Revitalizing Old Leather Holster


Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Sep 9, 2006
One of the things in my grandfather's old footlocker was a WWI-era brown leather holster for a 1911. It's in decent shape for being as old as it is, but it is dry and pressed in from having a lot of stuff piled on it for so many years. I want to use it as a holster for my Kimber, and I'm looking for ways I can clean it and make it soft again. I was thinking a little saddle soap and some Neet's foot oil. Suggestions?
Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream. $13 from a consultant. This is the stuff that started the company. It is the leather conditioner formula that is referenced in the history of the company. I'm sure it's been updated at least a little since the original but not much. My mom had some when I was a kid and it was the same stuff they sell now. Just my 2c.

While selling at a home party for her previous employer, she had been introduced to the hostess, a cosmetologist, who was testing a beauty line to friends. The woman had developed the products from a leather tanning solution her father had formulated after he noticed how youthful his hands looked from using the solution every day. Although the cosmetologist marketed the products to her friends she did not achieve any great success. Upon her death in 1961, Mary Kay purchased the formulas from the woman’s daughter and the Mary Kay beauty line was born.
I use a brand name of LEXOL and they have three different products
Lexol PH Cleaner (Glycerine PH balanced)
Lexol Leather conditioner
Lexol NF Leather Dressing non darkening
I use these products on all my saddles, chaps, headstalls etc. Over the years I have tried a lot of products both commercial and home made and Lexol has worked the best for me.
Tandy leather company has a lot of different products and they sell them in small quantities.
I would only use saddle soap on something that is very dirty and you rub a lot of water into the leather displacing natural oils in my opinion.
The minute I saw this threads title I thought "xSF med has a lot of experience with old leather. I wonder he will share with us his brand of night cream".

The Troll don't neeeeeed no stinkin' night cream... ;)

The minute I saw this threads title I thought "xSF med has a lot of experience with old leather. I wonder he will share with us his brand of night cream".

and I thought... Mac has a lot of experience rubbing one off, he should be able to give lots of advice....:)

Actually, a good leather conditioner - Lexol, Mothers and Guardian make good products - the key to bringing back leather that has a low moisture content is getting the oils back into the leather.

Remember - Saddle soap only removes surface dirt - it will dry the leather - due to the age of the holster, a very lightly dampened cloth for the saddle soap and allow to dry fully prior to using the conditioner.

When using the conditioner, the color of the leather may change (darken slightly due to the re-absorbtion of oils) - makes sure all surfaces - even way down inside the gun pocket and all edges get a t least 2 -3 good coats of the product - allow acoupe of days between applications, and buff with a soft cloth between applications.

Neutral shoe polish (Kiwi, Guardsman, Lincoln or Meltonian) as the final protective coat on the exterior of the holster - probably not all the way down into the gun pocket since it can't be buffed out all the way and might get into the slide rails of the "shoot'n ahrn".

As a second thought - if you were to render one of the kiwis from this board, you could get all of the oil you needed to condition the holster... but then the holster would be unintelligible and have a bad attitude.
Rub the holster with Linseed oil, Neatsfoot oil or even Rapeseed oil!

I have an Old Irish Easter Rising - 1916 Officers Leather Holster. I had a similar problem. The holster had gotten very dry & stiff over the years. I reckon that was mostly due to exposure to the central heating in the house. I now keep it stored away from either too much heat or cold exposure.

I used Linseed oil to stop the leather from cracking and eventually from falling apart. It softened it up nicely without removing too much of its age. I know you plan to use the holster, but whatever you do, I strongly recommend that you do not over clean the holster! Avoid using the saddle soap flakes if possible, as I assume you still wish it to somewhat look like an original WWI leather holster and not like a new holster?