Guides and Tips

How to Correctly Clean and Maintain Leather Boots

May 6, 2023
How to Correctly Clean and Maintain Leather Boots

To keep them classy and comfortable, leather boots have to be cleaned and maintained properly. 

They can’t just be cleaned in any way with a rag and shoe polish. There’s a specific way to do that to protect them from dullness, cracking, or damage.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the steps for cleaning and restoring your precious leather boots to their former state and which cleaners to use for certain types of leather stains.

What will I need to clean my leather boots?

Here are the things you’ll need to clean your leather boots:

  • A microfiber cloth
  • A brush
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Leather conditioner

How to Clean Leather Boots

How to Clean Leather Boots

1) Remove the laces

First, remove the laces from the leather boots so they won’t get in the way while you clean.

You can put them in the washer for a gentle wash cycle. But if the laces are severely dirty and worn, consider replacing them with new ones.

2) Get rid of dirt and debris

Using a microfiber cloth or brush, remove the loose dirt and debris on the leather boots. Going straight to rubbing the boots can make the dirt spread and small debris scratch the leather.

3) Wipe the boots with dish soap solution

Wipe the boots with dish soap solution
Image Source: Wikihow

Next, create a solution of warm water and dish soap in a pail or small plastic container.

Dip a microfiber cloth in it, wring out the excess water, and wipe the boots with the cloth to remove as much dirt as possible. This is a lot more effective than merely using water to clean the leather boots.

4) Rinse and wipe the leather boots

Afterward, use a different clean and damp towel to remove the footwear’s soapy residues.

5) Apply conditioner to the leather boots

This step is particularly important. The leather conditioner works in three ways: it restores the leather to its former condition, protects it from new stains, and makes it shiny.

You can buy a leather conditioner from shoe stores or supermarkets or even online. We recommend getting the Aero Cosmetics Leather Cleaning Kit, as it has everything (including soap, mini-towels, and a scrubber).

Another one we recommend is the Lexol All-Leather Spray Conditioner since it is effective and gentle to use on leather.

6) Let the leather boots dry

Let the leather boots dry

Then, place the boots in a cool place to dry naturally.

Bear in mind not to keep them in a warm spot or somewhere with bright sunlight. Don’t also dry them with a hair blower or in a drying machine.

Otherwise, the leather boots’ can develop cracks and their color will fade.

How do I tackle certain stains on my leather boots?

How do I tackle certain stains on my leather boots

Below are some common stains for leather boots and how to get rid of them:

1) Oil-Based Stains

Oil-based stains go deep and leave a greasy residue on leather boots. This can come in two forms: petroleum and vegetable oil stains.

Petroleum stains are caused by products like motor oil, grease, makeup, deodorant, and moisturizers.

On the other hand, vegetable oil stains come from products like cooking oil, salad dressing, margarine, butter, and mayonnaise.

How do I remove oil-based stains?

To remove oil-based stains, you’ll need either baking soda or cornstarch. 

Simply sprinkle these cleaning agents onto the stain, rub, and wipe them with a damp cloth.

Let the cleaner sit for a few hours or overnight to absorb the oil that has seeped into the leather. After that, wipe it with a clean and damp cloth.

2) Ink Stains

Ink Stains

For ink stains, you will need rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Put a small amount on a dry cloth and dab on the ink stain.

Be careful not to rub the ink stain because this will cause it to spread, making it harder to remove.

Keep blotting the stain until the ink residue disappears completely. Afterward, dry the leather boots with a clean towel.

3) Water Stains

Water stains can be removed by brushing a mixture of dish soap and warm water on them. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, wipe it with a damp cloth, and let the leather dry.

A Natural Stain Remover for Light-Colored Leather Boots

This particular cleaner is suitable for light-colored leather boots only: mix equal parts of lemon juice and tartar to form a special paste.

Rub this paste on the stain until it fades away. Leave it for at least half an hour. 

Following this, wipe the leather boots with a damp cloth to clean them.

How do I remove scuff marks on my leather boots?

How do I remove scuff marks on my leather boots

Scuff marks on leather boots can be easily removed with ordinary white toothpaste. You can take a dab of it on your finger and scrub the stain away with a clean cloth.

FAQs about Cleaning Leather Boots

FAQs about Cleaning Leather Boots

More Guides on Stain Removal

Besides removing leather boots stains, you might also be interested in knowing how to remove stains from other fabrics and materials:

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