How to Clean and Take Care of Leather Boots

How to Clean and Take Care of Leather Boots

Your pair of beloved leather boots can be a life-long best friend. They are dependable, fashionable, and also there when you need them. That is, provided you take care of them. This means cleaning them properly after every wear and following a few other tips and tricks to ensure your leather boots are well taken care of.

You should follow these instructions for the best results.

How to Clean Leather Boots the Right Way 

After each wear, wipe your boots with a damp cloth. Leather boots should be cleaned thoroughly every week. This prevents you from tracking in mud and muck into your home. Plus, it lets your boots perform their best when the outer soles are clean and the leather isn’t dried and cracked.

Here is a step-by-step guide to thoroughly cleaning your leather boots:

  1. Lay a few sheets of old newspaper on a flat surface. Then place your boots on the newspaper (it makes cleaning up afterward easy).
  2. Remove the laces if your boots have these. If not, you can start at Step 4.
  3. Wash the laces if they are made from cotton; if they are made from leather, then lightly brush them with a toothbrush to remove dirt before conditioning them with leather balm.
  4. Use a horsehair brush and gently buff the leather of your boots to dislodge loose dirt. You can use a toothbrush for smaller and harder to reach places like in the welt or where the tongue meets the vamp or toe cap.
  5. Use a medium bristled brush to brush off any mud and dirt from your outer sole. Then with a damp cloth, wipe the outer sole until it is clean.
  6. For any stubborn dirt stains on your leather boots, use saddle soap or a boot cleaner and a damp cloth. Rub the lather in circular motions on the leather surface of your boots. Air dry the boots for about 10 minutes.
  7. To condition your boot (which should be every 1-2 months), rub oil, a wax cleaner, or a leather balm onto the grain of the leather with a soft, dry cloth. Rub the conditioner all over the leather, making sure not to miss any spots.
  8. After you’ve conditioned your boots, apply a leather protectant with a soft cloth. You should apply the protectant all over the leather so it can soak in. You can use mink oil or another leather protectant of your choice.
  9. (Optional) You may choose to waterproof your boots but then skip Step 8. Massage a grease or wax waterproofing treatment into the leather until all the wax has been absorbed. An easier product is a silicon spray; however, this wears off faster than a wax-based water-proofer.

5 Tips for How to Take Care of Leather Boots 

You should follow these best tips to take care of your leather boots to ensure they continue looking band new:

  1. Ensure your leather boots are waterproof if you wear them in rain and snow to protect them from water and any spills.
  2. Moisturize the leather often so it doesn’t dry out. Conditioning your leather boots regularly also helps to preserve their shine, and the leather lasts longer too.
  3. If you live in an area where it snows in winter, repair any salt and snow stains with a remover immediately. Let your boots air dry before wearing them again.
  4. When storing your boots, insert a boot shaper so your boots can keep their shape. Look for an adjustable boot shaper that matches the height and width of your pair of leather boots.
  5. If there are any stains on your boots, you should remove them as soon as possible.

Top Don’ts for Cleaning and Taking Care of Leather Boots

Here are the top don’ts when it comes to cleaning and taking care of your leather boots.


  • Submerge your leather boots in water as it can damage the shape of your boot and also lead to the color or dye of the leather fading.
  • Leave them dirty for months before you clean your leather boots.
  • Leave ink, oil, or grease stains to penetrate your leather boots.
  • Use Vaseline on leather boots as it doesn’t sufficiently soak into the leather to properly condition your boots.
  • Use petroleum jelly as a leather boot conditioner as it may rob the leather of its natural oils, drying the leather out prematurely.
  • Never use harsh soaps or soaps that contain kojic acid as these can damage the leather.
  • Use olive oil to condition your leather boots as it is too heavy and the leather may rot over time.
  • Put your leather boots in the washing machine or dryer.

Final Thoughts 

Properly cleaning and caring for your leather boots will ensure they keep their shape and color, look new, and don’t harden. If you follow these steps, tips, and tricks, your leather boots will keep you company for a long time to come.