14 Tips on How To Clean Leather Boots in 2021

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The most popular concern among boot wearers is “how to clean leather hunting boot?”. After a while of use, leather boots become old and vulnerable to scratches and oil stains. That’s the reason why your boots need an effective cleaning inside out and good care afterward. While there are many different techniques, we would go into detail about the most effective and common one, suitable for work boots, leather shoes, combat boots, brown leather, and things to notice.

How To Clean Leather Boots?

This way, you can opt for the most suitable solution for your leather boots to get the best result. Here’s the most important part of this article:

Step 1: Remove the laces


The first thing to do is to remove the laces from your boots. This makes it easier for you to cleaning and condition the nooks as well as crevices of the shoes.

Then wash the laces to rinse off dirt and grime. Once they are cleaning, set them aside to avoid getting lost or tangled. If your shoes come with zippers, you should open the zippers and cleaning the leather behind them too.

Step 2: Cleaning loose dirt and debris


To prevent the leather from getting scratched, gently cleaning the boot’s feather surface with a soft-bristled brush or a soft cloth. This helps to remove debris, dirt, and oil stains from the shoes.

Step 3: Apply soap


Most leather cleaners have soap forms such as saddle soap. To cleaning with this cleaner, use a damp cloth and rub it over the soap. Then rub the sides of the cloth together to create a light lather.

One thing you need to remember is lifting the tongues or flaps to approach the little crevices, ensuring all the remaining grime is removed.

Pay extra stress on areas that need more scrubbing. Keep in mind that you just have to do this for stubborn stains only. Also, wearing plastic gloves is essential if your skin is sensitive. This way, you can prevent the lather from affecting your hands.

Step 4: Wipe off the soap


After rubbing your boots with soap, use another clean, damp cloth or soft-bristled brush to wipe off the soap. Move across the leather surface of your shoes in circular motions.

Step 5: Condition boot or shoe


Conditioning leather is an important step that keeps your boots from being dried out and adding shine. You can either get a leather conditioner or DIY by creating a mixture of white vinegar and linseed oil with a portion of 1:2 respectively.

As soon as you’ve finished cleaning your shoes, put some liquid leather conditioner on a dry cloth. Then rub the leather conditioner onto the leather surface until it’s shiny. The process may take around 15 minutes.

In addition, this step is not suitable for suede shoes. This is because they can’t handle normal leather cleaners, including leather conditioners. You can resolve this problem by using a protector spray instead, which is designed for suede footwear.

Step 6: Dry


Leave your boots in the open air to get dried. Don’t put them in direct sun or near the heater as this will result in fading or cracking leather.

Cleaning Tips:  Clean leather boots with household items?

Grease or Oil Stain: Use Baking Soda

Baking soda

Baking soda is famous for its cleaning functions, which are applied to household items, clothes, and even the human body. And leather boots are not an exception, especially for stains in the form of grease or oil. To do this, you just have to sprinkle it onto stained and dirty areas of your shoes. After that, dip a cloth into the water to get wet. Use it to rub the surface where you sprinkled the soda in circular motions.

Remember that you shouldn’t rub too hard as it can damage the leather material. The final thing to do is leave it to sit overnight. In this way, the soda can have enough time to absorb grease, or stain, therefore bringing the boots a thorough cleaning experience.

To do this, first, you should sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda onto the stain. Then rub it gently with a damp, cleaning cloth, and leave it for a few hours. Soda, as well as starch, are useful for absorbing the oil. Finally, using a dry, soft cloth to wipe off the powder.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the following:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
  • ½ tablespoon warm water (double to 1 tablespoon if you do not have peroxide)

Stir until a paste is formed.

Now follow these steps:

  1. Using a scrub brush or an old toothbrush, dip into the baking soda paste and apply to the boots, directly onto the stains.
  2. Scrub in a circular motion, working the paste into the leather.
  3. Let the baking soda solution dry on the boots for at least 40 minutes.
  4. Once dried, clap off any excess and rinse the boots thoroughly with cleaning water. You can use a wet rag or cleaning sponge.
  5. Repeat if needed until the stains are gone.

More stubborn stains, such as coffee or paint may require multiple applications.

Ink Stain: Use Nail Polish Remover


To remove ink, you need to dip a swab in the nail polish remover or rub alcohol and blot the spot.

And keep in mind this:

Rubbing is not allowed as it causes the ink to spread. Be patient and blot gently till the stain is faded and gone. Finish by wiping with a damp cloth and drying with a dry-on.

Scuff Marks: Use Toothpaste

Scuff mark

Scuff marks on leather boots come in different types. Fortunately, most of them are easy to clean by using household items and some specialty cleansers.

So, how can we do it?

Grab the toothpaste and squirt a dab on the scuffed spot. Leave it for a few minutes and rub it with a towel. This technique is perfect for stubborn scuff marks due to the high abrasiveness of toothpaste.

You can use less abrasive methods such as a shoe brush, pencil eraser, or magic eraser to protect your boots from damage for an easier scuff.

Other stains: Use lemon juice and tartar


A combination of lemon juice and tartar would be amazing for other types of stain. Put that mixture into a paste and then apply it to the stained spot. Let it sit for half an hour and remove it with a cloth.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of cream of tartar

You could polish them up with a bit of olive oil if you want them to have a shinier finish, a non-commercial polish, pour a small amount circle of olive oil onto a dry, soft cloth, and rub that onto the surface of your leather boots.

Olive oil just like hair conditioners does a great job of protecting the leather.

Other stains: Use Saddle soap


Besides baking soda, saddle soap is also a popular household item considered an effective cleaning agent. This is especially useful when your boots come with a lot of soil.

It can be used after every shift. One important you need to keep in mind is that the accumulated dirt should only be wiped with a nylon brush or a damp cloth. This helps to minimize the effects and damages on the leather surface.

As being said, allowing the boots to dry naturally after cleaning is highly recommended. Additionally, if you plan to cleaning your boots with the aid of the washing machine, consider using a mild shampoo as an alternative. It has the same functions as soap and can be used for washing hands as well.

Other stains: Use Hair conditioner

Hair conditioner

A hair conditioner is another powerful cleaning agent that you can use for your boots. Same as how it benefits your hair, the condition will also do a wonderful job when treating your boots.

This is because it includes great wax properties that provide you with great assistance, giving your boots a quick clean. More important, a hair conditioner is beneficial for retaining the condition of the leather surface for a long time.

Fortunately, using an expensive conditioner is not necessary. Just expensive ones can do your boots wonders. That’s why it’s widely considered a cost-effective method in making your boots shiny and durable.

Other stains: Use Dish soap

Dish soap

Dish soap may sound strange to you, but it’s a possible solution that you can consider to treat your boots. You need to be careful with biogenic because the material is not compatible with water.

Before applying the dish soap, you have to take the laces out to make it easier to clean. Then rub the dish soap directly on the leather surface gently with the aid of a towel or cloth. After that, wash the remaining areas with water to remove residues and prevent them from coming inside the boots.


Can you wash the leather shoes?

Obviously yes. You can cleaning either the outsides or insides of your boots as long as you follow the instructions carefully. Many techniques range from household items to specific soap that you can apply.

Most of them help to remove dirt, bacteria and killing the fungus that causes foot odor. However, if not used in the right way, they may result in some counter effects, including damaging the leather surface and fading its color.

Can you wash the cowboy boot with soap and water?

The combination of soap and water is a recommended solution when it comes to cleaning the insides areas of leather boots. As long as you wash and dry them in the right way, it will not cause any harm.

Also, you need to take into account some important factors to avoid any unexpected issues with your boots. Those factors include detergents, the way you wash your boots, soap, and even water. Wisely taking advantage of these factors following the directions will bring your boots an effective clean, making them shiny and durable.

What is the best leather boot cleaner?

Regarding the household items that play as cleaning agents, baking soda is our all-time favorite.

Not to mention how amazing it is for removing dirt from your shoes, it’s also known for fighting against bacteria between washes. The soda absorbs odor that is the main cause of bacteria.

Besides great features, there are still some setbacks with this method. The most significant one is its effect on the leather color, making it fade over time.

Speaking of commercial boots cleaners, our top pick is ShoeAnew Cleaner Kit. This is because the cleanser can remove the bacteria inside your boots without damaging the leather. Additionally, it can be used for any type of leather, including the hard, soft, split, suede, and top-grain Nubuck. What more can you ask for?

Final Thoughts

Besides going through several ways to cleaning leather boots, this article also provides you some recommended household items as effective cleaning agents for your shoes, making cleaning much easier.

Also, we have a FAQ section with some common questions that you may ask. If you have any further considerations about this topic, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below. We will be in touch soon!

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