How to Clean Leather Boots – What to Know?

Regardless of the leather type, leather boots emerge as a significant purchase thanks to their durability. But, the footwear’s ability to endure and appear great for long would make such expenditure worth it.

Proper cleaning should work the magic on your favorite leather boots. Thus, it is crucial to know how to clean leather boots and preserve their elegant look. Cleaning leather boots can be inexpensive and less time-consuming, unlike what some people think.

You only need the right cleaning materials and put appropriate skills to use. Read through this piece to get helpful tips for cleaning leather boots.

Steps Involved in Cleaning Leather Boots

Deep cleaning leather boots is one way to keep them alluring and long-lasting, as dirt accumulation can cause cracks on the leather material with time, leaving the footwear worn out.

Thus, knowing how to clean leather cowboy boots and other leather boot types you have is an enormous step in making them durable, long-lasting, and attractive. So, create an effective cleaning routine, depending on how much you put these boots to use.

From getting rid of fusty or musty odors to removing stains, leather boot cleaning requires great care. Not to worry, below are helpful steps to clean leather boots at home with no hassles.

how to clean soft leather boots

Take Off Laces and Open Zippers

Before the cleaning, kindly remove all boot laces and open their zippers; get the laces rolled up and set them aside. If need be, wash the laces separately to make them look unsoiled. Opening the shoe’s zippers and removing the laces would expedite the cleaning process, making sure you clean all crevices of the footwear.

Dust off Dirt

Use a soft brush, gently dust dirt from the footwear, and take care not to scratch the leather. Brush the tongue area behind where the laces sit and dust off the leather strips at the back of the shoe’s zippers.

Such action should get dust, dirt, and even slight stains from the leather boot. Ensure you pay closer attention to tan boots, as the dirt may not appear pretty visible.

Apply Suitable Leather Cleaner

Open your leather boot cleaning kit and get out your leather cleaner. Apply some cleaners on a microfiber cloth or soft-bristled brush and rub them onto the leather boots. Be sure you lift all flaps and tongues of your boot and clean them thoroughly.

Further, wipe down leather strips behind the zipper for such boots using a cloth damp with the leather cleaner. Alternatively, you can learn how to clean leather boots with household items like dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda.

Note: some cleaning agents may appear unsuitable for cleaning leather shoes. Thus, it would be best to conduct a spot test first on an insignificant area of the leather boot before applying the product through the footwear.

Dry the Boot

Get a dry cloth and wipe the leather surface to remove the lather and possible dirt on the boot’s surface. If needed, air-dry the footwear; avoid heat drying leather boots or drying them under the sun, as this can damage the leather material to a great extent.

Condition the Leather Boot

Rub some leather conditioner on the leather boot using a soft cloth, doing so in small circular motions and ensuring you apply it evenly. By now, you should know those leather conditioners are handy in preventing cracks on the surface of leather items and keeping them supple.

However, you must only condition leather (except for suede) items that are clean. Whether liquid, gels, or wax, you can find various leather conditioners from leather stores and choose suitable options for your boots.

Polish Boots with a Smooth Finishing

Applying some polish to the leather boot would make its smooth finishing shine better, giving a “mirror-like” appearance. Use a soft rag, rub the polish in circular motions, and ensure you get the right polish color that matches your footwear.

Tips: It would help if you learned how to clean leather boots with suede surfaces to protect their soft, sanded texture. Kindly employ a unique brush for cleaning suede shoes and make them water-resistant by applying some silicone-based spray.

Ridding Stains off Leather Boots

The nature of leather materials can make getting stains out twice as challenging as some other materials. It may seem pretty difficult getting off water, dirt, ink, oil, and grease stains out with minor cleaning.

Are you seeking ways to get rid of stubborn stains from your treasured leather boot? Here are some helpful tips.

  • Knowing how to clean leather boots with baking soda or cornstarch can help with grease stains. Apply some baking soda or cornstarch or baking soda on the stained point and leave overnight to absorb the oil—wipe off with a dry cloth.
  • Squirt some non-gel toothpaste on leather boot surfaces with scuffs and rub with a soft cotton rag.
  • Remove salt stains or any other blemishes from light-colored leather boots using a mixture of cream of tartar and lemon juice; rub on the stains and leave in for 30 minutes before wiping with a warm damp cloth.
  • Kindly employ some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover (non-acetone) to eliminate ink or pen blemishes on leather. Apply this solution using a soft cloth or cotton ball.
  • Stain and scuff removal for suede and nubuck requires a rubber eraser or cornstarch. Apply some eraser pencils to remove smudges and get greasy residues off with cornstarch.

how to clean suede leather boots


What are some household items used for cleaning leather boots?

Household materials like hair conditioners, mild dishwashing soap, saddle soap, toothpaste (non-gel), and baking soda are great for cleaning leather shoes, including boots. Apply these solutions onto the leather surface using a soft cloth and wipe appropriately.

These items often work effectively in removing dirt, soil, scuff marks, grease, and other stains from the surface of your footwear. Thus, you can employ them for cleaning your leather boot in place of a suitable leather cleaner.

How do you clean boots to make them look new?

First, unzip your boots or remove the laces to get proper access to all crevices of the footwear. Then, wipe off using a soft brush or cloth to shake off the dirt and excess soil. You can now apply your leather cleaner using a soft cloth and rub in small circles, ensuring you clean the boot’s entire surface.

Wipe off the excess lather with a dry, thin cotton cloth and move on to condition the leather shoe to preserve it further. Employ suitable shoe polish for your smooth-finished boots to make them look shinier.

Will baking soda clean leather boots?

For stubborn stains and scuff marks on leather boots, it would help to use baking soda and water paste to get rid of them. Kindly form the paste by mixing two tablespoons of baking soda and a little warm water.

Then, rub the mixture onto the boot using a soft cloth and wipe it off with another damp and warm cloth. Let the leather footwear dry away from excessive heat, and condition the boot afterward using a good leather conditioner.

Is vinegar bad for leather boots?

Vinegar can have some drying effects on leather, causing this natural material to lose the moisture needed for its flexibility. Although a powerful cleaning agent, it is advisable for folks to seek other cleaning agents as alternatives for wiping leather boots.

Nevertheless, you can employ a mixture of cool water and white vinegar (distilled) to wipe stubborn stains off faux leather shoes—but ensure you conduct a spot test first to prevent damaging your leather boot.

Can you put Vaseline on leather boots?

Vaseline is a handy product for leather boots care, as they keep your footwear in good condition.

Applying some amount of Vaseline on your boot would help soften it, retain moisture, remove scuff marks, prevent scratches and cracks, and make the shoe waterproof (temporarily). Gently rub some Vaseline onto your leather boot using a soft cloth.

What cleaner is safe for leather?

You can find various leather cleaners in the market, and some top options include the Tyger Tonneau Cleaner and Protectant and the Lexol Leather Cleaning Kit. Nevertheless, there are some great homemade cleaning solutions for DIYers. You can use mild dish soap or saddle soap to clean your leather items.

What is a good homemade leather cleaner?

You can make your leather cleaning solution at home, and any of the following would suffice.

  • Mild dish soap
  • Saddle soap
  • A mixture of oil and two parts of vinegar can serve as a cleaning solution for white leather items. Kindly mix them and store them in a spray bottle.
  • Another option is a mixture of warm coconut oil (1 cup) and castile soap (1 teaspoon)

What do professionals clean leather with?

Leathercraft professionals often use top-notch leather cleaners and suitable leather conditioners to give off an attractive look. You can find leather boot cleaners and conditioners from various leathercraft and shoe stores out there.

Some leather repair shops also have experts using saddle soaps or leather dew to clean leather pieces effectively.

How To Clean & Condition Leather Boots YouTube

Wrap Up

Leather is one substantial material that is handy for constructing varying leather crafts, including leather boots. Leather boots are exquisite items and can last long with proper care and cleaning – Hence, the need to know how to clean leather boots.

Except for the toughest stains, you don’t need to take your leather boot to the repair store, as you can get it cleaned at home, and this article holds tips on how to do so. Also, this article well elaborates on how to clean leather boots with a hair conditioner and other homemade solutions for DIYers.

Evina Naomi

Ewofere, Evina Naomi is a biotechnologist and passionate content writer. As a great lover of leather and various leather crafts, she broadly addresses leather-related issues. She is a writer of many excellent articles on leather. With great knowledge and enthusiasm, readers can access researched pieces on various leather types and the best techniques that work on them. Naomi is here to lead you through the journey of choosing excellent leather products and ensure you handle them rightly. So you can embark on your leather sewing and crafting journey with her and have an incredible experience.

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