Natural Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

Photo by  Lee Campbell  on  Unsplash

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

My beloved Birkenstocks are the only pair of sandals I brought with me to India.  Actually, I bought them specifically for my first trip to India in 2015.  I have walked all over this country in them, and these days they are looking pretty loved.   The leather has been dirty, dusty, and dry for some time, and the soles are worn down to a thin layer in the front and the back.  (Birkenstock actually provides a re-soling service, of which I will avail myself when I'm back in the states.) 

I started looking around for a natural way to clean the leather straps, using ingredients I already have at home.  Most sources I found recommended some combination of vinegar, olive oil, and sometimes essential oils.  Since I was wary of saturating the leather with too much oil at the risk of weakening it, I opted for more vinegar than olive oil, and left out the essential oils.  


  • 2 parts distilled white vinegar
  • 1 part olive oil

Mix the two ingredients together.  Dip a clean rag into the mixture and rub all over your leather, wiping away any dust and dirt.  Then, with a dry section of the rag, go back and buff out any excess moisture.  

Enjoy your newly cleaned and conditioned leather!

Note: Please don't use this on suede!