Leather is one of the most versatile and durable natural resources that exists, but it’s important to remember that it’s mostly skin. That means it can crack, dry out, and warp out of shape. When you own a beautiful, exotic pair of leather cowboy boots, you will want to enjoy them for as long as possible. Keep them looking fantastic with proper maintenance and attention.
Gather Your Leather Care Supplies
If you want to do this critical job correctly, you’ll need the right tools. Dirt and dust can cause your boots to look prematurely worn so you’ll need a sponge or soft bristle brush for any necessary spot cleaning. Another critical component for your leather care toolbox with be a high-quality leather oil or conditioner that can help keep the leather nicely moisturized. For cases where a deep clean is required, you will also need a leather cleaning soap and a couple of soft cloth rags for wiping away moisture.
Clean Your Boots as Needed
The right method for cleaning your leather cowboy boots will depend on how dirty they are. General care after wearing them is to look your shoes over and spot clean if you notice any dirt or crud. A dry sponge or brush can be followed up with wiping the boot with a soft cloth to make sure you remove all residue.
The dry method will not be sufficient if the boots are filthy, which means it’s time to break out the water and leather soap. Follow your specific cleaner’s directions, but you will generally work in the product with a little bit of water and then dry it with a soft cloth. If you live in a cold place where salt stains are common, use a mix of water and white vinegar to wipe off the salt residue. Always let the boots air dry when they’ve gotten wet, ideally in a warm place but without any direct heat.
Condition Regularly to Keep Leather Healthy
Protecting your boots from dirt is only half the battle. Leather is continuously losing moisture and will eventually dry out without your careful intervention. Dry leather weakens over time, and this will ultimately lead to visible cracks. The key to preventing this problem is regular conditioning, which will keep the leather healthy and supple.
Apply a leather conditioner or oil with a soft rag by rubbing it in circular motions, without pushing down too hard. Make sure the product can soak into every crease and crevice. When the leather begins to feel slightly damp, you can trust it has been well-conditioned. Wipe off all remaining excess and allow the boots to dry. After another 12 hours or so, wipe them down again to make sure that all excess oil is gone. Treat them to this restorative conditioning process every three months, or more often if you live in an arid climate.
If you take good care of them, including regular cleaning and conditioning, your boots can remain to look good and feel comfortable for decades more to come.