Liquid silicon rubber crop

This is the type of substance we are talking about when using the word ‘silicone’ in this post. Here we will explainSilicone based cleaners are bad for leather.

Source: By Gmhofmann (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I am sure many of you have asked yourselves, what products should I use to clean or condition my luxury leather goods? As we have discussed in a previous post, before attempting to apply anything, make sure you identify the type of leather your leather product is made of. Not only is there a variety of leather types but also finishes that can be ruined if leather identification is not done properly. One of the worse chemicals to be applied to any leather product is Silicone. Here, we will explain why we say Silicone based cleaners are bad for leather.

Silicone is a polysiloxane, a substance made of molecules consisting of chains made of silicon and oxygen, giving it resistance to water and oxidation. Silicone is commonly used in many products to clean, waterproof, or condition leather goods. It can be labeled as polydimethylsiloxane, modified siloxanes, or Concentrated silicone emulsion. When silicone gets in contact with leather, it may alter its color and create an impermeable layer that affects leather breathability. For many people understanding the concept of leather “breathing” can be confusing, we will have an entire post about this concept.


Silicone has side effects, one is drying out and suffocating the leather fibers, and another one is changing the feel of the leather. Silicone has the special property of penetrating the leather fibers affecting the feel of it by a process called fatliquoring. By affecting the fibers, it can also promote changes in the shape and the overall structure of the luxury leather item. This will make any restoration/repair process difficult and requires the silicone to be removed using detergents or solvents that can potentially further damage the leather integrity.

To summarize, avoid applying any products that contain silicone to your luxury items. There are better options that will help nourish and protect leather that has fewer side effects. If you want the integrity of the structure of your shoes or purse to not be altered, do not apply silicone as it may cause your luxury leather item to deform. Another important detail is the fact that repair/restoration will be difficult if you apply silicone-based products to your leather items and colorants will most likely not penetrate enough to make any color touch-ups or changes.