“Oh well, they’re going to get dirty again anyway.” If this is how you feel about your precious leather boots, I’ll let you in on a secret: I used to think the same, no joke. You see, it made perfect sense to me back then. You can’t prevent boots from getting messy. They are built to weather abuse, collect dust, and grime until eternity, right?
Yes, but no. You see, over the years I’ve stumbled upon some effortless ways to keep my precious leather boots as shiny as a brand new car. Really, once you find out how easy it is, there’s no excuse for your lovely boots to suffer like that. Show them the love they deserve!
Also, the truth about quality leather boots is that no matter how durable they are, they can start showing wear and tear signs pretty soon. That is if you don’t take proper care of them. And who wants to watch their expensive pair of boots rot away like that?
In this piece, I’ll show you how you can make cleaning leather boots as easy as pie using simple household items. And here’s the catch—you probably have all of these things lying around the house. So, no losing sleep over finding the right stuff. Grab the one that’s closest to you and get your boots looking fresh and groovy in no time.
If you follow even one of the suggestions I make in this article, I promise you, your boots will last a lifetime (maybe more).
Table of Contents
1. Dish Soap
This one’s no brain-twister. Of course, dish soap is perfect for cleaning leather boots regularly. That’s because leather isn’t susceptible to water like other materials used to make shoes. So, you can fix a simple dish soap and water solution to clean your favorite pair of boots.
Before applying the soap solution to the leather, wipe dirt and grime off the boots with a dry cloth. Dish soap may not be able to dissolve the stubborn grunge that has built up from years of neglect. Remove shoelaces before moving on to the next step.
Wipe the boots with a towel dipped in the dish soap mix. Then use a clean towel dipped in plain water to wash soap residue off the boots. Now, take some paper towels to dry the boots all over. There you go! Quick and simple.
2. Baking soda
A quick liquid soap solution often does get the job done. That’s fine as far as cleaning mud and dirt off boots is concerned. But it might not be enough if you’re anxious about getting oil stains out. In that case, baking soda is your friend. And some clean water and cloth, of course.
Once you’ve gathered everything, sprinkle the soda powder on the oil spots. Then, dip the cloth in water and gently rub the spots with the wet cloth. Don’t forget to be light with your touch! Otherwise, you might end up wrecking your prized leather boots.
Once you’re done, let your boots sit overnight with the soda on the oil stains. This will help absorb the grease. Towel off with a dry cloth the next morning, and you’ll discover your boots looking as good as when you bought them.
3. Vaseline or Toothpaste
Another pesky problem with owning leather boots: scuff marks. Don’t get me started. And these things always appear out of nowhere it seems! Scuff marks can make your boots look worn out, even when brand spanking new. But, hold on, I’ve got good news for you. You don’t need a large number of cleaning products to get rid of scuffs.
Vaseline or toothpaste either will do just fine. Grab either of the two and spread some on the scuff marks on the boots. The next step is to smoothly apply the jelly or paste in the spot. I’ve found paper towels to be excellent for this job. Use them to rub the scuff marks off the lovely leather of your boots, for good. How easy was that?
4. Hair Conditioners
Look, if we’re willing to put so much time and effort into hair care, why don’t we do it for our boots as well? Call me crazy, but hair conditioners should be an obvious choice for preserving leather footwear. Why do you ask? It’s because hair conditioners typically have fantastic waxing properties, apart from being wonderful moisturizers. It’s bound to keep your boots in tiptop shape.
Just dab some of it on the leather and put a shine to it with a clean rag. By the way, there’s no need to use high-end conditioners. Yeah, a cheap one will do the job just fine. I believe cheaper ones are in fact better because their wax content is generally higher. So, now you know which complimentary item to collect next time you stay at a hotel.
5. Olive Oil
I don’t think there’s a single kitchen in the country without a bottle of olive oil in the cupboard. That’s why it’s one of my favorite hacks for cleaning leather boots. You might not like it in your food, but as it turns out, this thing can work wonders when it comes to cleaning leatherwear.
I even know people who genuinely consider olive oil to be a better polish than the actual leather conditioners sold in stores. The question is, what’s the magic process? It’s quite simple.
Pour a bit of extra virgin olive oil on a paper towel and start right away on polishing your boots. Now, this part needs a bit of patience from you. Rub the leather evenly until all the oil gets absorbed by it. You’ll know when you’re done. Your boots will look magnificent.
There’s nothing like salt stains on leather. It’s one of the most challenging things to get off of your boots. Quite frankly, it breaks my heart. Or I should say it used to, because I hadn’t found out about this neat trick at the time. Surprise, surprise. All you need is some vinegar, and you can wave salt stains goodbye forever.
First, add a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of water. Dip a paper towel into the mix and dab the salt stains with the wet towel. Then use a dry paper towel to wipe off the moisture. I have to remind you, never use vinegar without diluting it with water first. But follow the steps I used here, and you’ll be done with salt stains. Good riddance!
7. Talcum Powder
Getting grease off leather boots is not the same as removing oil stains from them, in my experience. I’ve found talcum powder to be the better alternative for troubles with grease.
In case you’re wondering if talcum powder is a common household item, I’m telling you where to look. Most baby powders are made from talcum powder. Take a look at the back of a bottle of body powder to see if it has talc in it.
Got it? Now, pour some right on top of the grease marks. Talcum is a natural absorbent, and it’ll greedily eat up the grease. However, you’ve got to keep the powder on for at least an hour for the best results.
After that, clean the spots with a soft brush. You can use cornstarch, too. But it takes even longer to absorb the stains. That’s why talcum powder is my personal go-to for greasy problems.
You can also keep your leather boots fresh and shiny by not wearing them at all. I’m kidding. How can someone stay away from their favorite pair of boots on any single day of the week? So, it boils down to the other option: take a bit of time off your week to keep your boots in top condition. If you want to keep wearing them and looking fine, that is.
And the great thing about all of this is, it’s not that hard to do, and it doesn’t even cost you a dime. Maybe a few dimes, but you get the idea. In fact, these household items work their magic on regular shoes as well. You might even want to start handwashing your socks.
Once you go down this rabbit hole, there’s no coming back. Good luck! The next time you go out wearing your boots, I’m sure there’ll be a new spring to your step.