How to Shine Leather Boots


Boots are probably the most useful type of footwear for people living in cold countries, doing hard work especially in farms or the countryside due to the majority of areas purely composed of soil, and joining the armed forces for complete feet protection. Their importance is known throughout history.

However, like other types of footwear, style intervenes with purpose caused by fashion trends. Leather boots are now associated with edginess. The material is usually present in different kinds of boots – knee-high, thigh-high, dressy, cowboy, rain designed boots, and the trendy ankle boots.

Despite fashion benefits of leather boots, owning a pair is a responsibility because leather can deteriorate over time without proper care. Many leather boots are so expensive that it would be a big waste to buy one and just let it wear out. That’s why it is important to clean and condition these shoes. To save your favorite pair, we are going to share with you the ways on how to shine leather boots.

How to Start

Before putting some substance, wiping and brushing your way to perfection, you have to know first the degree of deterioration for older leather boots or the care given by the manufacturer before you purchased the newer ones.

For old pairs, search for some damage on the sole, rotten areas, stains, and scratches. These imperfections can hinder the process of completely shining the leather boots. If you found some damages, let a professional repair it.

Regarding new leather boots, make sure to know if the pair was already waterproofed or conditioned. Boots that are already treated do not need conditioning anymore. If it is already a hassle to ask someone knowledgeable about your boots’ finishing, then you can try the following process:

Put a small amount of leather cleaner on a tiny area somewhere on the boot. If the substance stays for one minute over the surface, the boot already has a finish. On the other hand, if the surface easily absorbs the substance, the boot is definitely unfinished.

Laces & Sole: What about Them

It seems careless to clean the leather boots but not their laces and the dirtiest part – the sole. There is a good way to thoroughly clean the two things that secure your feet into the boots. First, wash the pair of laces using warm water. Then, let them dry out. For leather boots that do not have laces, the buckles or straps will surely be included during the main cleaning part.

Regarding the muddy or soiled sole, clean it by rubbing a wet paper towel or a bristle brush all over it. You can even use an old toothbrush for recycling purposes.

How to Clean Leather Boots

Knowing how to shine leather boots is composed of two major ideas: cleaning and conditioning. These two factors lead to an amazing shine on leather boots. Now, let’s learn how to clean these shoes.

The first thing you need to do is wipe the leather boots with a soft cloth drenched in warm water. You can even add mild moisturizing soap into the water, as long as you rinse it with another wipe of a cloth that only absorbed water. Another alternative is using baby wipes. The whole process removes grime, dust, and dirt.

Next, let the shoes dry. Then, rub a bristle brush all over them. Hard bristles can be harsh for leather. Use a soft brush instead. If there is still solid dirt or remaining stains, use a leather cleaner while rubbing them with a cloth. Afterward, rub again with the brush. The last part in cleaning leather boots is to wipe everything using a damp or dry cloth.

How to Condition Leather Boots

The second part is conditioning for maintenance and prevention of stains in the long run. There are special substances for it such as mink oil, leather oil, leather conditioner and boot cream. Mink oil is probably the strongest one among them because it tends to extremely soften the leather with the wrong process.

In order to choose one type of product, know what kind of leather your boots have. Leather boots are either smooth-finished or oil-tanned. Do not worry because the products usually indicate the types of leather they are compatible with. Your preference is also important in weighing choices.

Apply one thorough coat on the leather boots. If they are too worn out already, apply two coats. Use a soft cloth during application. Then, use a soft brush again to make the application effective.

Optional Step

Applying a special spray to waterproof the leather boots is not necessary. However, some brands really recommend it to ensure ultimate water and grime resistance. If ever you want to apply a waterproofing spray all over your boots, put a newspaper underneath the shoes to avoid the mess. Also, do it in an open area to prevent yourself from inhaling a lot of air from the spray.

Additional Tips

Here is a compilation of extra tips for overall leather boot care:

  • Scrape off the mud.

    We already mentioned earlier how to clean the sole from dirt and grime. But, if it has thick dried mud that is difficult to remove, do not hesitate to use a hard object as a scraper. Still, you have to put extra precaution to avoid scratching the leather in case the mud reaches the sides of the boots.

  • Clean immediately after a muddy walk.

    Totally cleaning caked mud on the sides and soles of leather boots may be possible, but consistency leads to the shoes’ permanent damage. You need to put more force than usual in removing dried mud. That’s why after knowing that you have a lot of mud underneath your boots, clean them immediately at home. It is easier because fresh mud just slips off when you use a wet cloth or brush.

  • Keep the shine on.

    Do not wait for your leather boots to look so dirty before cleaning them up and presenting their shine once again. You may use a polish or oil specially designed for leather boots as weekly maintenance. Your boots will look good as new every day and, at the same time, become durable for years.

  • Use vinegar solution for salt stains.

    Salt stains give the leather boots white marks. To remove them, mix water and vinegar first.  Dip a dry cloth into the mixture. Gently wipe the stains until they disappear. Use a damp cloth to wipe the whole boot. Let it dry.

  • Use cornstarch for grease removal.

    Wipe off the grease first. Then, put cornstarch on the stain. Leave it on for hours, even overnight if you are not going to use the leather boots yet. Remove the cornstarch by brushing it off. Add moisturizing soap with water to clear everything. Wipe a damp cloth to rinse the soapy water. Leave the shoe to dry.

  • Use olive oil for scratches.

    Use a q-tip to wipe olive oil on scratched areas. Apply the oil in a circular motion until the scratch is concealed well. Rinse it with a wet cloth. As always, leave the leather boots to dry.


Leather boots capture attention, so you must ensure that they are clean all the time to avoid giving a bad impression to other people. One way to prove that your boots are clean is by making them shine. In order to bring out their shine, clean and condition your boots frequently. In line with this, you may also check out our guide on how to take care of leather shoes and how to polish boots.