Sterling Essentials kindly sent me their product to review and I can honestly say I am very impressed. Sterling Essentials is a company based out of Oregon run by husband and wife, Teal and Matt Shoop. After finding that their horse had an allergic reaction to the harsh chemicals in most commercial leather cleaners, it made them think about their own skin and what alternatives were out there. It turns out, there really wasn’t any natural leather cleaners on the market, so Teal put her Engineering degree to use and together she and her husband created natural PH balanced leather cleaners and conditioners. The goal of their products, aside from being gentle on the skin for humans and horses alike, was to prevent
Now, I need to mention, these products are currently, not available in Canada. BUT they are working towards this goal, so my fellow Canadians out there, keep your eyes open for this to hit the shelves! It is well worth it. If you are an American, well, lucky YOU!
** products are not recommended for nubuck or suede.
I received a sample size of the Lavender conditioner and cleaner, a full size of the Floral Citrus cleaner and a full size of the Eucalyptus conditioner. I really love the packaging; the ingredients, instructions and label are very clear and straightforward. Something that I noticed about the Floral Citrus cleaner bottle is that it has a push lock button. I have never seen this before, and I really loved it. No accidental misting!
They all smell lovely, but I think I might like the Floral Citrus cleaner and Lavender conditioner scents the best. I never realized how harsh chemical leather cleaner can smell until I experienced something natural and fragrant.
Fit and Feel
I decided to use my black Dublin Winter Tall boots, and my brown Ariat Cowboy boots to really see how the cleaner worked on two different kinds and colours of leather. My Dublin boots have very supple leather, with the inside
The instructions said to spray the cleaner onto a clean cloth, which is the instruction I followed. I did try spraying onto the boot directly once and had no issue, and found I had more coverage, but I did not want to go against instructions. I do know that some leather cleaner brands recommend not spraying directly onto the leather in fear of streaking.
I started off with the Floral Citrus cleaner and found that the cleaner worked really well at removing dust, dirt and sweat. There was one spot in particular on the inside of my tall boot where there was dried sweat, and the cleaner removed it without any fuss.
I tried the Lavender cleaner and did experience the same pleasant results, plus a lovely relaxing scent. My cowboy boots did come very clean and brightened them up. I was very impressed as the cleaner did not leave a sticky residue or dry out the leather as I have found other products have in the past. In my Ariat cowboy boots, there are a couple spots where the sweat has really absorbed and marked the leather. I have tried several cleaners and have not had much luck removing it. Unfortunately, Sterling Essentials cleaner wasn’t able to remove it entirely either, but I believe these marks in the boots are permanent.
I do think that the small sample bottle does make it a bit harder to get good coverage on a cloth if you are cleaning something of a larger size. I personally prefer a spray bottle. I would recommend keeping these small bottles for things like bridles or other smaller leather works. I do think that they are a perfect travel size for showing; a nice way to touch up products without having to pack around larger bottles.
I started off with the Eucalyptus conditioner. I really love it. It is so creamy and it just melts right into the leather effortlessly. You hardly need any, which is important and a little goes a long way! I applied it to my Dublin boots and it absorbed immediately into the leather. Although, the inside of the boot where the leather is more texturized, the conditioner took about a day to fully absorb. On the rest of the boot where the leather is smooth, the results were almost instant.
The Lavender conditioner is a great travel size, I intend on using it on my dry cowboy boots after a long day in the sun. My Ariat boots are unbelievably dry and have a hard time retaining moisture. After applying Sterling Essentials conditioner it really brightened them up and added some
Something important to note, it does say on the packaging that the conditioner might discolour the leather and apply it in a discrete place before applying to the whole item. With black boots, it doesn’t matter. I think the goal is to have your boots as black as possible so anything that helps that is just an added bonus! I applied it to a small area of my cowboy boots first to see if I noticed any sort of darkening. Truthfully, with both conditioners (Lavender and Eucalyptus) I did notice some darkening of the leather on my Ariat cowboy boots. I continued to apply the conditioner to the rest of my boots and did notice that once the conditioner had fully absorbed and had ‘dried’, my boots did appear slightly darker than they had originally. With this in mind, I personally wouldn’t apply this conditioner to light brown leather if you want to maintain that colour. My formal riding boots and saddle are two tones of brown leather, which I love. So, unfortunately, I am a bit apprehensive to apply the conditioner to those products, but for my black boots and darker tones of leather, I 100% will continue to use it.
I cannot comment on the waterproofing of these boots, but I know that the formula for both cleaner and conditioner is Ph balanced and prevents mold and mildew from attaching to the leather. I do not live in a climate where my tack is at risk of mildew, but because of the engineering behind the formula
Sterling Essentials Leather Cleaner and Conditioner is a great and unique product. I have very sensitive skin and through my whole experience of testing out 4 different products, I didn’t experience any irritation or residue on my skin. I do think that is really important to consider not only the safety of our skin but of our horses as well. It is little details like that which can turn a bad ride into a great ride. Finding alternatives to give our horses the best life we can is so important and it is amazing the options that are out there.
The scents are wonderful, for all products, and really added to the whole experience. I never realized how ‘chemically’ other products can smell when comparing it to something with natural, essentials oils.
The cleaner is very effective for cleaning sweat, dust and dirt and the application requires zero effort. For really tough, embedded sweat, I don’t know if these products have quite the potency, but I have yet to come across a cleaner that truly does.
The conditioner absorbs right away and really did moisturize my driest leather boots. I would not recommend using the conditioner on light coloured items as it might darken the leather. For use on darker leathers such as black
Sterling Essentials is very affordable; a 16oz bottle of cleaner is $16.95 USD and an 8oz jar of conditioner is $19.95 USD. A little goes a long way with these products, so you can be sure you will get your money’s worth.
Currently unavailable in Canada, but these products are available across the USA. Click here for where to buy.
Always get back on,
*The opinions shared in this blog are of my own, and not a reflection of the company or its current and future products