Scuffs Be Gone! How to Clean Leather Boots

How to Clean Leather Boots

For hundreds of years, Americans have used leather in clothing. Today, the average American woman owns 19 pairs of shoes and some of them are sure to be made of leather.

Any leather shoe that you have needs to be cared for regularly if you want them to last forever. Leather boots need to be cleaned, conditioned, and polished to protect them from harsh weather and to maintain their look. 

Caring for these shoes can be a little intense, but knowing how to clean leather boots is important if you plan to buy them or wear them in the colder months.

Keep reading to get some tips on how you can keep your leather boots clean so that they will last for seasons to come!

How to Clean Leather Boots

When you step outside of your home, you are automatically exposing your boot to anything that may be on the ground or even in the air. Over time, all of this stuff can really impact the quality and look of your shoe.

Any time you clean your leather boots, you have to remove the dirt and debris sitting on the surface first. 

If you skip this step, all of the things sitting on the outside of the boot could accidentally be buffed into the leather and completely ruin the shoe.

Simply run your hand or a gentle, dry cloth along the outside of the boot to get off any loose debris that may be stuck on it. Even on shorter boots, like the Dubarry of Ireland Waterville Three Eye Chukka, it's still possible to get dirt all over the leather.

After you complete the first step, you can take a horsehair brush to buff the boot's surface and get rid of anything stubborn that you can see. It's a good idea to do this every other week at least once. 

If your boots are in need of some extra cleaning, you can use saddle soap. Take a damp cloth and put it into a pot with saddle soap to lather it up. Test the soap on a small part of the leather to make sure it doesn't stain.

Once you're sure it won't stain the boot, you can run the rag all over the leather and pay close attention to the spots that are stained or need extra attention. 

Allow your boots to dry for at least 10 to 20 minutes and double-check your work before continuing.

Conditioning Your Leather Boots

After cleaning your boots, you want to condition them to make sure that the leather stays moisturized. You don't have to do this after each cleaning, but you should aim to do it around every 2 months to keep your boots in good shape.

Just like with the saddle soap, you need to test the conditioner on a small part of the shoe to make sure that it isn't going to stain or discolor the boot.

After this, you can work the conditioner all over the leather. If necessary, you can add additional conditioner, but make sure to only use the amount you need.

You may notice that the leather is a little darker after conditioning, but don't worry! The boot is going to go back to its original color as the leather dries.

Polishing Your Boots: The Final Step

Polishing your boots is going to help them look shiny and new even after you've worn them for a long time. You'll want to do this at least every time you clean your shoes and if it's a conditioning week, do it following the conditioner.

Polish is important for leather because it gives it the feel that the boots are new, but buying brand new boots from the beginning is a good idea. That way you know how they have been cared for since they started to be worn.

A great pair of boots for women to try would be the Dubarry of Ireland Women's Kildare Leather Boot, as they are stylish and will keep your feet warm all-in-one.

To polish the shoe, you can use a shoe cream to give the leather extra moisture. Another option is to use a wax-based polish for shine. Any type of shoe polish for leather will work, it just depends on your preference.

Find a polish that closely matches the color of your boots because you don't want to accidentally alter the shade.

When using a polish, you only need a small amount. Don't use too much because it will not give you the desired effect and will be difficult to work with. It's better to start off with less than you think you need and add a little more as you need it.

One of the reasons that polishing is important is that it creates a physical barrier between the leather boot and everything else around it. You won't have to worry as much about dirt, dust, debris, and other contaminants wrecking the leather.

After the boots have dried, you can give them a brush with the horsehair brush again and buff them up.

Keep Your Boots Looking Fresh

Finding the perfect pair of leather boots to pair with a winter outfit is one of the best things about the fall and winter seasons.

Taking care of those boots so you can wear them again and again is not something you'll regret. Now that you know how to clean leather boots, it's time to find the right pair for you.

Check out some of the other great options on our website and don't miss our Dubarry of Ireland collection


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