How to Lift Oil Stains From Timberland Boots

by Emma Rensch ; Updated September 28, 2017

Oil can be especially difficult to remove from leather boots.

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Timberland boots are expensive and high quality, making it essential for wearers to remove any stains that mar their footwear. Since it is not water soluble, oil can be especially difficult to get out. However, if you act fast and follow the correct procedures, you can salvage your leather Timberland boots. Do not follow cleaning methods that you would employ with other types of fabric, as this can further damage leather.

Pour a thick layer of cornstarch over the affected area. Ensure that the stained portion of the boot is entirely covered and allow the powder to remain in place overnight. Shake off the cornstarch and dust away any excess, and the powder will likely have removed the stain.

If overnight soaking has not solved the problem, rub a pinch of cornstarch or talcum powder onto a small oil stain on your leather Timberland boots. Continue rubbing until the area feels warm as a result of friction. The heat will loosen the oil and the powder will absorb it, drawing it out of the leather.

Massage an oil stain in a leather boot with a leather-cleaning treatment that is designed to remove stains, as this will work on oil as well as water or dirt. Examine the grain of the leather, which runs in a certain direction. Rub the treatment into the leather using a microfiber cloth, following the grain of the leather for best results.


  • Cornstarch works best on fresh oil stains, since the powder absorbs the oil faster than the leather does. Results may be less defined with older stains, depending on how thoroughly your boots have been saturated. Cover your boots with a waterproof coating to prevent future damage. If you spill oil on leather Timberland boots that have been treated for waterproofing, the oil is much more likely to roll off the material without sinking in and causing damage.

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About the Author

Emma Rensch earned her B.A. in writing for contemporary media from Scripps College in 2011. Currently, she lives and writes in San Diego.