ariat english riding boots
How-Tos, English

How to Clean Riding Boots

This video and how-to guide shows you how to clean leather boots to keep your riding boots in good condition for years to come.

Regularly cleaning leather boots is the best way to ensure that they last for years. Clean leather boots make an impression in the show ring and in front of a client. But understanding how to clean boots properly is a learned skill.

Discover the best way to clean leather boots with expert guidance from Ariat. You’ll need the following:

  • A damp cloth or sponge
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • A soft, dry cloth or dry sponge
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather polish
  • Optional: leather riding boot cleaner

Step-by-Step: How to Clean Leather Boots:

1. Prep: Gather the supplies listed above so that you have everything you need on hand.


hand wiping off riding boot with cloth

2. Clean off the boots: Remove dirt and dust by cleaning your boots with a damp cloth

  • Don’t forget to clean your zippers! You can use the cloth or a soft-bristled brush to clean dust and dirt off the zipper.
  • If necessary, use a soft brush to remove scuffs and remaining dirt. For stubborn dirt and mud, you may need to use leather cleaner (optional). Stay away from household cleaners. Instead, stick with a quality leather cleaner, like Fiebing’s.


If your boots have layers of mud caked on them, start the process for how to clean muddy leather boots by scraping or hosing away the mud before wiping them with the damp cloth.

  1. Spot Clean Stubborn Areas. Once your boots are dry, you’ll be able to see any remaining stains. Wipe and brush these a second time with the damp cloth. Use a quality leather cleaner, like Fiebing’s, on spots that resist cleaning with water. Stay away from household cleaners that can further stain the leather.
  2. Pay Attention to Details. Don’t forget to clean your zippers! You can use the cloth or a soft-bristled brush to clean dust and dirt off the zipper.

If your boots have scuffs, review our detailed instructions for how to fix scuffed leather on boots.

  1. Condition the Boots: Dab a dry cloth or sponge in the leather conditioner. Rub it into the boots in small circular motions, starting at the bottom. Make sure the leather conditioner is fully absorbed. If your boots still feel dry, you may need to apply more conditioner.
  2. Apply Polish: Next, apply polish to your riding boots the same way you applied the leather conditioner. Rub in small circular motions with a dry cloth — from the bottom of the boots up — until fully absorbed.
  3. Buff Your Boots: To make your boots shine, buff them with a dry cloth or soft brush. Rub the cloth or brush in wide, quick sweeping motions across your boots.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Clean Leather Boots
How often should I clean leather boots?

Aside from cleanings before shows and events, you should clean leather boots based on how often you use them. For daily use, a good cleaning at least once a week is recommended to keep leather supple. For less frequent use, cleaning once a month will keep your boots in good shape.

What kind of leather conditioner and leather polish should I use?

We recommend using a non-oil-based leather conditioner with a milky, creamy texture. Fiebing’s productsare a go-to for many riders.

How to Clean Tall Boots: Tips and Tricks

Keeping your riding boots in top shape is all about regular maintenance and proper care. Below are a few additional tips to care for your leather riding boots:

  • If your boots ever become saturated, remove the insole and soak up the excess water with a paper towel or absorbent cloth.
  • Always let your boots air dry. Keep your boots away from direct heat to avoid cracking and other damage.
  • After each use, take a minute to knock or brush the dirt off your boots. This helps keep them from getting too dirty in between cleanings.
  • Help your boots keep their shape by inserting a boot tree during storage.

Now that you’ve learned how to clean leather boots, there’s no excuse for not keeping your tall riding boots in top shape. If you’ve let your boots go for too long, don’t worry — you can browse our collection of tall riding boots to find a new replacement pair.

If the constant care required to maintain tall leather boots doesn’t quite fit your style, you can also shop for paddock boots and matching half chaps, available in many colors and styles. Whichever direction you go, be sure to treat your leather boots with care and remember that the ritual of cleaning boots is part of what unites and conditions us as equestrians.