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A tin of dubbin

Dubbin (also known as “dubbing” in the USA) is a traditional product used to soften, condition and waterproof leather. It consists of natural wax, oil and tallow. Dubbin has been used since medieval times to waterproof and soften leather goods.[1] It is different from saddle soap used to clean and lightly condition leather, or shoe polish, which is used to impart shine and colour to it.

Dubbin can be made with beeswax; fish oil; and lard,[2] and can also include mink oil.

The name dubbin is a contraction of the gerund dubbing, describing the action of applying the wax to leather.[3]


  1. ^ Waterer, John William (1981). Leather and the warrior : an account of the importance of leather to the fighting man from the time of the ancient Greeks to World War II. Northampton, England: The Museum of Leathercraft. p. 61. ISBN 9780950418216.
  2. ^ "Mad Madam Mel: A recipe for Dubbin". madmadammel.com. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  3. ^ "dub1". askoxford.com. Archived from the original on 23 September 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
Other references
  • [1] - Material Safety Data Sheet - Joseph Lyddy dubbin.
  • [2] - Opportunities for industry and the safe investment of capital (1859) Rothman, E., Lippincott, USA
  • Jarell, T.D., Holman, H.P., (1923) Effects of Treating Materials and Outdoor Exposure upon Water Resistance and Tensile Strength of Cotton Duck, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Bureau of Chemistry, Washington.
  • Norton, F.J., (1945) Waterproofing Treatments of Materials, Patent Number 2386259, Serial Number 452,885, United States Patent Office.
  • Holman, H.P., Jarrell, T.D., (date unknown) The Effects of Waterproofing Materials and Outdoor Exposure upon the Tensile Strength of Cotton Yarn, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 15(3), US Department of Agriculture, Washington.
  • Stewart, C.S., (1977) Factors Affecting the Cellulolytic Activity of Rumen Contents, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, pp. 497–502