How to Clean Leather Riding Boots

Regular cleaning will keep your leather riding boots in good condition for a long time to come. Let's take a look at how to clean leather riding boots.

Here is a list of what you’ll need to clean your riding boots:

  • A damp cloth or sponge
  • Optional: leather cleaner (e.g. Ariat Footwear Cleaner)
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • A soft, dry cloth or dry sponge
  • Leather conditioner (e.g. Ariat Leather Conditioner)
  • Leather polish (e.g. Ariat Leather Cream Polish)
  • Footwear Waterproofing Spray (eg. Ariat Footwear Waterproofer)

Step-by-Step: How to Clean Riding Boots

1. Prep:

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

2. Clean off the Boots:

Remove dirt and dust by cleaning your boots with a damp cloth

  • Don’t forget to clean your zips! You can use the cloth or a soft-bristled brush to clean dust and dirt off the zips.
  • 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 our Ariat Footwear Cleaner.

3. Condition the Boots:

Spray a small amount of leather conditioner onto a dry cloth or dry sponge and rub 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.
  • If you are cleaning boots that are a combination of smooth leather and suede/nubuck, please be aware that leather conditioner is not suitable for use on the suede/nubuck areas.

4. Apply Polish:

Next, dab a clean dry cloth into the polish and apply in the same way as the leather conditioner, rubbing in small circular motions from the bottom of the boots up until fully absorbed.

  • If you are cleaning boots that are a combination of smooth leather and suede/nubuck, please be aware that polish is not suitable for use on the suede/nubuck areas.

5. Buff your Boots:

To make your boots look even better, buff them with a dry cloth or soft brush. To buff, rub the cloth or brush in wide, quick sweeping motions across your boots.

6. Waterproof your Boots:

In a well-ventilated area, spray a waterproofing spray evenly all over dry boots. Allow to dry for 12 hours for maximum performance. Remove any excess with a cloth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Leather Riding Boots

How often should I clean my riding boots?

  • Aside from cleanings before shows and events, the frequency at which you should clean your boots really depends on how much you use them.

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

  • We recommend using a non-oil-based leather conditioner, which will have a milky, creamier texture. You can find our selection of leather care products here.

Other Riding Boot Care Tips & Tricks

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

  • If your boots ever become saturated with water, remove the insole and soak up the excess water with a paper towel/newspaper or other absorbent cloth and let air dry.
  • Keep your boots out of direct heat to avoid cracking and other damage. Always let your boots air dry.
  • After each use, take a minute to knock or brush the dirt off your boots. This helps keep them cleaner in between regular boot care.
  • To help retain the shape of your tall boots, store them on boot trees.