How Should You Clean Leather Work Boots?

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When you are on the job all day, you are likely to have boots that are susceptible to grime, dirt, oil, and more. That said, cleaning your work boots is a breeze, especially when you have the right resources.

While there is no specific method for cleaning leather boots, there are many recommended techniques you should consider. By using these proven and time-tested techniques, you will not only improve the hygiene and appeal of your shoes but their longevity as well.

You must note that leather is unlike the materials you will find on products such as running shoes. Leather is much more delicate and requires a dextrous cleaning process. Using this approach will not only maintain the appeal of the shoe but also increase its longevity.

Prepping and Cleaning Your Boots

You may have to prep new leather boots before you wear them. Even if the boots don’t require a “break-in” period, ensure you put them on for a few minutes before using them to work. If the boots are not waterproof, then use a waterproof product, on the boots. Once the boots are ready, you can put them on at work.

After each shift, use a nylon brush to clean stains. Then use, a damp cloth to wipe the exterior of the shoe clean. Never use a blow dryer on the boots. Let the boot dry because any excessive heat can dry out the leather and lead to cracking.

If the boots are soiled, use some saddle soap, or a damp cloth to clean the boots. After a few weeks, remove the insoles and wash them with some mild shampoo. Ensure that you clean the interior of your boots thoroughly for the best results.

Remove Stains from Your Boots

There are many professional-grade stain removers that you can use to clean your work boots. Based on the severity of the stain, you should use the materials available to complete the process. The common stains include:

  • Water spots – you may have to re-moisten the spot with some warm water, and then let it dry. Leather cleans well when you use water.
  • Unidentified stains – mix some lemon juice and cream of tartar into a paste. Then mix the paste, and apply it to the affected area, and wipe it clean. If the stain fails to clear after using this mixture, later try dipping a cotton ball with alcohol to the affected area.
  • Road salt stains – these can be particularly difficult to remove, so try removing them by using a soft cloth dipped in white vinegar.

Tend to Your Boots While You Sleep

Yes! It’s possible to tend to your boots even while you sleep. To be specific, boot storage is also a crucial aspect of keeping your shoes clean. You have to keep the boots in a cool and dry place for the best results.

Most savvy boot owners use cedar trees, which helps to keep the shoes fresh. Cedar is best because it can absorb moisture, smells, acids, and salt – which are all common issues that can damage your leather shoes. Furthermore, the material also smoothens out the lining and insoles of the boot, without affecting the shoe aesthetic.

You can even use some baking soda, which you sprinkle inside the boots to neutralize odors if you don’t have access to cedar trees.

Steps in How to Clean Dirty Leather Boots

Leather boots are not only stylish but can be the most durable boots in your closet. The only challenge is that they can get dirty and smelly fast, mainly if you use them regularly. Thus, we shall be looking at some of the best ways to clean and polish leather shoes.

The best part about such shoes is that you can re-purpose them for yard applications, or perhaps where leather boot would be beneficial. Remember that you have to practice caution when you want to dry your leather boots.

Here are a few steps to help you clean dirt and grime for your shoe. While it’s possible to use a dish shop, you can also use a saddle soap, which is ideal for leather products.

  1. Remove the laces – remove the laces from the boot. You can wash them separately, or perhaps get them replaced with an extra pair you have available.
  2. Clean dirt and debris – use a soft brush or cloth, and gently use it to buff the shoe. Avoid using a firm brush, because it may compromise the quality of the leather.
  3. Clean using some soap – prepare a mixture, which is part water and part soap. Then, dip the soft cloth in the solution and use some saddle soap to clean the shoe material. Baking soap is also beneficial, especially when you don’t have any dish soap to use. Clean the entire shoe using this solution, and then clean it with a wet cloth. Once you clean off all the soap, dry the boots using a clean cloth.
  4. Use leather conditioner – using conditioner will make your boots shine, and ensure the leather stays hydrated. Usually, leather is made using animal skin, which makes it essential to ensure it never dries out excessively. Apply the conditioner, and let it sit on your shoe for a few minutes. Then, buff the boots by using a soft cloth, and continue until the shoe shines.
  5. Dry – allow the boot to dry in the open air, preferably overnight, when the air tends to be cool and dry.

How to Remove Grease or Oil Spots

Oil and grease spots can have significant side effects on the leather quality of your work boots. Not only are they unappealing, but when left unchecked, it can lead to stubborn stains. If you have boots that have oil or grease on them, you can use some baking soda and mix it with some water to clean. Then apply the paste on the affected area using a clean cloth. Let the mixture sit for a few hours before cleaning it off.

How to Clean Smelly Leather Boots

Once you remove the dirt from your boots, you have to clean the interior and remove any unwanted odors. Also, remember that you have to determine the type of material on the interior of your boots. If the lining is made using leather, then follow the steps above to clean the shoe. More so, if the shoe is made using some other fabric type, then you have more options with which you can clean the shoe.

  1. Put soap on a cloth and run it on your foot. Use a damp cloth, and apply a few drops of saddle soap on it, then apply it on the interior section of the boot. Apply the soap until it gets foamy.
  2. Rub the boot using another damp cloth. Use another wet cloth, and wipe down the interior of the boot, while also ensuring that you remove every instance of soap.
  3. Dry – let the boot dry and allow them to air out in a location away from the oven or heater.
  4. Wipe down using water or vinegar- prepare a mixture of water and vinegar, then use it clean the interior section of the boot.
  5. Use baking soda – baking soda helps stop any odors from accumulating in the shoe. Then, use a knotted sock and some back soda in your boot as the rest at night. Using this process will make it easy to absorb odors that arise when cleaning the shoes. Also, consider using some baking soda in the boot as well, to make cleaning convenient.

How to Polish Leather Boots

Once you ensure all your boots are clean and have no smell, apply some shoe polish. The polishing process is the most delicate, mainly because it is usually a final step. Remove the laces from the shoe, and ensure they are clean as well.

  1. Use a cloth and shoe polish. Place the cloth around your finger, and dab it with some shoe polish for the best results.
  2. Apply the polish onto the boot. Use the fabric and gently apply the polish around various sections of the boot. You can even use a toothbrush, which works well when you want to access the nooks and crannies of the shoe.
  3. Spread the polish – use a cloth to the rub the polish in, such that it can penetrate the deepest section of the shoe material. Also, ensure that you apply the shoe polish evenly, to avoid any dirt spots.
  4. Buff- then, use a brush or another rag to buff the surface of the boot thoroughly. Allow the polish to dry, and the look at your boots again.


Leather boots are a great buy, especially when you have the correct information, and you can choose one that fits. To ensure your shoes last their time, you have to learn about how to clean your leather work boots. There are many useful techniques, which you can consider, including those for removing odors, polishing, and condition.

You look sophisticated and stylish when you have a pair of high-quality leather shoes on your feet. Leather shoe care is simple, provided that you have the correct shore care techniques for your needs.

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