How to Clean Leather Boots

Leather boots are a good investment you can make, as they can last for a long time. The quality of work you get with your leather boots purely depends on how you take care of the boots. If you know how to clean the leather boot properly, the boot can last for more years than you had expected.

Some leather boots come with a cleaning kit that you will use to ensure you have maintained the quality. Leather cleaning involves two parts, outside cleaning of the leather and inside cleaning, which involve smell removal from the boot and keeping it look fresh and new. The boot can be repurposed for any dirty work if the leather boots would be helpful too.

You need to be careful also on the method you will use to dry your leather boots. This is because some methods may crack the leather. Exposing your leather boots to extreme heat; for example, it will crack the leather. In this article, we have discussed the various ways of cleaning your leather boot.

Cleaning Dirty Leather Boots

Every stain does different things to your leather boots, and therefore each of them must be dealt with differently. Despite which stain you are dealing with, there are steps you need to follow for proper cleaning. In this cleaning, you can use dish soap.

  • Remove the laces- Remove the laces from your boots. You can wash them separately after you have done with your leather boots.
  • Gently clean debris and dirt- Using a piece of soft cloth or soft brush, gently go through the boot, cleaning off any piece of dirt and debris in it, especially in the soles. Avoid firm brash as they will scratch the leather.
  • Clean with soap– Prepare a mixture of 50/50 dish soap and water, dip a soft cloth in the mixture, and add some saddle soap with water. Dap off with the solution on the entire outside and wipe it off with another wet cloth and dry the boot with a dry towel.
  • Apply leather conditioner– Leather conditioner helps to make the boot shine and keep the leather hydrated. To keep the leather from drying up, apply the leather conditioner and leave it there for 15 minutes, and then buff the leather boots with a soft brush until it shines.
  • Dry- Leave the boot on an open space to dry out. You need to keep your leather boot away from heaters or damp areas.

Grease or oil removal from the boot

If you realize that your boot has stains of oil or grease, mix some baking soda and water to form a paste. Rub the paste on the areas with the grease or oil spot with a soft cloth. Let the paste sit in the spot for some good hours before you wipe it off with a soft cloth.

 Salt stain removal

Salt can cause permanent damage or form stains on your leather boots. Removing these stains requires a careful procedure. You will need to have two pieces of cloths, water, and Vinegar. The steps to remove include,

  • Prepare a mixture of 50/50 water and Vinegar. Dip in a soft piece of cloth and wipe off the salt stains.
  • Rub the leather boots using a soft wet cloth
  • Using another soft dry cloth, wipe it to make the leather dry
  • Leave your leather boot on an open area to dry naturally. Ensure that the boot doesn’t come across an area with overheat.
  • Once the boots are dry, buff them with a soft dry cloth to make them shine. 

The use of cornstarch to remove grease stains

Ensure that your boots are dry when you want to use this method. Cover the grease stains with healthy cornstarch. Let it stay in the area overnight for it to completely absorb the oil or grease. Wipe off the cornstarch with a soft wet cloth damped on a small amount of dish soap.

If the grease stains do not have been removed, you need to repeat the process; after all, the first use of the method doesn’t guarantee removal. Avoid soaking your boots with water, and wiping should be done using a soft wet cloth. 

The use of Talcum Powder in cleaning stains

Talcum powder is one of the effective substances you can use to remove grease, oil, or other stains from your leather boots. The powder is affordable and very convenient in using it. You need to pour the powder into the area with the stains.

The good thing with this talcum powder is that it is all-natural; you will not experience any adverse reaction from it with your leather boots. It also has an excellent natural absorbent level that allows it to absorb grease effectively.

Once you have applied the grease, let it stay there for one hour, and then look for a soft leather brush to clean the leather. You can use cornstarch as an alternative product. However, it does not have that solid, absorbing power like talcum powder. This is why most people prefer to use talcum powder over cornstarch. 

The use of alcohol in removing ink stains

Ink stains can make your leather boot look awkward. Using a cotton ball, pour some alcohol into it and rub the damped cotton on the ink spot. The rubbing should be in a circular motion. You can apply a leather conditioner to restore the shiny of your leather after rubbing alcohol on the spot. 

Inside cleaning

How to clean smelly leather boots

Once you have removed dirt from your leather boots, you will need to go into the boot and remove or get rid of the odor smell from the boot. Leather boots are at high risk of developing odor smell if the material is exposed to water every time, and yet it is not waterproof.

Before your start inside cleaning, you need to determine the material the boot has used. If the boot lining is made from leather, you will have to follow the steps highlighted below. However, if the lining is made from other fabric, you need to have another leeway of cleaning. The steps include,

  • Rub the leather lining with a damped soft cloth- Prepare a mixture of water and soap. Dip in a piece of soft cloth to make it wet. Add a few drops on the saddle soap on the damp cloth. Rub the damp cloth gently inside the boot up when it gets foamy.
  • Using another wet, damp soft cloth, rub it again, rub the lining of the boot again gently. Ensure that you get out up to the last bit of soap.
  • Dry- Allow your boot to dry in an open place and not expose them to excessive heat.
  • Wiping with Vinegar and water-Prepare a mixture of water and Vinegar and wipe down inside the boot using a soft, damp cloth.
  • Use of baking soda- To ensure that the odor doesn’t come back, put a knotted sock with the baking soda in the boot overnight. This will be helpful as it absorbs any odor that might be developing. You can sprinkle baking soda also to the boot. 

How to Polish Leather Boots

After cleaning your boot well and ensuring there is no smell, it is an excellent time to provide them with good polish. Polishing leather boots is vital because it will help to remove scuff marks and scratches as well.  Before polishing, ensure you have kept the laces out and cleaned them well.

  • Get a shoe polish and a cloth- Wrap a clean, soft cloth on your finger and apply a shoe polish to the cloth.
  • Dash the polish onto the boot- Using the smooth cloth, gently dab the polish around the different parts of the shoe. The toothbrush can also work better in this case.
  • Spread the polish around the boot- Using a rag or soft cloth, rub the polish in. Ensure that the polish has been distributed evenly onto the boot.
  • Buff- With a brush or another rag, buff thoroughly the surfaces of the leather boot. Allow the polish to dry in an open place, and then look at the shiny boots.

Conditioning of the leather

The conditioning of leather involves essential in helping the leather boot from cracking or drying out. After cleaning your boots and dried them, it is good to apply some liquid leather conditioner onto the material using a soft cloth.

Rub the conditioner to the leather in a circular motion. Allow the conditioner to dry and soak in. The good thing with these leather conditioners they come in different versions like gels or wax. Ensure that your boot is dry and clean when applying the conditioner. This is vital because it will ensure that your boot has that shiny surface you will need a leather boot.

Leather boots waterproofing

High-quality leather boots are water-resistant. It is, therefore, good to have consistent conditioning of the leather boots to ensure you haven’t exposed them to wet or other elements that might affect their waterproofing nature.

You can take extra measures to waterproof your boots by using a wax-based polish after you conditioning or apply a waterproof spray on the leather to make it durable. The question you may ask, can my leather boot get wet despite using the protective substances?

Yes, it can be wet, but first, you need to make sure that the leather boot is not exposed to heat or fire. This is because high heat can make the leather crack quickly and become vulnerable to water. This makes them not to be water-resistant.

Taking care of leather boots

Cleaning your leather boot boosts the durability of your boot. However, if you want your boot to have an excellent long-lasting period, high care level must be applied. To keep your leather boot high, here are some of the tips you need to watch out

  • Store your leather boots in a dry area. This does not mean that you need to expose them to high temperatures or excess dampness, no. Try to place your boot in a good place from the central area and high heat.
  • Always remember to apply leather conditioner. To ensure you have prevented your boot from cracking, you need to keep them in an area with a proper moisture level for the material. With the help of a specialized leather conditioner, you can achieve this.
  • Cover your leather boots with water-resistant wax. Most leather boots are designed in a way that you can coat the boots to be able to repel against water and moisture. The material isn’t that durable, but it will be vital to get the boots soaked.


How often should I condition my leather boots?

Leather boots require constant application of leather condition. Applying the condition every month will be good as it will help maintain the boots’ natural oil to make them supple and soft. For those boots that do not experience activewear, you can do the condition after 3 or 6 months.

Is Vaseline suitable for leather boots?

Yes, petroleum Jelly is suitable for leather boots as it makes them soft and prevents them from cracking. The jelly will perfectly work on patent leather shoes and leather items but not well with those boots with rawhide leather.

How can I moisturize leather boots?

Moisturizing leather boots is easy; rub the conditioner in each of the boots with a soft cloth or sponge. Apply the conditioner on all the surfaces, and if it looks dry, rub more conditioner on the leather. The condition will soak to the leather as you will be applying and rubbing.

Final thought

Understanding how to clean your leather boots at home is vital. The process is not only easy but also crucial in boosting your leather boot durability. With so many items used to clean, you might get stuck if you aren’t used to the process. However, with this article, I am sure we have brought food to the table.

Caring for your leather boot with cleaning makes it stylish and last for years. Before you start your boot cleaning, it is good to ensure that you have all the items required for cleaning. An excellent cleaning will make the boot look great, eliminate odor smell and improve the overall performance of the boot. 

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