Leather boots are a great way to dress up any look, but that means you also need to know how to clean leather boots. This material requires regular maintenance to ensure it stays smooth and shiny throughout the years.
How to Clean Leather Boots and Protect Material
When learning how to clean leather boots, there are a few aspects to keep in mind. Leather is a durable material, but it only stays durable if you take care of it properly. You’ll need to remove residual dirt and debris, use mild soap, apply conditioner, let it try, and finish with a waterproofing process.
Simple Steps to Follow
Though there are a handful of steps on how to clean leather boots, each process is simple. It doesn’t take much effort, but you’ll need to repeat the process regularly.
If you wear your leather boots every day, you should clean them at least once a week and condition the leather once a month. If you don’t wear them as often, clean them every month and condition them every few months. By doing this, your boots will look brand new for a long time.
Start with the obvious
Before you start cleaning, remove the laces on your leather boots. They get dirty too, so you should run the laces through a cycle in your washing machine. If they’re damaged, go ahead and replace them with new laces.
Next, use a horsehair brush, toothbrush, or soft cloth to remove any dirt or caked-on grime. If you use a brush, make sure it isn’t stiff enough to scratch the leather. You don’t need any soap just yet, so just buff off the dirt.
After you remove the obvious dirt and debris, you’re ready to clean leather boots with soap. There are a few different kinds of soap you can use that are gentle enough on leather that it won’t harm it. Your options are dish soap, saddle soap, and Castile soap.
For dish and Castile soap, you’ll need to mix together a solution of water and soap. For saddle soap, just rub your wet cloth on it until it lathers. Make sure to wring any excess water out of your cloth before wiping down your shoes.
Next, take another damp cloth and wipe down the boots a second time to remove any soap residue. Dry your shoes with a dry cloth and let them dry for about 10 minutes.
It's the last step for everyday cleaning, but there are additional steps if you condition the leather after cleaning it.
It’s important to regularly condition your leather boots because it locks moisture into the material. Dry leather will crack, and there’s no saving it once it reaches that point. Thankfully, you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
You can buy a commercial leather conditioner, or you can make your own with one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil. Keep in mind that some brands can darken your leather a few shades, so perform a spot test on an inconspicuous patch to make sure you like its effect after a couple of hours.
Apply the conditioner all over the leather and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Next, buff the leather with a soft cloth until it shines.
Let dry in a safe place
It’s crucial to allow your leather boots to dry completely after conditioning it. Your best option is to let them dry outside, but circumstances don’t always permit that. As long as they’re safe in the open air, they’ll dry just fine.
However, don’t let your boots dry in the sun or by a heater. It can dry out the material, fade it, and cause it to crack.
Waterproof the material
If you condition leather boots regularly, they will already have a waterproof layer on them. You can take an additional step to waterproof them with a commercial product. That will protect the material from the elements, like rain, snow, and puddles.
However, keep in mind that a waterproof layer doesn’t protect your boots from total submersion.
You can use a waterproof spray to add an extra layer, or you can use a wax-based shoe polish.
Using a waterproof product should be the last product you apply to your boots, and you should never use these products as a replacement for conditioner. These products will lock in the conditioner you use, not replace it.
How to Remove Stains from Leather Boots
Sometimes, your leather boots come across messes that are more difficult to remove. Thankfully, you can remove most stains with products you already have at home.
If you have ink on your boots, dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover. Blot at the ink with the swab until it disappears, and avoid rubbing the area, so you don’t spread the ink. Wipe down the area with a clean, damp cloth and dry it with a towel.
For oil and grease, use baking soda or cornstarch. Apply the powder to the affected area, and rub it in with a damp cloth. After it sits for a few hours (or overnight), wipe off the powder with a clean cloth.
You can remove scuffs with toothpaste as long as you don’t buy the gel kind. Apply it to the scuff and gently scrub the area.
Knowing How to Clean Leather Boots Leads to Longevity
There are times when nothing feels better than pairing chic leather boots to a new outfit and heading out for some fun. However, the fun will soon taper off if you don’t know how to clean leather boots. Once you learn, your boots will look brand new for a long time.
The steps are easy, but you’ll need to be consistent if you want to keep the leather smooth and conditioned. If you get a stain on your boots, don’t worry. You can remove stains easily too.
How do you clean your leather boots? Let us know in the comments section.