Grease stain on Voltaire saddle seat - help!

Selling my horse, which means my Voltaire Palm Beach also has to go… andddd there’s a grease stain about the size of a quarter on the seat. It’s a few months old at this point, and has been conditioned over. (No idea how it got there in the first place.)

Any tips on how to either remove the stain or darken the leather around it to make it blend in? I’ve been told neatsfoot oil but not sure specifically how to apply (with hands? Sponge? Cloth? Paintbrush?) or how much of the surrounding surface area to cover. The last thing I want to do is make it worse… and I can totally see that happening if left to my own devices. THANK YOU in advance for saving me from myself!

I would not use neatsfood oil to attempt to mask that area. Instead I suggest something like a leather balsam conditioner product (think CWD makes a good one) or Rapide leather gel. Apply a small amount to a clean microfiber cloth and apply. Allow to soak in. Another coat might be better than one.

Good luck.

Thank you so much!

I’ve never used neatsfoot and would love to understand why you’d advise against it here. Is the concern that it would just create an even bigger stain?

I do use (and love) the CWD conditioner - I haven’t found it to be super darkening, but will apply just to the surrounding area and see if that helps.

I’ve also heard that applying cornstarch or talc can help lift a grease stain out of leather?

Neats foot oil is pure oil.

It’s great if you have old school strap goods that are stiff as cardboard and need to soak and be twisted and worked before you can even use them. Or for rejuvenating same after they’ve been in the basement for 35 years. But I wouldn’t let in near modern saddles or strap goods especially not a calf skin Voltaire seat. It will ruin the finish of the leather by making it look like one of those blackened but indestructible lesson string bridles that has been in use since 1975.


The open container in your photo looks like the Lexol brand neatsfoot oil. If so; that’s supposed to be non darkening. So it won’t really help mask a stain by darkening the leather.

Do you have any Hydrophane leather dressing ( which is really a liquid oil) or darkening oil? Might help.

I just used the Rapide stuff for the first time on an decades old martingale and was really impressed with the results and patina. Just slightly darkened and softened/renewed the leather. I ordered it online from M and M Tack.

Maybe contact Voltaire and ask for their advice?

I honestly wouldn’t worry about it. A small mark covered completely by the rider shouldn’t change the value of the saddle much at all, as long as the integrity of the leather is not affected. Weakening the seat by scrubbing or getting aggressive with soaps, or over-oiling will devalue your saddle. :slight_smile: I would echo the advice to contact Voltaire. They may have a safe idea to help lift the stain, or be able to tell you if the value of the saddle is affected at all.


The cornstarch probably wouldn’t hurt, but if it’s been there for months I wouldn’t get my hopes up on getting it out. Luckily Voltaire is a such a popular brand it probably won’t hurt the value by very much, especially since it’s on the seat.

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I agree with this and would leave it alone. Trying to darken the area around the stain is most likely going to make it worse. Many saddles have stains on the seat, its not a big deal and is unlikely to affect the price of the saddle. And Scribbler is right about neatsfoot oil, it is for the “olden days” leather not beautiful French calfskin.

OP I’m surprised you don’t think the CWD leather darkens well, I found it to be very effective at darkening gradually and is an excellent conditioner IMO. When I need to darken new tack and don’t want to over-oil it, I like Walsh’s Blue Ribbon oil. It has a bit of stain to it, so it darkens with the first coat and you don’t need to keep reapplying it.

I’d try a light application of olive oil.

I third this advice. I don’t think twice about most seat marks on used saddles. (Granted, my first saddle ever had a discolored seat - so to me, this is just life :smile: ) Do make sure it’s known when you sell it, but I bet the person who needs this saddle won’t care. A spot of unusual texture - which could happen if you do too much to try to get this out - would concern me a lot more, as I’d worry that spot might rip early or wear funny.