What to Clean Leather Boots With in 2023: The Ultimate Guide

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what to clean leather boots with

How to Clean Leather Boots Without Damaging Them

Leather boots are a durable and stylish footwear option, but they require regular cleaning to maintain their quality and appearance. However, it’s important to clean leather boots properly to avoid damaging them. Here are some tips on how to clean leather boots without causing any harm:

1. Remove dirt and debris

Before cleaning your leather boots, it’s essential to remove any dirt or debris on the surface. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently brush off any loose dirt, dust, or mud. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh brushes that can scratch the leather.

2. Test a small area

Prior to applying any cleaning product on your leather boots, it’s crucial to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. This will help you determine if the product is safe for your boots and won’t cause discoloration or damage.


  • Choose a hidden spot like the inside of the boot shaft or near the sole.
  • Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution and gently rub it in with a cloth.
  • If there are no adverse effects after 24 hours, you can proceed with cleaning the entire boot.

3. Use a mild soap or cleaner

Selecting the right cleaner is crucial for safely cleaning leather boots. Look for mild soaps specifically designed for leather or use a dedicated leather cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid using harsh chemicals or household cleaners as they can strip away natural oils and damage the leather.


  • Dilute the soap or cleaner according to the instructions on the product.
  • Apply a small amount of the solution onto a damp cloth or sponge.
  • Gently scrub the leather in circular motions, paying attention to any stained or dirty areas.

4. Remove stains carefully

If your leather boots have stubborn stains, it’s important to address them properly without causing further damage. Here are some techniques for removing specific types of stains:

a) Oil or grease stains:

To remove oil or grease stains from leather boots, sprinkle some cornstarch or talcum powder on the affected area. Let it sit for a few hours to absorb the oil, then gently brush off the powder with a soft brush. Repeat if necessary.

b) Water stains:

If your leather boots have water stains, dampen a clean cloth and gently rub the stained area in circular motions. Allow the boots to air dry naturally and avoid using heat sources like hairdryers as they can cause cracking or shrinking of the leather.

c) Ink stains:

Ink stains can be challenging to remove from leather. If you encounter an ink stain on your boots, try using rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover (non-acetone) on a cotton ball. Gently dab the stain until it lifts off, being careful not to rub too vigorously as it may spread the ink further.

By following these tips and techniques, you can effectively clean your leather boots without damaging them and keep them looking their best for years to come.

The Best Products for Cleaning Leather Boots

When it comes to cleaning leather boots, using the right products is crucial to ensure that you don’t damage the material. There are several top-rated products on the market specifically designed for cleaning leather boots. One highly recommended option is a leather cleaner and conditioner combo, such as Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Kit. This kit not only cleans the dirt and grime off your boots but also conditions and protects the leather, keeping it soft and supple.

Another popular choice among boot enthusiasts is Saddle Soap. Saddle Soap has been used for generations to clean and preserve leather goods, including boots. It effectively removes dirt, stains, and even water spots without drying out the leather. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully when using Saddle Soap to avoid over-saturating the leather.

Recommended Brands and Types of Cleaner for Leather Boots

When choosing a cleaner for your leather boots, it’s important to consider both the brand reputation and the type of cleaner that suits your needs. One highly recommended brand is Bickmore, known for its high-quality leather care products. Their Bick 4 Leather Conditioner is a popular choice among boot owners as it not only cleans but also conditions and polishes the leather.

In terms of types of cleaners, there are various options available depending on your preferences. Some people prefer foam cleaners as they are easy to apply and don’t require rinsing. Others opt for liquid cleaners that penetrate deep into the pores of the leather for a thorough clean. Ultimately, it’s best to choose a cleaner that matches your specific needs and preferences.

Natural and Homemade Remedies for Cleaning Leather Boots

If you prefer natural or homemade remedies for cleaning your leather boots, there are several options you can try. One popular natural remedy is a mixture of vinegar and water. Simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then lightly mist the solution onto a cloth and gently wipe down your boots. Vinegar helps remove dirt and stains while also conditioning the leather.

Another homemade option is using a mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Create a paste by combining equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar, then apply it to any stains or scuffs on your boots. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth. This combination works well for removing stubborn stains without damaging the leather.

Brush or Cloth: Which is Better for Cleaning Leather Boots?

When it comes to cleaning leather boots, both brushes and cloths have their advantages. A soft-bristled brush is ideal for removing loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface of your boots. It’s gentle enough not to scratch or damage the leather but effective in getting rid of surface-level grime.

On the other hand, using a cloth allows you to apply cleaners or conditioners more evenly onto your boots. It also gives you better control over the pressure applied during cleaning. A microfiber cloth is an excellent choice as it’s soft, lint-free, and won’t leave behind any residue on your boots.

The Importance of Conditioning Leather Boots After Cleaning

After cleaning your leather boots, conditioning them is essential to maintain their quality and extend their lifespan. Conditioning helps replenish the natural oils that may have been stripped away during the cleaning process, preventing the leather from drying out or cracking.

A high-quality leather conditioner like Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Conditioner No. 1 is highly recommended for this purpose. Apply a small amount onto a clean cloth and gently massage it into the leather, focusing on areas that tend to dry out quickly, such as the toe and heel. Allow the conditioner to absorb for a few minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.

How Often Should You Clean Your Leather Boots?

The frequency of cleaning your leather boots depends on several factors, including how often you wear them and the conditions they are exposed to. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to clean your boots at least once every few months or whenever they appear dirty or stained.

If you frequently wear your boots in harsh weather conditions or expose them to excessive dirt or mud, more frequent cleaning may be necessary. Regularly inspecting your boots for any signs of dirt buildup or stains will help you determine when it’s time for a thorough cleaning.

Techniques and Steps for Properly Cleaning Leather Boots

Cleaning leather boots requires a systematic approach to ensure effective results without causing damage. Here are some steps and techniques to follow:

Step 1: Remove Loose Dirt

Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently brush off any loose dirt or debris from the surface of your boots. This step helps prevent scratching during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Apply Cleaner

Apply a small amount of your chosen leather cleaner onto a clean cloth or sponge. Gently rub the cleaner onto the surface of your boots in circular motions, focusing on any stained areas.

Step 3: Wipe Off Excess Cleaner

Using a clean cloth dampened with water, wipe off any excess cleaner from your boots. Make sure to remove all traces of cleaner to avoid residue buildup.

Step 4: Allow to Dry

Allow your boots to air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources. Avoid using a hairdryer or placing them near a heater, as excessive heat can damage the leather.

Step 5: Condition the Leather

Once your boots are completely dry, apply a small amount of leather conditioner onto a clean cloth. Massage it into the leather in circular motions, focusing on areas that tend to dry out quickly.

Tips for Removing Stubborn Stains from Leather Boots

Stubborn stains on leather boots can be frustrating to deal with, but with the right techniques, they can often be removed. Here are some tips:

  • For oil-based stains, such as grease or food spills, sprinkle some cornstarch or talcum powder onto the stain and let it sit overnight. The powder will absorb the oil, making it easier to brush off the next day.
  • If you have ink stains on your boots, try using rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Apply a small amount onto a cotton ball and gently dab at the stain until it lifts.
  • To remove water stains, dampen a cloth with distilled water and gently rub the stained area in circular motions. Allow the leather to air dry naturally and then condition it afterward.

Precautions to Take When Cleaning Leather Boots

Cleaning leather boots requires some precautions to avoid damaging the material. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents on your boots as they can strip away natural oils and cause discoloration.
  • Always test any cleaner or conditioner on a small inconspicuous area of your boots before applying it to the entire surface.
  • When using a brush, make sure it has soft bristles to prevent scratching the leather. Avoid using abrasive brushes or scrubbing too vigorously.
  • Do not soak your boots in water or submerge them completely, as excessive moisture can damage the leather and cause it to warp or shrink.

In conclusion, it is important to clean leather boots with gentle and specialized products, such as a mild soap or leather cleaner, to maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan.

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