Leather boots happen to be the most stylish and durable footwear to ever exist. Everyone loves leather boots. Be it during summer or in the cold harsh winter, you can rock your favorite leather boots and conquer the outdoors.
However, leather, similar to all other materials used to make shoes, is prone to get dirty. If you want your leather boots to keep on looking new and serving you for long, you need to know how to clean them. By cleaning, we aren’t talking about the occasional wiping that you do to get the dust off. But thorough cleaning removes dirt, grime, stains, and contaminants that your boots may have picked up outside.
Properly cleaning leather boots is a simple process that can be performed quite fast, especially if you get used to it. Most leather boots are expensive. Therefore, you should be very enthusiastic about cleaning them. As this prolongs the life of your ‘investment’.
A Step by Step Guide on How to Clean Leather Boots
1. Start by Removing the Laces
A lot of us are always reluctant towards removing laces when cleaning shoes. However, laces happen to be an integral part of your leather boots. Not only do they need to be cleaned as well. But, if you clean the boots and ignore the laces, your shoes will look odd.
Depending on how dirty your laces are, you can either wash them in the washing money. Or, if they are extremely dirty, you should replace them. Also, if your laces are worn out, that is a clear sign that they ought to be replaced.
2. Wipe Surface Dirt with a Cloth or Brush
The next step involves preparing your boot for cleaning. You will need a piece of cloth or a brush. Give your boots a thorough wipe down. This step is very important as it removes huge chunks of dirt or mud that may have stuck on your leather boots. Don’t worry about stains or debris that is hard to remove. We will deal with that later on. This step should take a minute or two.
3. Lather Your Boots
It’s time to get your hands dirty. If you are a leather boot lover, it is recommendable that you invest in a quality leather cleaner. There are so many options out there that cater to every budget and cleaning needs. So, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to find some.
Using your leather cleaner of choice, lather the boots. You can use a dry cloth to do this. The goal isn’t to soak the shoe but to clean it. Don’t be too generous with the water. For those who don’t have leather cleaners, you can always use dish soap and warm water. This is the next best alternative, as it is very gentle on leather.
4. Clean the Lather with a Damp Wet Cloth
Because the cloth you used to lather the boots will be dirty, get a fresh one and damp it in clean water. Gently remove the lather till your boot is clean. Feel free to repeat the above process on areas that are extremely dirty or stained. After repeating this process severally, you will have restored the original look of your leather boots. Check how your boots look like before moving on to the next step.
5. Condition Your Leather Boots
Having confirmed that your boots are as clean as new, the next step is to condition them. But, one may ask; what is the purpose of conditioning leather boots? With time and exposure to the weather elements, your boot dries out. A conditioner reintroduces natural oils to leather thus making it look hydrated and new.
Similar to a leather cleaner, if you own leather boots then you must have a conditioner. A conditioner will ensure your leather is always looking fresh even after years of use. For those who don’t have conditioners, you can make some by mixing linseed oil with vinegar. Apply and let it dry for 20 minutes before buffing it with a cloth.
6. Let Your Boots Dry
The last step is to let your boots dry. Though this process is often overlooked, many people make a lot of mistakes when drying leather boots. The first mistake is placing your boots directly in the sun. There are many dangers of doing this. Your leather can either fade or harden because of the heat till it cracks. Avoid placing your leather boots near a furnace vent as this will result in the same consequences as above. Putting on wet shoes is even worse because you will have to undo everything you did earlier.
How Do I Clean Stubborn Stains on My Leather Boots?
Even though the above process will thoroughly clean your boots, occasionally you may come across stains that are a bit too stubborn to remove. Here are some of the ways you can clean different types of stains on your leather boots;
- Oil or Grease
This is the most common type of stain found on leather boots. It however is not the easiest to remove. Ordinary soap and water may not get rid of oil stains on your leather boots. But baking soda can. Sprinkle some on the stain and rub it with a damp cloth. Leave it there all night and wipe it off the next morning.
Scuffs can also prove to be stubborn but toothpaste does an excellent job at removing scuff marks. Rub it when it is in the form of a paste and clean it after.
It’s the hardest stain to remove on leather and that’s why you have to use a strong ingredient to remove it. Rubbing alcohol can easily soak ink stains. Blot some on the stain and wipe it off with a damp cloth. Never let alcohol stay on leather for too long as it may cause damage. It is advisable to condition leather after applying rubbing alcohol to it.
Polishing and waterproofing Your Leather Boots
Though not a mandatory part of cleaning your leather boots, polishing and waterproofing them makes your shoes look more elegant and protects them from water damage. Polishing boots is easy. All you need is some wax-based or shoe cream polish, a brush, and a clean rag. Apply, let it dry and buff it off to get that stunning shine.
If you love spending time outdoors, you will need to waterproof your boots. This prevents your shoes from getting wet as well as your feet from getting cold.
Now that your leather boots look as clean as new, you can confidently walk outside knowing that your shoes look amazing. Embrace the habit of cleaning your leather boots regularly and they will reward you with years of service.