How to Clean & Restore Leather Boots (6 Steps)

How to Restore Leather Boots

So, your favorite pair of boots has become battered, filthy, and worn.

Is it time to change them out?

Gentlemen, not so fast.

I’ll show you how to restore leather boots, how to make them look new again.

Step number one


Use a newspaper or rag to cover your workspace. Before you begin, remove the laces. This will make cleaning the boots much easier.

Now, put a boot or shoe tree into the boots to retain their form as you work on them.

Step number two

Remove the Dirt

Now, using a brush made of horse hair, go over the surface of the boots, knocking loose any caked-on dirt or dust.

Make certain to work in all gaps and crevices.

Step number three

Saddle Soap

To thoroughly clean the boots, you’ll need to use a leather-specific soap.

For cleaning leather boots, saddle soap is the gold standard. Look for one that has lanolin or bees wax in it.

Pro Tip

You should test any product you use on your leather boots on an inconspicuous area first to make it won’t harm the color.

Now you’ll need an applicator brush to create a lather. Work the lather into the boots’ upper surface. Remember to brush your tongue as well.

After finishing, use a towel to wipe away any excess soap and let the boots dry for at least 15 minutes.

If the laces are also soiled, soak them in a solution of warm water and soap and clean any dirt away with an old toothbrush.

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Step number four

Removing the Creases

We can work on removing those pesky crease markings now that the leather is clean. Make sure the boots have shoe trees or have been packed with newspaper.

For this to work, it must be somewhat stretched. Warm up a clothing iron by setting it to the cotton setting. Place a moist towel on the front of the boots at this point.

The wetness on the cloth is crucial in preventing the heat from damaging the leather.

Work the iron over the boot gently, allowing the heat, steam, and moderate pressure to work out any wrinkles.

Remove the cloth and use your fingers to gently stretch out the remaining lines.

This method is really effective, but if you don’t take care of your boots, they will quickly wrinkle again.

The secret is to always put shoe trees in your boots after you’ve worn them. The trees absorb moisture and stink while also assisting the boots in maintaining their natural shape.

Step number five


To avoid cracking, it’s critical to replenish the moisture lost during the cleaning and reshaping procedure.

On your boots, only apply a leather conditioner designed specifically for it.

Using a soft cleaning rag, apply the conditioner. Work the conditioner into all the gaps and crevices, giving particular care to any areas that will flex and bend as you walk.

Allow one or two hours for the boots to dry after wiping off any excess conditioner.

Step number six


Small scratches that have worn away the original color of boots are common. So, what’s the solution?

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A cream polish is the answer.

These contain pigment to replenish color and moisture to nourish and protect the leather.

It’s critical to pick a cream finish that closely matches the color of your boots.

Always do a spot test before applying it to the complete pair of boots. Working in small circles, apply the cream to the whole upper of the boots with a little applicator brush.

There’s no need to go crazy with the cream; just enough to lightly coat the surface.

Allow five minutes for the cream to dry before buffing the leather with a clean horse hair brush.

Use a different brush from the one you used to clean the dirt.

This buffing will create any surplus polish and clean a modest sheen on the surface.

I’m going to stop here for a pair of casual chukka boots.

If you have a more formal pair of boots, however, you may now apply a wax polish to give them added shine and protection.

All that’s left is to re-lace your boots and you’re finished.

That’s all there is to it. Your boots will look brand new again with just a little effort.

How to Clean and Restore Leather Boots

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  • Christopher

    Christopher has 9+ years of experience as a creative fashion designer who stays current with the latest trends.

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