I don't post a lot, but this is one I have to ask about. One of my... uh... we'll call her a friend for now... just claimed that Lexol causes buildup and ruins tack.
Normally I don't listen to her, since most of what she says is useless. But I have a new saddle so this is one of those things I just had to check out.
The product in question is the non darkening Lexol NF.
So, what has anyone to say? Any longtime Lexol users on here see their tack being "ruined"? It's the easiest form of "oil" for me to get, I'd have to drive an hour to any tack store around here. I have been using it lightly on my new saddle a couple times a week (for... three weeks now? usually I give it a light coat after I clean it).
Everyone seems to recommend a different way of cleaning/oiling/conditioning tack but really all I'm worried about is keeping mine in good condition and not accidentally destroying it.
The prevailing opinion these days is Neatsfoot Oil is a bit harsh on tack. And 2x per week for neatsfoot oil seems like quite a lot, too. I don't think you really need to oil tack all that often if you are cleaning it with a good non-drying saddle soap regularly.
Order a good conditioner online, saves a trip and you can get something decent. Lots of tack shop websites have reviews of products.
You are correct, everyone has their own methods, but I think Lexol is probably not one of the more modern ways to clean.
I was advised by the person who sold us our new leather sofa set to use Lexol on it and it soaks in well and leaves no residue or build-up. Neatsfoot - Yuck.
Kwill has it about right, I'd say. I also use Leather New on my tack but it is not particularly rich as in conditioning, but cleans and shines well....and is quick and easy.
Last winter I took all my strap goods from the unheated tack room. Dunked it all
in warm water with a drop of vinegar, to remove the mould that was starting,
laid it out on towels, sprayed it with Leather New and then wiped it all down.
Did it all so speedily and it looked and felt great.
I can tell you for sure that's wrong (to soak the tack in NF oil)! Neatsfoot has a lot of harsh chemicals in it. Back in the olden days, indeed we used to soak all our new tack in that stuff and make it all dark and greasy. Now I know better.
If the Lexol is working for you, I don't see a reason to change.
Edit: I think I read somewhere that you can use olive oil to oil tack ... anyone else hear this?
Old, old, old article in the Chronicle where they interviewed old grooms and one of the recommendations for cleaning tack was castile soap and olive oil. Tried it for a few years and it didn't ruin any of my tack.
I know I ought to buy a better saddle soap (yeah, using fiebings... Bought it at tractor supply with the lexol... It was that and lexol, or horsemans one step). Generally my tack cleaning is: using tack sponge, apply fiebings saddle soap with enough water that it's a light foam, keeps it from getting solid yellow gunk in my stitching, wipe off with clean damp tack sponge, then spray a little lexol (when I first got the saddle I used more, trying to soften it up) on the sponge and wipe it down to where it looks shiny. The saddle usually soaks that right up. Every once in awhile I'll rub the saddle down with a soft rag a few minutes after putting the lexol on there.
So, the lexol stuff is better than pure neatsfoot even though it has neatsfoot in it?
The people on the hunter section seem to talk about using olive oil from time to time... Considering we have that in the pantry, I suppose I could try a little.
When I was a teenager, I worked at a barn that had a lot of show harness I had to clean, with help from other people. One day, at a big show, I found the new girl liberally applying a heavy coat of Vaseline all over the fine harness tack.
I use either Lexol cleaner or Leather Wash (I think that's what it's called... comes in a spray bottle and smells kinda gross) to clean and usually neatsfoot to oil/condition. I did get Lexol conditioner for my new Five Star Tack bridle as the lady recommended it over neatsfoot.
Many years ago I had a saddlemaker tell me he could always tell if someone had been using TOO MUCH Lexol. He also said overuse will rot stitching. After I clean my tack, I generally use a LIGHT (!!) coating of Passier Lederbaum.
Lexol cleaner and conditioner was all my old trainer wanted us to use when we borrowed her Keifer Bayern (it had been a gift from her students at a prervious barn.) Never seemed to hurt it, and I'm still using a girth we had back then, and reins, bridles, and my old AP saddle would be usable if it fit Lucky.
Neatsfoot oil COMPOUND is harsh for leather; pure neatsfoot oil is okay. It's made from cow's feet--you really think a product that comes out of a cow is too harsh for tanned cow's skin? But the neatsfoot compound has petroleum distillates added (to increase volume at lower cost), and that can be hard on leather and stitching.
Agree that modern leather does not need the amount of oil that we used to use, back in the dark ages.
I think wiping with a dilute solution of ammonia (basic solution) is possibly better for dealing with mold and sweat grunge than a dilute solution of vinegar (acidic solution). But the best thing is Effax Leather Combi!
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine