How to Clean Cowboy Boots
Boot care is essential for getting maximum performance and life out of your boots. We've put together this comprehensive guide to show you how to clean cowboy boots properly, along with additional tips and tricks for cleaning leather cowboy boots.
Regularly cleaning your leather cowboy boots not only keeps them looking great, but also preserves and protects them so that you can enjoy them for years to come. To keep your Ariat boots performing their best, we’ve put together this quick step-by-step guide to show you how to properly clean your boots.
Note: The following instructions are for cleaning leather cowboy boots, and should not be used for suede or distressed nubuck.
Here are some things you’ll need to have on hand before you get started:
- A damp towel
- A soft-bristled brush for scuffs (or a dry marker will work)
- A dry cloth or dry sponge
- Leather conditioner
- Leather polish (if shine is needed)
Leather conditioner will vary depending on the leather. For smooth leather use conditioner, for textured leather, a spray is better. - Oil-based will darken and add waterproof characteristics
Step-by-Step: How to Clean Your Leather Cowboy Boots
Prep: Gather a damp rag, soft brush, dry rag, leather conditioner, and leather polish to get started.
Clean off the boots: Use the damp cloth to remove any dirt and mud from the lower section of your boot. Use a soft brush to remove scuffs. A dry eraser/whiteboard eraser will work well too! For stubborn dirt and mud, you can use an old toothbrush to loosen and remove those particles.
Dry your boots: Make sure your boots are completely dry. If your boots have become wet to the point of saturation, remove the insole and use a paper towel to dry the boot thoroughly inside and out. Don’t dry your boots with direct heat - this will cause cracking.
Condition the Boots: Now it’s time for the leather conditioner. Dab a dry cloth or dry sponge in the leather conditioner. Starting at the bottom section of the boot, rub the conditioner into the boot in small circular motions. Make sure the leather conditioner is fully absorbed. If the boot still feels dry, you may need to apply more conditioner in order to give it a soft, moisturized look and feel.
Polish the Boots: Lastly, apply the leather polish the same way you applied the conditioner, rubbing in small circular motions with a dry cloth until the polish is fully absorbed.
Common Questions About Cleaning Your Cowboy Boots
Can I follow these steps for exotics, like caiman skin, ostrich skin, etc?
- Yes, you can follow these same steps, but be sure to use an exotic-specific conditioner and polish, and rub the conditioner and polish with the grain instead of against the grain.
How often should I clean my cowboy boots?
- It depends on how much you use them. For daily use, we recommended you clean your boots at least every 3 months. For less regular use, every 6 months will do.
What kind of leather conditioner and leather polish should I get?
- We recommend using a non-oil-based leather conditioner. A non-oil-based conditioner (and polish) will have a milky, creamier texture and these types of conditioners and polishes usually come in a slim, round tin.
Do I have to polish every time or can I just use the leather conditioner by itself?
- If you aren’t looking for a higher gloss finish, then the polish step may be optional for you. However, polish provides an outer coating on top of the absorbed conditioner, so polish does provide an additional layer of protection.
Other Cowboy Boot Care Tips & Tricks
Preserving the life of your boot is all about giving them loving care in between all of your adventures and hard work! Below are a few additional tips on how to take care of cowboy boots:
- If your boots ever become saturated with water, remove the insole and dry them with a paper towel or other absorbent cloth and let air dry.
- Never expose your boots to direct heat, as this can cause cracking. Always let your boots air dry away from the direct sun or other heat sources.
- After a hard day’s work, take a minute to knock or brush the dirt off your boots. This will help keep them cleaner in between regular boot care.