Old engine oil for boots

I thought I’d give a tip that I have used for many years to protect my leather boots.

I brush old engine oil onto the leather as needed to keep the water out and to keep the leather soft so it won’t crack. Brush it on when the leather is dry.

This will very much darken the leather and if you really soak it in it can even darken your socks. Also don’t let it soak into your wife’s rug. She won’t like it.

I have never used any store bought product that closely compares with this. I use my boots almost daily in snow, wet morning grass, mud, etc. and they last a long time usually wearing out the soles rather than cracking the leather.

I hate to tell you this …

I’ve never had a pair of leather boots crack since I stopped working in cement many, many years ago, and I’ve never used motor oil. Plain 'ole shoe wax. A tin lasts about 40 years.

I have worn out plenty of boot laces though. Got any cures for that?

Great idea
I can’t wait to swath my feet in a variety of toxic/carcinogenic hydrocarbons and God knows how many other combustion byproducts that collect in the oil during its life in the engine.

Might harm the leather
Not only is there oil in used engine oil, but all kinds of by-products from being, well, used.

Do you mean to say “old” as in “never run in an engine but I have some leftover in an opened container”? The stinky part means the oil has gone rancid. And it really smells bad.

Paracord for laces…
it comes in colors, nylon does not rot, and it will give you a source for cord in a survival situation…

Yep. I do that

… after the originals wear out. Just cut to fit with an extra wrap around before tying. That way you’ve got some extra for who knows what.

Not likely to switch from Mink Oil I’ve used for at least 20 years for motor oil.

Para cord is also my go to after old boot laces have worn out.


There are so many other better oils
Used motor oil is a toxic mess. I can hardly think of a worse choice.

The oil I use has been drained from engines.

Hardly so toxic. Mechanics work in engine oil much of the day and don’t suffer much different than the rest of us.

I used to use mink oil. This is way better.

What’s that smell?
You must hear that a lot. :wink:

I’ve been using Snow Seal for years. It’s bee’s wax that is easily buffed into leather creating a waterproof barrier while preserving it. I’ve had boots last for many years.


What does PETA think about wringing
minks to get that oil?

Since it wouldn’t take much oil, if I
were to opt for motor oil, I would use it fresh out of the bottle. It really does have lots of nasty pollutants after use. The mechanics I’ve known would not argue that exposure to used motor oil is helping them any.

Be prepared!
I once used a pair of homemade paracord boot laces as a makeshift waterpump drive belt.

Got me the last few miles to a farm store for a proper belt …



Used motor oil often contains toxic items such as benzene, lead, arsenic, zinc and cadmium. One ounce of used motor oil can contaminate 7500+ gallons of fresh water.

Wonder if burnt motor oil would help

… my boats from cracking? … Probably have to rub it on the inside so it wouldn’t pollute the waterways.

From a safety sheet for used oil.




Revision 9/07; MSDS Form No. 81451 - Page 7 of 10

“Discard affected clothing, shoes, and/or protective equipment if they cannot be thoroughly cleaned.”

“Discard leather articles, such as shoes, saturated with the product.”


– Last Updated: Jan-27-11 1:44 PM EST –

I'm less worried about PETA than the mink........

Nasty little b....... when you start wringing oil out of them; they have sharp teeth & claws, and a really high pitched squeal that is terrible to hear.

If I'm in a racing mood; I coat the hull of my canoe with used transmission oil. Better than a bent shaft paddle, when you want to "shift gears", and get on down the river.


Animal Skins
Beeswax makes leather last longer.

The tannery worked hard to remove the oils/fats and preserve the leather, so it’s hard to imagine why you’d put it back on.


– Last Updated: Jan-27-11 3:05 PM EST –

For a few dollars you can get a large jar of vaseline at those cheap discount stores. A little less toxic and will do the same thing.

By now you must realize that you are on a "going green" web site.

When we were young kids, we used to rub car oil (new) on our baseball gloves. I'm still alive.

No! No! No! Stop and throw it all away
Dioxin Contamination. Plagued with a dust problem in the early 1970s due to its 23 miles (37 km) of dirt roads and lack of pavement funds, the city of Times Beach hired waste hauler Russell Bliss to oil the roads in and around the town in 1971.[2] From 1972 to 1976, Bliss sprayed waste oil on the roads at a cost of six cents per gallon used.

The problem began when Bliss had taken a contract with a local company called ICP to dispose of toxic waste.[2] ICP was being paid $3,000 per load to haul away toxic waste from Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company (NEPACCO), and ICP would turn around and pay Bliss $125 to take it off their hands.[2] NEPACCO operated a facility producing hexachlorophene in Verona, Missouri. Some parts of the facility had been used for the production of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and the waste clay and water contained levels of dioxin some 2,000 times higher than the dioxin content in Agent Orange.[2] Bliss claimed he was unaware that the waste contained dioxin, he even sprayed it around his own home.[2]

Bliss had first used the technique of spraying waste oil to control dust in horse stables after discovering it worked well at his own home.[2] When a March 1971 spraying resulted in the death of 62 horses, the owners of the stable suspected Bliss, who assured them it was just used engine oil.[2] But Bliss had mixed the NEPACCO waste with waste oil.[2] The owners followed Bliss’s activities, and after other stables experienced similar problems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating, and, in late 1979, a NEPACCO employee confessed the company’s practice of disposing of dioxin.[2] The government sued NEPACCO in 1980.

The EPA visited Times Beach in mid-1982, and, in November 1982, stories began to appear in the press about the discovery of dioxin in Times Beach. Another soil sample was taken December 3, 1982, and the test result showed dioxin levels some 100 times higher than the one part per billion generally considered to be hazardous to humans.

Check the story out on Wikpedia and see the result of Dixon on the skin.