How to Shine Leather Boots


If you live in a cold country or you do hard work on farms, you’ll find leather boots extremely useful and reliable. They offer protection and comfort. Apart from that, they also make a great fashion statement.

Boots that look dirty and worn out, however, can affect the way you look. They make you less presentable and create that impression that you’re not looking after yourself. Now, before you start losing your edginess, make sure you know how to clean and shine leather boots.

How to Start

Before you start, you have to know first the degree of deterioration.

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 and 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, be sure to clean the buckles or straps.

Regarding 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

To keep your boots in top shape, you have to be familiar with two things: 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 cloth that’s wet with 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 so 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 the right 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 a 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. You may use a polish or oil specially designed for leather boots as weekly maintenance. Your boots will look good as new and 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. You can use a damp cloth to wipe the whole boot before letting 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 and 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.