How to Clean Leather Boots

by Joanna Reed

Leather boots are great for colder days, both practical and stylish! But while leather is a tough material, you must be careful when you clean it. Improper care can lead to discoloration and breakdown of the material. And of course leather boots themselves receive more wear-and-tear than say, a leather jacket, especially if you do a lot of walking. Here are some tips to ensure a longer life for your boots.

Items you will need

  • Several clean cloths or rags
  • Shoe brush (optional)
  • Protective oil or wax product
  • Boots that need cleaning
Step 1

The first thing you need to determine is if the leather of your boots are treated or untreated. As leather comes from the skin of a cow, it is naturally porous and therefore susceptible to water stains. It is a good idea to treat boots with an oil or wax product. You can buy a shoe brush for application, but a cotton rag works just as well.

Step 2

Before you apply the protective product, you want to clean your shoes first of dirt, dust and grime. Take a dry cloth, wet it a bit with water and scrub gently. Be extra gentle around zippers and seams. Then dry off.

Step 3

Using a rag or brush, apply an even, fair amount of the oil or wax product to your boots, especially the seams. You want to make sure the leather soaks in it completely. Then using another cloth, wipe away any excess product left behind. Avoid wearing these boots for the next 24 hours, as the product needs time to penetrate the leather.

Step 4

Patent leather is a little trickery. To get rid of marks and obtain a glossy finish, use a little Crisco oil applied with a cloth.


  • Use Murphy's Oil Soap for particularly dirty boots.


  • Remember these guidelines are for real leather boots. If you have faux leather, determine the exact material first before you start cleaning them.

About the Author

Joanna Reed published her first poem in 1998, while still an undergrad. She has written a variety of articles for Demand Studios with published work on both eHow and Joanna holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University.