-dirty-saddle.346889.
- “Difference Between Leather Cleaning Soap And Saddle Soap? | FAQ | Kirby Allison.” YouTube, 9 Apr. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftG_r34-RtI.
- “Leather Care – Www.Leather-Dictionary.Com – The Leather Dictionary.” Leather Care, www.leather-dictionary.com/index.php/Leather_care. Accessed 6 July 2022.
- Summers, Debbie. “How to Restore Dry Leather.” SuggestHow, 12 Apr. 2020, suggesthow.com/how-to-restore-dry-leather.