Tips for Cleaning Leather Work Boots

Dirty work boots got you down? Trust us, we know you spend a pretty penny on that working footwear. Don’t let your hard-earned money hit the trashcan while your boots are still in their prime! We’ve got the best tips that will add some shine back to your boots and help to extend their life.

Clean early and clean often

When you first get your boots, you might be tempted to lace ‘em up and head out the door. We’re glad you’re excited about your new boots—but you should consider prepping them for their labors before punching in that time clock. Wear them around the house for a few days to break them in, and then apply a waterproof agent. Even Gore-Tex or other waterproof lining can benefit from this added protection. There are a ton of these on the market, but we recommend something like Nikwax or Sno-Seal. Follow the instructions to ensure proper application.

After a day on the job, use a nylon brush to wipe off excess dirt, and a damp cloth to wipe clean. For extremely soiled leather boots, use a small amount of saddle soap and a damp cloth. Always allow to air dry, and never use heat as that can dry out your leather and create cracking or other damage.

Clean the inside of your boots

The inside of your boots need to be washed every few months. Use a mild shampoo on a damp washcloth to scrub the inside surfaces. Wipe away with a soap-free damp cloth, and allow to air dry.

When you’ve got your feet in a pair of boots for 8-12 hours a day, you’re bound to get some funky foot odor going on. If you neglect this for too long, those odors and bacteria are going to stick around. If the insoles are removable, wash them regularly.

After each wear, sprinkle some baking soda and allow to sit overnight. Turn them over a trash can and shake it out before wearing. To prevent odors from making a comeback, try switching to antimicrobial socks, which will help keep feet dry and stink-free.

Clean out those stains

This handy guide will help you get those persistent stains out of the leather on your boots using simple materials you can find around your house!

For water spots:
Re-moisten spot with small amount of water. Allow to air dry.

For spots:
1 part lemon juice with
1 part cream of tartar

Mix together into a paste. Work paste into spot, and wipe clean with soft cloth.

For road salt stains:
1 part water
1 part white vinegar

Blot out stains with a soft cloth dipped in this mixture.

For stubborn spots:
Dip a cotton ball into rubbing alcohol and rub the spot.

Hopefully we’ve helped you solved some of your dirt-filled dilemmas. Now that you have squeaky clean boots, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and muck them up!

How dirty do your boots have to get before you decide to give them a thorough cleaning?

2 Comments on “Tips for Cleaning Leather Work Boots

  1. The alcohol ended up staining my boots. I appreciate the advice regardless

  2. Thanks for all the cleaning tips!
    Mine usually get pretty dirty before I clean them. I have been using Sno Seal on my boots for years and it’s awesome.
    I usually buy it online at
    They always have Free Shipping.

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