How to waterproof leather in four steps?

How to waterproof leather in four steps?

Rain boots and duck boots may sound like the perfect match for winter, but no one wants to get stuck wearing them every single day. Likewise, no one would also want to ruin their favorite leather shoe too. Yet that’s a substitution that you might want to make. But what about your leather bags, leather gypsy purse, or other leather accessories? Surely, you wouldn’t go around wrapping your bags in nylon, would you? So knowing if your leather is water-resistant or waterproof is essential if you’re planning on using it in situations where it might get in contact with water.

Many persons tend to confuse the terms, ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant’ together, often time, interchanging both words. What exactly is the difference? Water-resistant material is one that can naturally resist water penetration to a certain degree but isn’t protected.

While a waterproof material is one that can be treated to repel water penetration without being damaged even when submerged into water.

Keep in mind that while leather has some level of resistance to water, because of their porous nature they cannot be 100% waterproof. But there are ways to protect them.

A very efficient way to waterproof leather is by using a beeswax cream. And the good thing about using beeswax cream is that beeswax is a natural waterproofing solution.

Four steps to waterproof your leather using beeswax cream

  1. Thoroughly clean your leather

You do not want dust or foreign materials to impede or ruin the waterproofing process, so ensure that you properly clean your leather. Use saddle soap and water to rub away any scuffs on the leather. Remember not to let the leather get too wet. Let the leather dry out away from sunlight.

  1. Apply the beeswax cream

Not only is beeswax cream effective in waterproofing your leather, but it can also be made at home. Interested in making your natural blend of beeswax cream at home? Below is a resourceful way to do so.

DIY beeswax cream

The supplies you would need to make this blend are:

  • 2 ounces of beeswax
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A medium pan of cold water
  • Clean soft cloth
  • A glass jar


  • Pour the extra virgin oil into the glass jar.
  • Break the beeswax into small pieces and add to the glass jar.
  • Put the jar in the pan of cold water and place over the stove to heat for a few minutes.
  • Stir the mixture until the beeswax has completely dissolved in the olive oil.
  • Carefully remove the jar from the pan and stir the mixture until it cools and stiffens. This would take about 10-20 minutes.
  • Your beeswax cream is ready to use.

Whether it’s a DIY beeswax cream or a beeswax cream purchased in the local store, apply in little quantity to a cloth and rub all over the leather. The key is to waterproof the leather, so repeat this process to build up the waterproof protective coating.

Remember to spot test the beeswax cream on an obscure area of your leather, since some products seem to have darkening effects on your leather.

  1. Dry the leather

After applying the beeswax cream on the leather, the wax should be allowed to dry naturally for about 30-60 minutes, away from sunlight. That might be a long time to wait, but make sure you don’t have to speed up the process by possibly heating the leather or this could cause the leather to crack.

  1. Buff the leather

It is important to buff the leather with a clean soft cloth after the wax must have dried off. This would give the leather a finished even look.

Alternative ways to waterproof your leather

Once it has to do with waterproofing your leather, it’s important to explore other ways to protect your leather. There are several other ways to waterproof your leather aside from waxing.

  • Conditioning your leather

Unlike the waxing method, conditioning should be done when the leather is wet. This would help the leather absorb the conditioning treatment as the water evaporates out of the leather.

  • Using waterproofing spray

A waterproofing spray creates an invisible, oil-repellent, and water-resistant layer that would prevent water from actually touching the leather. This method works best for leathers like suede.

  • Using vaseline

Vaseline works as a temporary method for waterproofing your leather. Before applying, clean the leather beforehand and apply coats of vaseline to the surface of your leather bag or shoe. This would ensure your leather is protected against water penetration.

Keep in mind though, that certain waterproofing methods would only work on some leather. This is because all types of leather have different degrees of water resistance. Ultimately, it depends on the leather.

For instance, waxing and conditioning would only work for certain leathers. Leathers like faux leather, which is made from a type of plastic called polyurethane, is already waterproof hence would not need waterproofing.

Leathers like suede, synthetic leather, and nubuck leather, that can be damaged by waxing or conditioning, can be waterproofed using waterproofing sprays. These waterproofing sprays help creates an invisible, oil-repellent, and water-resistant layer that would prevent water from actually touching the leather.

Benefits of waterproofing your leather

  • The leather maintains its breathability.
  • Stains caused by watermarks are reduced.
  • The leather shoe or bag doesn’t get too heavy due to water penetration.
  • Helps the leather lasts longer.

When is the best time to waterproof your leather?

Unless you have psychic powers, it’s never too early to waterproof your leather, as you never know when you’re going to experience rain or snow showers. You want to make sure you and your leather accessories are primed for any weather.

Whatever waterproofing method you might choose that works best for you, ensure to repeat the process every few months.

Remember that these waterproofing process can help protect your leather but only to some extent. Ensure that you do not subject your leather bags or shoes to excess exposure to water or you would ruin the whole waterproofing process.