Guide to Cleaning Leather Boots
Photo by Nathan Dumlao
Originally Posted On: Guide to Cleaning Leather Boots (cowboybootshub.com)
Everyone loves leather. It’s a durable material that looks great in any season and with any outfit. Of course, over time, like with suede shoes, leather boots will begin to look dirty with mud and salt stains. Taking some time to regularly clean your leather boots will go a long way in helping your beloved footwear last a long time. Best of all, cleaning your leather boots means you won’t have to buy a new pair right away which keeps money in your pocket.
The process for cleaning leather boots is pretty easy. If you do this on a regular basis it will become second nature and you should be able to complete the process fairly quickly once you get the hang of it. A little bit of work to keep your leather boots clean can go a long way in making them last and look great for a long time. You may be able to use household products like white vinegar and olive oil to clean, protect, and maintain the moisture in your boots for years to come. Here’s our basic guide to cleaning leather boots for you to check out before you start the process yourself.
Remove Your Laces
Laces tend to absorb dirt and mud. Dirty laces on clean leather boots can really ruin your look. Take out your laces to start the cleaning process. You have two options now. You can either replace the laces with new ones or wash the laces in your washing machine. In the interest of saving money, try washing your laces first. If they don’t get as clean as you would like then you may want to consider replacing. A fresh pair of laces is always a good feeling.
Give Your Boots a Wipe Down
Next, you want to get all of the big clumps of dirt and mud off your leather boots. A soft cloth or brush is all you need for this step. Don’t worry about getting every last bit of mud off your boots. This is a very basic wipe down to remove major bits of dirt and debris before the real cleaning process begins. You shouldn’t need to spend more than a couple minutes on this step.
Lather Up Your Leather Boots
There is a variety of leather cleaner products available out there. If you have the spare cash then top quality leather cleaner can definitely come in handy. However, if you’re looking for a good cleaning product on a budget then all you need is a mixture of dish soap and warm water (or saddle soap if you have a horse lover in the family). Use a dry cloth to apply the soap mixture on your leather boots. You don’t want your boots to be dripping wet so be sure to wring out your cloth before applying the soap.
Clean off the Soap
For this step, you will want a separate, clean cloth handy from the one you used in the last step. Dampen your fresh cloth with clean water, wring it out, and then begin to wipe away the soap mixture you applied in the last step. For an especially dirty area or areas with scuff marks, you may want to reapply more soap and repeat the cleaning process. Your boots should be totally clean for the next step, so take your time here to ensure you have cleaned up all dirt, mud, and debris.
Apply Leather Conditioner
If you have ever purchased leather boots then you have likely been offered leather conditioner at the time of purchase. If you have this on hand, then you are ready to go. Most leather conditioners have you apply the product, wait some time, and then buff with a soft cloth. If you don’t have leather conditioner, you can make your own at home. Simply mix one part vinegar with two parts linseed oil, then apply the mixture to your leather boots. Let it dry for 15 minutes and then buff with a soft cloth.
Dry Your Boots
Finally, give your boots some time to dry. You may not think so, but choosing where to dry your boots is very important. A dry area out of the sun or other direct heat sources is best. Don’t use a boot dryer or put your boots beside the furnace vent. Direct sunlight or heat during the drying process can cause your leather boots to fade and even crack. This would essentially undo all of the hard work you had done in cleaning your boots up to this point.
Stains and Scuffs
Some stains and scuffs may be a little too stubborn for the process above. If you have some grease or oil stains, then you may want to try applying cornstarch or baking soda to the area. After leaving the boots overnight, rub away the powder with a cloth. The baking soda or cornstarch should absorb the oil and grease.
Many scuffs can be resolved with a simple cleaning process like we outlined in the steps above. For a more serious scuff, you can use toothpaste. Apply the toothpaste and then buff away with a damp cloth. Be sure that you are not using gel toothpaste for this process. Basic, white toothpaste is best for this kind of cleaning.
Strut Your Stuff
Now your leather boots are clean and looking like the day you bought them. Get out there and show them off! Do this process on a regular basis to keep your leather boots looking great for a long time.