How to Care for Moccasins

by M.H. Dyer
Take valuable beaded moccasins to a professional leather cleaner.

Take valuable beaded moccasins to a professional leather cleaner.

Soft and durable, moccasins are made from various animal hides and leathers, including cow hide, deer hide, moose hide, sheepskin and suede. Moccasins, either slippers or boots, may be soft-soled for wearing around the house or hard-soled for regular wear either indoors or outdoors. Moccasins grow more supple and comfortable with age, and with proper care they can retain their beauty for many years. However, dirt and grime detract from the appearance and shorten the life of this comfortable footwear.

Clean non-suede leather moccasins with a high-quality saddle soap or leather cleaner. Dip a damp sponge into the cleaner, then clean the leather, using a circular motion, to create a foam. Blot the foam with a clean, dry cloth, then use a separate clean cloth to buff the leather. Let the leather air dry overnight before wearing.

Apply leather conditioner to soften and lubricate the leather and protect the surface from dirt and stains. Moisten a sponge with the conditioner, then use circular motions to rub the conditioner into the moccasins. Buff the leather with a soft, dry cloth, then allow the moccasins to air dry. Reapply conditioner after every cleaning.

Clean sheepskin moccasin liners with a mild shampoo or liquid soap. Rinse the shampoo carefully, then allow the moccasins to dry overnight. If the liners are removable, hand-wash them and allow them to dry before putting them back in the moccasins.

Weatherproof moccasins with beeswax if you wear them outdoors, especially if you live in a damp climate. Place the beeswax in a double boiler and heat it over low heat until it softens. Rub the softened beeswax into the leather, working it in thoroughly along the seams to provide additional protection. Let the moccasins dry, then buff them with a soft cloth.

Clean suede moccasins regularly by brushing the moccasins with a suede brush. If the moccasins are heavily soiled, rub the surface lightly with fine sandpaper or use a cleaning kit made specifically for suede. Remove small stains with a suede eraser or a damp sponge.

Sprinkle the inside of moccasins lightly with baking soda if they develop a musky odor. Leave the moccasins overnight, then shake out the baking soda in the morning.

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Items you will need

  • Saddle soap or leather cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Dry cloth
  • Leather conditioner
  • Mild shampoo or liquid soap
  • Beeswax
  • Double boiler
  • Suede brush
  • Fine sandpaper or suede cleaning kit
  • Suede eraser
  • Baking soda


  • Place damp moccasins in a dry area away from direct sunlight. Never place moccasins in the dryer or near a heater.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images